26 SES 08 A, Leading and Innovating in Rural, Remote and Municipal Spaces
Since the beginning of this millennium, when the OECD launched international tests in its member countries and subsequently presented the country's ranking, attention has been directed towards student performance and what works when trying to improve results. Many studies show that the Katz, Kaplan, & Guetta 2009; Wentzel, Battle, Russell, & Looney , 2010). Researchers have also been interested in how teachers and the entire organization learn in the pursuit of "the good school" (DuFour, & Eaker, 2005; Stoll, & Louis, 2007; Beds, Cambron-McCabe, Lucas, Smith, & Dutton , 2012). Here in Norway, the educational development after the PISA shock in 2007 has been governed by national school authorities. They have implemented major national initiatives to improve student outcomes. Examples are: Assessment for Learning (2010), Competence for Quality (2015) and Development of Secondary Education ( 2013 -2017). Most parliamentary reports from this period use terms such as "learning communities", "professional learning communities" and "collective culture for learning” when describing the activities in schools (White paper no.11 (2008-2009); White paper no.28 (2015-2016); White paper no. 19 (2015-2016, etc.). Researchers have also explored how school-leaders may have an influence on student-achievements, through their work for professional development and for creating good organizational cultures (Bang 2011). There is little research from the Norwegian context that takes the leaders’ perspectives on teachers' learning and their own role in planning and supporting teacher change. In this article we aim to look into how school leaders understand and facilitate learning in the organization as a whole, and we ask: How do school leaders understand organizational learning and how do they include the whole staff in the learning community at their own school? This article has partly an inductive design, in which we have chosen key concepts and theoretical perspectives based on empirical data. The informants received relatively open questions in the field of collective learning, and the topics they touched, are the basis of the theory of analysis. Initially, however, we will try to clear the concept of learning in organizations. Key concepts that the school leaders talked about in connection with staff learning were: participation, responsibility, dialogue, reflection and trust. Based on this, we will describe learning in organizations, with particular focus on some concepts from Wenger's theory of practice fellowship (2006) concepts of professional learning community (Stoll et al., 2006) and theories of organizational culture and leadership (Schein 2010), where we focus in particular on the importance of management for learning, both students and teachers.
Method Six school-leaders in a medium sized Norwegian municipality were interviewed. The informants were all principals at secondary schools of varying size. There were over 30 employees in all the schools, and thus relatively large groups of employees. All the municipality's secondary schools had just participated in the major national initiative Development of Secondary Education, focusing on school-based development in the work with basic skills (The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training). We therefore considered that the time was particularly relevant for examining the school leaders' understanding and facilitation of professional learning and development. We used a semi-structured, open interview guide where we asked the school leaders to tell us how they went about to facilitate school development and the professional learning among the staff at their school. The reflections they had about this and the terms they used to describe the premises, form the basis for the theoretical perspectives in the article. The interviews were conducted during a two-month period in the autumn and winter of 2015. The informants received an email where we presented the main topics, in advance. The interviews lasted approximately an hour, and they were they recorded and transcribed in their entirety. The categorization of the data is based on some key issues that were frequently touched upon amongst the school leaders, and on some topics that we specifically asked about, such as: participation, responsibility and trust, knowledge sharing and arenas of learning. The informants are referred to as Principal A-F in the analysis.
Expected outcome: Preliminary findings 1.Participation: -The principals are keen on broad participation -The principals state:“Everyone is included (discrepancy between what they say and what really happens) 2. Knowledge sharing and cooperation: -The principal regarded collaboration as an important arena for learning, necessary for educational development -Teachers have a responsibility in sharing experiences and knowledge 3. Responsibility and Trust: -The principals looked at school development and learning processes in the staff as mainly own their responsibility -Responsibility was also shared and/or delegated to deputy heads and assistant-leaders. -There were disagreement about managerial tasks should be delegated to team leaders
References: DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (2005). Professional learning communities at work tm: best practices for enhancing students achievement. Solution Tree Press. Katz, I., Kaplan, A., & Gueta, G. (2009). Students’ needs, teachers’ support, and motivation for doing homework: A cross-sectional study. The Journal of Experimental Education, 78(2), 246-267. Senge, P. M., Cambron-McCabe, N., Lucas, T., Smith, B., & Dutton, J. (2012). Schools that learn (updated and revised): A fifth discipline fieldbook for educators, parents, and everyone who cares about education. Crown Business. Skinner, E., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kindermann, T. (2008). Engagement and disaffection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic?. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 765. Stoll, L., & Louis, K. S. (2007). Professional learning communities: Divergence, depth and dilemmas. McGraw-Hill Education (UK). Wenger, E. (2004). Praksisfællesskaber. København. Hans Reitzels forlag. (Opprinnelig publisert 1998). Wentzel, K. R., Battle, A., Russell, S. L., & Looney, L. B. (2010). Social supports from teachers and peers as predictors of academic and social motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 35(3), 193-202.
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