Shaping teacher sensemaking: School leaders and the enactment of reading policy

Cynthia E. Coburn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Scopus citations


A growing body of research has emphasized the social processes by which teachers adapt and transform policy as they enact it in their classrooms. Yet little attention has been paid to the role of school leaders in this process. Drawing on sociological theories of sensemaking, this article investigates how principals in two California elementary schools influenced teacher learning about and enactment of changing reading policy. It argues that principals influence teachers' enactment by shaping access to policy ideas, participating in the social process of interpretation and adaptation, and creating substantively different conditions for teacher learning in schools. These actions, in turn, are influenced by principals' understandings about reading instruction and teacher learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-509
Number of pages34
JournalEducational Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Content knowledge
  • Policy implementation
  • School leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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