03 SES 03, Leadership and Curriculum Change
Despite a general success in international comparisons measuring school performance, Finland, like other countries, demonstrate significant variation between schools’ performance level. The variation between schools has typically been smaller in Finland compared to other countries, but is nonetheless still obvious, yet this has received limited attention from a school and curriculum development perspective. The objective of this study is to understand what kind of pedagogical processes may explain this variation.
Then, to be more precise, how does the variation between schools in Finland look like? After having controlled for students socio-cultural home background the variation between schools performance level in Finland is still around 100 p (Uljens & Korhonen, 2012). It is reasonable to expect that parts of this remaining variation on 100p depend on variation in eg. the schools’ pedagogical culture. In addition, if we can identify a change over time in some schools ’ performance level, after having controlled for the sociocultural student composition of the schools, then it is indeed of interest to understand to what extent these changes co-occur with changes in the schools pedagogical culture.
Previous results show that despite a variation on the school level, a variation is seldom visible on a regional level. When controlling for students SCES the differences between different regions performance level typically dissolve in Finland (Uljens & Korhonen, 2012). However, a few regions are ”overperforming”, i.e. they perform much better compared to what could be expected in relation to the socio-cultural and educational level of that region. In addition, we have observed that in some regions significant positive changes have occurred over the years. The intention of this paper is to reconstruct the pedagogical development in such an overperforming region in Finland.
Theoretically leadership and teaching are viewed as distributed practices in culturally and historically developed institutions framed by a local society (Engeström, 1987, Uljens 1997) They are considered meditational, hermeneutic and moral activities between the individual learner’s life-world and societal demands and expectations (Benner, 1991). They operate between epistemic practices and value-spheres. The critical-hermeneutic school pedagogical approach is building upon a non-hierarchical understanding of education and politics, as well as a view of the leadership-teaching-studying-learning (LTSL) process as a recognition based activity.
The educational policy context for the stduy is that in Finland new forms for educational government and governace are being developed. A central feature is also strenghtened recentralisation of curriculum work combined with a developmental approach to schools (Uljens & Nyman, 2013).
Benner, D. (1991). Allgemeine Pädagogik. Weinheim: Juventa. Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding. Helsinki: Orienta. Uljens, M. (1997). School didactics and learning. Hove: Psychology Press. Uljens, M. & Nyman, C. (2013). Educational Leadership in Finland - Building a Nation with Bildung. In L. Moos (ed.) (2013). Transnational Influences on Values and Practices in Nordic Educational Leadership: Is there a Nordic Model? Dordrecht: Springer. Uljens, M., & Korhonen, J. (2012). On lower performing Swedish speaking schools in Finland - An educational leadership perspective. Paper presented at NERA, March, 2012, Copenhagen.
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