26 SES 13 C, Training, Roles and Practices of School Principals
The changing roles of principals are mainly attributed to the evolution of the schools and the student populations they serve, as well as policies from all levels of government (Fullan, 2014; Hargreaves & Shirley, 2012). In response to these changing roles, the education of principals at all stages in their careers play a significant part. This study will examine how the impact of changing standards and governance affect the education of principals as well as their role in Sweden and California. The two states make an interesting comparison due to their differing governances, funding models, qualifications of principals, and cultures. How principals’ prerequisites and obligations change in relation to societal development and how their education prepares them for their role is a topic that apply to all European and many other countries, including the U.S. Although to be both efficient and have measurable success are critical in the competitive environments in which many current schools find themselves, change must also be sustainable. It is important to examine the critical perspectives and paths different nations (and states in the U.S.) take in developing principals.
Sweden has a combination of a centralized and decentralized system. Education laws, curricula, and subject syllabus are national and apply to all schools. To become employed as a Swedish principal the Education Act states that you need “pedagogical insight and experience”. The municipality and school-owner decide who they want to hire as a principal. The Swedish National agency for education provides a three-year, part-time National principal training program that should be completed during a principal’s first four years in practice. The Education Act and National Curricula state the principals’ assignments and responsibilities as pedagogical as well as fiduciary leader.
By contrast, the U.S. is fairly decentralized, leaving the majority of school control to the 50 states. These states, in turn, offer varying degrees of control to local school districts. California, the most populous state, has a unique system in that it not only has a department of education, as do all other states, it also has a credentialing entity that creates and monitors standards for entrance into the principal profession. Those wishing to obtain a California Preliminary Administrative Services credential must have held a teaching or Pupil Personnel Services credential (school counseling or psychology) for five years. Upon the issuing of Preliminary credential, an administrative position must be obtained and begun within a certain time period. Professional Administrative Services credentials are valid for five years. The Preliminary program varies in length from institution to institution, but must adhere to 17 performance expectations.
In both nations, as in many others, there has been an emphasis on raising the academic results for all students. In Sweden, for example, it has rendered a debate that principals ought to have more time to be pedagogical leaders and focus on the school’s quality assurance work. The concept of pedagogical leadership is broader than instructional leadership and include a democratic perspective that involves teachers in the discussion about student learning (Ärlestig &Törnsen, 2014).
In response to increased testing and a focus on standards, the role of California principals, all U.S. principals, became viewed in terms of the “instructional leader” (Fullan, 2014: 2017) which could be translated in many cases to “test preparation manager” not leading instruction which will, in turn, lead to deeper, more relevant knowledge, skills, and dispositions (Teinken & Orlich, 2013). The phase “pedagogical leader,” used in Sweden and in Canada (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2014) is not used in the California standards for school administrators.
This is a conceptual paper that will use official data to compare education of principals in two different contexts. Principal education in Sweden and California are greatly contrast in what agencies expect as well as how funding and general control of schools differ. However, the major foci of principal education are generally similar; that is, a focus on student success and overall culture building within the school and the immediate community. It is evident, however, that Sweden and California take different paths in their way to educate school leaders. A comparison of aims, course content and official statistics on principals’ education will be reported. The study will provide an overview of the two systems and what the Sweden and California are striving for as well as provide a picture of where the current conditions of principal education in both. Thorough document analyses will provide a critical reflection on the key differences. Special attention is given to • How the changing roles of the principal are reflected in principal training • How difference in principal production programs and their execution affect the principal’s leadership role, as examined through the lens of school leadership theory. This is a first step to a qualitative study which will include surveys and interviews with principals in California and Sweden.
The study will conclude with a recap of the key differences and commonalities for Sweden and California in the production of principals, the changing roles of principals, and a look into the future of principal preparation in both. Swedish principals are expected to complete the three-year long program within four years. Except for the completing of the national principal training program, there is no accreditation or education based on national standards. In California, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing provides standards for entering the profession, and it mandates another level of credential must be issued within five years of obtaining a school administrator position. Since 1970, California has been the only state that allows for one to obtain an administrative credential without completing a university or other state-approved program of study (Davis, 2011). In addition, California is the only state whose credentialing agency is not a part of the department of education. The role of the principal is shaped by changing standards and policies created by external forces. We can in both cases detect a focus on measurable student learning, which implies that the role of the instructional/pedagogical leader will continue if measurement continues to dominate school policy. Some scholars note the absence of the fostering of culture and human capital in school leadership literature. For instance, Hargreaves and Fullan (2012) bemoan the adherence to business capital (treating a school as a business, measuring all that can be measured) rather than developing professional capital which they write is a combination of human capital (the individual’s knowledge and skills), social capital (group knowledge and skills) and decision capital (expert judgement). By comparing the two countries, a discussion of how future education programs can contribute and/or compensate for the demographic changes in schools and what is expected from principals.
Ärlestig, H & Törnsén, M. (2014a). Classroom observations and supervision - essential dimensions of pedagogical leadership. International Journal of Educational Management, 2014, 28(7), pp.856-868 Fullan, M. (2014). The principal: Three ways to maximizing impact. Jossey-Bass & Ontario Principals Council. Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College Press. Hargreaves, A. & Shirley, D. (2012). The global fourth way: The quest for educational excellence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of error: The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger of America’s public schools. New York: Random House. Tienken, C., & Orlich, D. (2013). The school reform landscape: Fraud, myth, and lies. Lanham, MD: Rowman Littlefield.
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
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.