32 SES 13, Data Driven Change Processes - three national approaches
A challenge that must always be faced in the field of school development research is to be able to establish a transfer of data between policy, practice and research to foster change processes within the organisations.
Hargreaves and Goodson (2006) indicated ‘educational change is shaped by the convergence of large-scale economic and demographic shifts that produce five change forces (waves of reform, changing student demographics, teacher generations, leadership succession, and school interrelations)’. Bottom up initiatives as a driving force, was not led. Conversely, in recent years the growing body of research points out that school improvement is not the result of top-down policy or programmes, but rather is more motivated by bottom-up processes (Ball 2012). Munby & Fullan (2016) ask the question of whether large scale-up reforms are needed or if it is time for rethinking whole processes, namely school improvement as a social movement. This assumption gives rise to two central questions. One question is the degree of impact of bottom-up initiatives and whether these can reach the decision-making level. This can be discussed at a local, regional, national or European level. Secondly, the notion of school improvement as a social movement raises the question of the role of research and researchers in these new activities that are initiated by the local level. More specifically Rosa’s theory of resonance (2016) determines how an interplay among different stakeholders can succeed.
In both cases, it is a question of data-driven feedback at different levels. Being concerned with the question of how knowledge can have a responsive character to a system, this can happen at many levels in the context of school development: between science and practice, between practice and politics, between science and politics or among all of them.
Regarding the questions about the new role of research in this context, one solution could be understanding research as a social practice (Cochran-Smith & Villegas 2014), in which all actors are involved at eye level. This approach would move away position schools as objects of research and towards a research attitude that sees schools and organizations as agents of their own development. Research relevant to data-driven feedback processes should enrich practice and promote development. One such approach is Design-Based Research (e.g. Mintrop 2016).
With reference to learning processes in the organizational space and the responsivity of an organization to change processes (Althans und Engel 2016), the three papers in this symposium attempt to explain transfer processes from different perspectives.
The first paper presents a case study from a primary school in Portugal focused on the fundamental problem in Europe, namely, that teachers and schools become transmitters of monocultural values whereas the world becomes more and more diverse. Following this paper, a member of the European Doctorate in Teacher Education programme will present research results (on the European level) with a focus on feedback processes.
The Austrian contribution discusses the challenges posed by drawing conclusions from pilot projects for countrywide reform projects in Austria and, in connection with this, the question of possible bridge builders, so-called boundary spanners, will be considered. These new actors are able to connect innovative approaches beyond vertical hierarchies and also between institutional partners (practice policy) through data.
Finally, colleagues from Switzerland present a paper dealing with feedback processes within schools. The research team concentrated on the possibilities for participation of pupils and fed back the results to the school nd discussed them with the school team in a workshop.
Both the resulting school development processes initiated by these data as well as the responsiveness of the schools to the research results will be discussed.
Althans, B., & Engel, J. (Eds.). (2016). Responsive Organisationsforschung: Methodologien und institutionelle Rahmungen von Übergängen (Vol. 16). Springer-Verlag. Ball, S. J., Maguire, M., & Braun, A. (2012). How schools do policy: Policy enactments in secondary schools. Routledge. Cochran-Smith, M. & Villegas, A.M. (2014). Framing Teacher Preparation Research: An Overview of the Field, Part 1. Journal of Teacher Education. 65(4): 7-20. Hargreaves, A., & Goodson, I. (2006). Educational change over time? The sustainability and nonsustainability of three decades of secondary school change and continuity. Educational administration quarterly, 42(1), 3-41. Munby, S. & Fullan, M. (2016) Inside-out and downside-up: How leading from the middle has the power to transform education systems. Rosa, H. (2016). Resonanz: Eine Soziologie der Weltbeziehung. Suhrkamp Verlag.
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