Purpose: This research paper explores the value of collaborative inquiry networks of headteachers and curriculum coordinators to cope with 2020's coronavirus pandemic in Chile. Specifically, the authors describe the main challenges that networks identify in their contexts, the collaborative practices performed by different schools to address these challenges, and the influence of the networks on the innovative responses of teachers in their own schools. Design/methodology/approach: This is a mixed-method study from a complementary stance using different methods and data of a project implemented with a total of 54 headteachers and curriculum coordinators. The data sources were participants' individual reports, the network teams' reports of their collaborative inquiry projects, and a short open-ended questionnaire responded by teachers that did not participate directly in the networks but benefited from their work. The data were analyzed using content analysis, categories were created to organize and describe the main findings. Findings: Participants of the networks reported that their active participation in the collaborative inquiry allows them to share knowledge among different schools and has helped them to support innovative practices in their own schools. Specifically, they have reported that collaborating has permitted them to maintain a pedagogical focus, foster distributed leadership within the school communities, provide them with greater autonomy, and develop skills to favor the emotional containment of their teams. Inquiry teams perform diverse collective practices; they designed and applied virtual surveys, planned and implemented virtual workshops with teachers, and generated meaningful reflection about formative assessment and pedagogical practices. Originality/value: This work offers insights into how the Chilean school system has responded to COVID-19 challenges and shows how despite the negative aspects of the pandemic, it has become an opportunity to recognize and enhance teachers' professional development through the collaboration among different schools. Most headteachers and curriculum coordinators reported that an active collaborative inquiry changed how they used to think about their leadership and strengthened the value of professional relationships to address extremely difficult challenges as a result of the pandemic. These lessons can be taken for the future, to rethink and rebuild educational systems.
- Collaborative inquiry
- School networks