26 SES 12 A, Laying the Groundwork for a Comparative, International Dialogue on Curriculum Theories and Leadership Research
Recent neoliberal educational and accountability policies have intensified a focus on school leadership, learning results, and national curriculum standards. This movement is truly international but takes different shapes in various countries. We can observe a redefinition of how power and influence is distributed anew between central administration and local schools, between state level administration and private (family) interests, but also within each level. Moreover, these developments indicate a renewed relation between policy as curriculum making, leadership as enacted practice as well evaluation as a steering vehicle are closer than before.
Yet, observing the research traditions and paradigms approaching curriculum, evaluation and leadership it is obvious that they are not developed in any closer connection to each other, rather quite disparate from each other. Curriculum theory typically starts from a societal, critical and philosophical policy perspective while leadership research has had a tendency to approach schooling on an individual, interactive, and a practitioner level concentrating on the school (organizational) issues and social dynamics between professionals. Most evaluation research again has not been connected to either but rather based on learning psychology and teachers work.
In this session, we argue for a closer dialogue within and across national contexts with regards to curriculum and leadership in the wake of a growing critique of neoliberalism. In our view, this growing critique of neoliberal policies opens a rationale for this dialogue. The key is the changed role of evaluation of learning results: when moving towards an accountability oriented paradigm, leadership on the organizational level is connected to policy and curriculum work. However, connecting leadership research to curriculum may also offer us a way of moving beyond the contemporary critique rather than strengthening the connection between leadership and policy in an effectiveness paradigm.
The session draws on curriculum theory, theory of Didaktik and general education as well as educational leadership research to posit the following questions:
1. Which are the dominating theoretical frameworks in leadership research and curriculum in US and Europe (Nordic, German, French tradition) on a general level?
2. How do the existing research approaches to curriculum research and leadership complete and differ from each other?
3. How may the different research traditions be understood with their cultural-historical and political context?
4. Is it possible to identify elements for a common general framework uniting educational leadership and curriculum theory?
Our theoretical framework draws on curriculum theory, including particularly German non-affirmative and critical education (Benner, 2001), theory of Didaktik (e.g. Klafki, 1991) and anglo American curriculum theory (Dewey, 1916; 1938; Pinar, 2004). This version of European general education is focused on understanding institutional schooling both on a societal and an individual, interactive level. On the societal level a non-affirmative position is adopted. From Dewey’s (1916/2008) pragmatic perspective, social institutions, such as schools, are a means for creating reflective individuals who are both educated within and prepared to create a more democratic society. Pinar (2004) extended Dewey’s arguments with the notion of curriculum as “complicated conversation” among knowledge, society, and the self.
Comparative education methods offer an analytical framework. More specifically, within and across the five countries (U.S., Finland, Austria, Estonia, Luxemburg), this symposium examines historical traditions, institutional pressures, culture, the role of the state, policy trends, approaches to curriculum, and leadership studies.
The final paper of this symposium concludes with a proposal for new research fields and questions in the midst of the current neoliberal critique. In so doing, we construct a foundation for closer connections among traditions and paradigms approaching curriculum and leadership studies.
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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