26 SES 10 C, Pedagogical Leadership
School leadership plays a key role in improving school outcomes, influencing teachers, creating an environment conducive to learning, and improving the efficiency and equity of schooling (Pont, Nuche & Moorman, 2008). The principal’s expertise in administrating the school’s inner work, giving priority to different activities and engaging all staff members to create prerequisites for a successful learning environment is considered substantial (Day & Leithwood, 2007, Robinson, 2008). This study’s focus is whether a project to improve leadership and organization can affect the school achievement.
Despite the difficulties in measuring the school leader’s influence on student performance, several examples of strategies for school improvement are identified. Timperley (2011), for instance, describes five successful dimensions of leadership: formulate goals and expectations; use resources strategically; plan, coordinate and evaluate teaching and curriculum; offer a peaceful and supportive learning environment; and, most importantly, promote and actively participate in teachers’ learning and development. Such strategies are common themes throughout the literature of leadership, which recognizes that the principal’s instructional leadership has a positive impact on student achievement (e.g., Day, 2007; Leithwood, Harris & Hopkins, 2008; Pashiardis, 2013). While no school is entirely alike due to, e.g., different catchment areas and school cultures, various strategies are necessary. Duke (2012) provides additional examples of activities that can be considered based on the specific context: setting priorities, establishing measurable targets, determining first steps and mid-course correction, and a set of core beliefs. Thus, there is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all solution. Each school has to take departure from its unique context and challenges; this calls for active and conscious leadership.
In the Swedish educational context, PISA reports describe declining school results and an increasing gap between boys’ and girls’ performances, as well as between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds. There has therefore been a call for change. Moreover, regular school inspections have advertised for instructional leadership as a means for school improvement. Consequently, this issue has received considerable attention, and numerous activities aiming to change the statistics have been initiated at both national and local level.
This study is an example of a school improvement project aimed at addressing declining student achievement. The study was initiated by the municipality’s superintendent, who had launched a local school improvement program. It is a two-year collaborative project between three principals, who after volunteering were selected by the superintendent, and three scholars interested in leadership and organization. The project’s purpose is to follow, but also to challenge, the three principals’ ongoing work for school improvement, focusing on their educational leadership, the school’s learning organization, and goal- and result-steering for strengthening the quality of teaching. The three schools are situated in socioeconomically diverse contexts with a high percentage of immigrant students. All schools have results below what is expected due to the student body composition.
Day, C. (2007). Sustaining the Turnaround: What Capacity Building Means in Practice. International Studies in Educational Administration, 35(3), 39-48. Day, C., & Leithwood, K. (Eds.). (2007). Successful principal leadership in times of change. An international perspective. Dordrecht: Springer. Duke, D. L. (2012). The Judgement of Principals: A Key to Understanding Tough Calls and Instructional Leadership. In B. G. Barnett, A. R. Shoho & A. Tooms Cyprès (Eds.), The Changing Nature of Instructional Leadership in the 21st Century, (pp. 13-32). Charlotte: Information Age Publisher. Leithwood, K., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2008). Seven strong claims about successful school leadership. School Leadership and Management, 28(1), 27-42. Pashiardis, P. (Ed.). (2014). Modeling School Leadership across Europe - in Search of New Frontiers. London: Springer. Pont, B., Nusche, D., & Moorman, H. (2008). Improving School Leadership - Volume 1: Policy and Practice. Paris: OECD. Robinson, V. M. J. (2008). The impact of leadership on student outcomes. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(5), 653-674. Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the Power of Professional Learning. Berkshire: Open University Press.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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