01 SES 03 A, National Strategies for Professional Development
Based on organizational theory, and within an organizing perspective (Löwstedt, Larsson, Karsten, & Van Dick, 2007; Sandberg & Targama, 1998; Weick, 1976; Weick, 1979) a vast part of all major Swedish school development projects (locally initiated as well as nationally) performed over a period of twenty-five years were evaluated and summarized by Swedish researchers (Larsson & Löwstedt, 2010). Six common main strategies used to achieve transformation through school development actions were identified. Those were; school development through Organizational Change, School Networking, ICT-Investments, Local Projects, Leadership Development, and Further Education (Larsson & Löwstedt, 2010).
Further analyses showed that none of these single strategies, per see, led to any consisting change. Critical factors identified for successful development of school organizations were instead strategy-independent variables of organizational or “organizing” nature. Six general factors of importance - features of schools which showed success in their school development effort - were identified as Organizational Learning, Organizational Identity, Visible Teachers, Genuine Learning Teams, Collective Disciplining and Organizational Leadership (Larsson & Löwstedt, 2010).
Challenging behavior is strongly correlated with increased rates of poor school achievement and school dropout among students. These youths are at high risk of later unemployment, social problems, criminality and to the development of psychiatric diagnoses (Baker, Grant, & Morlock, 2008; Barriga et al., 2002; Ek, Westerlund, Furmark & Fernell, 2012; Greene, Ablon, & Goring, 2003; O'Connor, Dearing, & Collins, 2011). Schools fail to teach these students all over Europe, a fact that strongly contributes to increased demands for exclusive solutions in education (Lindqvist, Nilholm, Almqvist, & Wetso, 2011). There is a lack of evaluated interventions towards schools´ work with challenging behavior and an extended research asks for models that extend abilities at schools to teach all students, and, that such models must incorporate an inclusive perspective (Ainscow, Dyson, Goldrick, & West, 2012; Giota, Lundborg, & Emanuelsson, 2009; Ruijs, Van, & Peetsma, 2010).
To meet these negative trends educators claim for further education and above all for appropriate local school development aiming to build modern, learning and flexible school organizations ready to educate all students within a wide and complex diversity of conditions, which are locally different, specific and, as well, changing over time (Lindqvist et al., 2011; EUC, 2009). Anchoring, participative leadership and teacher engagement is pointed out as crucial factors in any inclusive school development ambition (Berg & Scherp, 2003; Berg, 2011; Brannick & Coghlan, 2005; Farrell, Dyson, Polat, Hutcheson, & Gallannaugh, 2007).
At the same time, mainly as an effect of the increasingly dominating international comparisons of educational achievement (i.e. IEA, PISA/OECD), many schools are set under severe national and/or municipal pressure. Political, legal, curricular and administrational reforms are to be implemented, purposed to raise the national rank in achievement. Teachers and school leaders in Sweden repeat their need for calm, less central demands and better opportunities to maintain a local focus in their teaching and school development striving.
This paper presents and discusses experiences and organizational process findings from a Swedish school development project that run over two years. The overall aim of the project is to develop teacher teams´ and schools´ abilities to approach and teach students with challenging behavior in an inclusive school environment. What are the actual preconditions like, to carry out such a local school development project? What may be the obstacles?
Ainscow, M., Dyson, A., Goldrick, S. & West, M. (2012). Making schools effective for all: Rethinking the task. School Leadership & Management, 32(3), 197-213. Berg, G. (2011). Skolledarskap och skolans frirum. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Berg, G., & Scherp, H. (Eds.). (2003). Skolutvecklingens många ansikten. forskning i fokus. nr 15. Stockholm: Liber. Brannick, T., & Coghlan, D. (2005). Doing action research in your own organization (2nd ed.). London Thousand Oaks New Dehli: SAGE Publications. Ek, U., Westerlund, J., Furmark, C. & Fernell, E. (2012). An audit of teenagers who had not succeeded in elementary school: A retrospective case review. Dovepress, 4, 1-7. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CA.S29535 Farrell, P., Dyson, A., Polat, F., Hutcheson, G. & Gallannaugh, F. (2007). SEN inclusion and pupil achievement in english schools. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 7(3), 172-178. Giota, J., Lundborg, O. & Emanuelsson, I. (2009). Special education in comprehensive schools: Extent, forms and effects. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 53(6), 557-578. doi:10.1080/00313830903302083 Larsson, P. Löwstedt, J., Karsten, S. & Van Dick, R. (Eds.). (2007). From intesified work to professional development. Bruxelles: P.I.E. Peter Lang Publishing. Larsson, P. & Löwstedt, J. (2010). Strategier och förändringsmyter: Ett organisationsperspektiv på skolutveckling och lärares arbete. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Lindqvist, G., Nilholm, C., Almqvist, L. & Wetso, G. -. (2011). Different agendas? the views of different occupational groups on special needs education. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 26(2), 143-157. doi:10.1080/08856257.2011.563604 O'Connor, E. E., Dearing, E. & Collins, B. A. (2011). Teacher-child relationship and behavior problem trajectories in elementary school. American Educational Research Journal, 48(1), 120-162. Ruijs, N. M., Van, d. V. & Peetsma, T. T. D. (2010). Inclusive education and students without special educational needs. Educational Research, 52(4), 351-390. Sandberg, J. & Targama, A. (1998). Ledning och förståelse. ett kompetensperspsktiv på organisationer. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Weick, K. (1976). Educational organizations as losely coupled systems. Administrative Science Quartely, 21, 1-19. Weick, K. (1979). The social psychology of organizing (2nd ed.). New York: Random House.
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