Visitors to Özge Hacıfazlıoğlu’s sunny office should be prepared to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee and some Swiss chocolate.
And stimulating conversation about the importance of building communities of practice that support teachers and connect teacher leaders and school psychologists.
Bringing people together to share their stories of teaching and research is at the heart of Hacıfazlıoğlu’s work. Teaching graduate students in School Leadership and School Psychology, she integrates a community of practice model in her seminars, intentionally putting students from the two programs together.
“School psychology students have more experience in theory and research methodologies, while leadership students have more leadership experience in school contexts,” she says. Students work together on research, which she wants them to enjoy.
“We work on how to tell a research story,” she says. “You have to feel the excitement. Your heart should be beating when you collect your data and do your analysis.”
Her community of practice model is designed as a “story-telling” approach to teaching research and encourages students to take risks. What often results is deeper research addressing crucial issues facing educators, such as equity and serving children experiencing trauma.
“Communities of practice are a great framework that leads to pathways to make change,” Hacıfazlıoğlu says.
Since completing her post doctoral research in educational leadership at Arizona State University, she has worked in her native Turkey, Switzerland, and United States teaching educators at the K-12 and graduate level how to use collaboration to create change for students.
“In each of those spheres,” Hacıfazlıoğlu says, “I have put communities of practice in place. They enhance diversity and inclusion."