School improvement services

The structure of professional interactions of the education staff (social capital)

School evaluation and consultancy for the schools
You independently manage the self-evaluation by the survey for the staff
In one day, you will receive the report with the results based on the survey
You could get consultancy based on the report on skype or zoom
What is that research for?

An analysis of the map of professional interactions and the social capital of the school will help you to identify the informal structure of the educational organization, identify hidden leaders, experts and mentors, and improve the coordination of networking among teaching staff.

The collective effectiveness of teachers is the most significant factor affecting the quality of education (according to the results of J. Hattie's meta-analysis).

Professional interactions between members of the teaching staff reflect on the real structure of the organization, the analysis of which shows the level of social capital used (or not used) for improving the qualification of teachers; who in the team actually perform the function of professional support of the teachers, and how methodical activities in the school are actually carried out.

By trying to implement innovations in an educational organisation, the Head of School could encounter obstacles and resistance. In 95% of cases, the problem is not financial, mostly it is with staff: in their qualifications, motivation, habits, and ways of interaction. Our evaluation tool could help to identify a new point of view of the teaching staff, recognise staff limitations, find internal resources for the development of the school and improve the quality of education.
Importance of social capital
The traditional way to increase the human capital of a school is through professional development outside the organization, using external resources. However, global experience shows that it works well only in undeveloped education systems, where education is traditionally weak and the staff are poorly qualified. The more complex the educational goals, the less effective is the use of traditional professional development, and the organization need to employ more effective ways of achieving school improvement.

What interactions should we consider as social capital that influences the professionalism of teachers and the quality of education?
Usually, it seems that teachers already have enough interactions with each other: they gather in groups and vigorously discuss different topics during breaks and events, they are involved in the staff, school meetings and prepare the activities, etc. But in reality, it is not enough and often not covering all aspects. The lessons are, and will be for a long time, the basis of the educational process at school. During the lesson, students receive the main educational input of knowledge and skills.

Interaction and communication are significant elements of the teaching activities in the classroom!
This collaboration will not necessarily happen automatically and will not be the result of top-down directives, because it is complex and requires time and effort. Collaboration involves confrontations, compromises, presenting an opinion.

Collaboration arises when there are common goals, that are specific, such as «focus more on productive skills rather than reproductive skills during lessons», or «half the time taken to manage discipline during the lesson» rather than «improving the quality of education».

However, the appearance of such goals in the classroom is not in itself sufficient to build social capital. Each teacher needs a «mirror» – feedback from a colleague who can a) record problems and progress in overcoming them, and b) work together to find solutions. And this is the social capital of the school: teachers discuss professional issues, observe activities of each other, inevitably change their practices, and learn from each other. But, only, if the interactions are regular, at least once a week.

Cooperation requires trust in each other – this gives the staff confidence to takes risks, admit difficulties, be honest about their practice, safe in the knowledge that this will help them improve, rather than it been used against them in a judgemental fashion. The learning that comes from such a process increases the professionalism of all involved.

Intensive professional interactions (or their absence) certainly are reflected in the real structure of the organization. The evaluation tool captures connections and levels of trust and helps make evidence-based decisions.
Scientific publications
Diagnostics of an Educational Institution Real Structure
Konstantin Ushakov
Read the article in the scientific journal «Educational Studies»

Hattie Ranking: 252 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement
John Hetia
Read the John Hetia's website about his research in education

Social Network Theory and Educational Change
Alan J. Daly
Read the book

Using social network methods to study school leadership
Virginia Pitts, James P. Spillane
Read the article

Relationships in reform: the role of teachers' social networks
Alan J. Daly, Nienke M. Moolenaar, Jose M. Bolivar, Peggy Burke
Read the article in Journal of Educational Administration

District Policy and Teachers' Social Networks
Cynthia E. Coburn, Jennifer Lin Russell
Read the article

An analysis of the structure of professional interactions will help you to

Identify the real structure of the school
You will also identify the informal structure
Identify potential informal leaders, experts and mentors
Generally, it is not always easy to identify these key individuals
Identify the real exchange of experience and group work at school
You will find out the coordination of networking within your staff
Identify isolated staff
You will find out if there are any staff who need support
Collect information about your team before introducing any school innovations
This is useful, especially in conditions of collective resistance, if you are planning to change the education program, implement new pedagogical technologies, etc.
Compare your opinion about your team with report results
You will find out new useful information about your staff

As an example, below is the part of the report

Report content
The figure demonstrates the structure of the professional interaction of the staff. The figure depicting the nodes (dots) and edges (lines) is called a graph. The nodes (dots) represent members of the team, and the edges (lines) represent mutual professional connections. The colour highlights aspects of the formal structure of the organization: director - yellow, deputies - red, heads of methodological associations - blue, and teachers - grey.
We combine formal and informal structures, and get a real organization structure that integrates formalized and informal professional connections. The structure of these connections clarifies the distribution of social statuses and roles of team members, their real impact, as well as the direction and distribution of professional exchange between them.
of the staff
state that attending the lessons of colleagues is useful for development
of the staff
are actually attending the lessons of colleagues
There is huge potential in staff development. Could be arranged some special activities
of the staff
consider themselves team members
of them
are actually team members
Is it a problem? It depends on your expectations.
of the staff
ask for the help of deputy directors
of the staff
ask for the help of the head of departments
Is it a problem? It depends on the tasks of the management team.
Report content

Parts 1 and 2 of the report are the results of a sociological survey, which will allow you to adjust information about the organization, cultural attitudes of its members. That could be useful for managers as they have professional aberrations, distortions in which we often pass wishful thinking as reality. Part 3 presents network analysis. It is the maximum interest. This data could provide the basis for designing changes in your organization.

1. Staff list

2. Level of horizontal trust
2.1. Recognition of the value of cooperation and trust
2.2. Regulated and unregulated exchange of experience
2.3. Vertical professional interaction
2.4. Essential elements of organizational culture
2.5. Level of job satisfaction

3. Network analysis. Brief introduction
3.1. Level of complexity of professional relationships
3.2. Potential professional connections
3.3. Rating of professional recognition
3.4. Personal connections

4. Conclusion and recommendations

The steps of research

You enter staff list with their positions
Participants receive by email the individual username and passwords to access the online survey.
Participants complete the survey, which takes about 15 minutes
Confidentiality is guaranteed.
The report is automatically generated and will be available in one day
The report contains the necessary guidance to understand the results.
We will gladly offer more detailed explanations of the results
During the consultancy, we will give the recommendations.

Our experience

school groups
Azat Soultanov
Deputy Director, CIS Armenia International School
We have recently conducted a survey from the Direktoria team to measure our school's social capital, and it gave us a lot to think about. The research showed us how effective our team functions as a social group.

It's easy to administer a web-based survey. Almost all the staff pass the survey, and they had no difficulties. The evaluation moved fast and easy. As a result, the platform produces a visual report (so-called graphs), which allows you to see your school's network of people (connected dots) who have mutually selected each other.

All in all, if you want to improve your school's inner dynamics, this survey is an excellent place to start. You can conduct the study once a year to see if your strategies are working.
Sergey Prikhodko
Head of School, Russia, Krasnodar region
Our school has used social capital research twice. Before the research, we thought that the team had a standard structure of interaction between each other. However, we learnt that the teachers do not contact each other on professional topics. After the research, we decided to organize project teams, which worked on new projects through discussions and solving tasks.

After two years, we arranged other research on the structure of professional connections in the team. It showed that the vertical structure disappeared, giving way to a horizontal structure (team). Teachers improved themselves professionally and began to solve professional problems together.
To register your interest in this service,
please complete the form below
Professor Konstantin Ushakov hold consultations

Evaluation and consultancy

If you are not sure if you need the evaluation on the structure of professional interactions, you can order one-hour free consultation. The consultant will clarify the importance of evaluation for your school and explain the details of the service.
Evaluation tool
The price is for evaluation for one school. You manage the evaluation yourself, which usually takes 3 to 5 days.

We recommend evaluating once a year.
One hour of consultation for Head of the School based on the results of the evaluation is included in the price as part of the service.

Additional consultations are paid separately regarding the price.
Prices and services
First evaluation with a one-hour consultation
500 € (550 $)
Second evaluation with a one-hour consultation
(we recommend to evaluating once a year)
450 € (500 $)
Evaluation without consultation
350 € (370 $)
Additional a one-hour consultation
150 € (160 $)
Meet our team
The company «September»
The company «September» formed in 1993, is an education publishing and consultancy service to schools and corporations. The company owns educational brands including a magazine for school management «School Director», school evaluation system «Direktoria», a training centre for teachers «Direktoria Academy». Founder and CEO of the company is Professor and Doctor of Science Konstantin Ushakov.

The company develops education consulting and evaluation tools, conducts its own researches and training. More than 2000 schools were evaluated on social capital and organizational culture by the company.
Konstantin Ushakov
Professor of Higher School of Economics, Doctor of Science
Chief Editor of magazine "School Director", author of books about management in education
Anton Kukharev
Master of Public Administration, Head of school evaluation system «Direktoria»
PhD in Education, Head of training centre «Direktoria Academy»
PhD in Education, certified coach, a business partner of training centre «Direktoria Academy»
Katsarina Kukso
Natalia Gulchevskaya
+44 7568 496482
1-Avtozavodskiy proezd, 4
Moscow, Russia
+7 915 265 51 08 WhatsApp