04 SES 08 C, Effective Leadership Models and Practices for Inclusive Education
Research context: Inclusion has brought comprehensive reforms to the German educational system ( Mißling/Ückert 2014). Advancements in the development of its practical organization have been inconsistent and conflicting, however. Inclusive education research is indicating that the extensive and persistent reformation efforts (recontextualisation) ( Amrhein 2011; Amrhein 2016) regarding the practical implementation of inclusion at allschool levels may be incompatible with the general human rights perspective (UN-BRK) (Wocken 2011). In individual schools, principals have found the implementation of inclusive education within the highly segregative structure of the German school system to lead to ambiguous school development plans. This holds particularly true for secondary schools.
Meanwhile, national and international studies (Huber 2009) regarding varying school reforms have repeatedly shown that the performance of school principals plays a major role in the success of implementing school changes and that they hold a key function as central agents of change in multi-level school systems. In spite of this, previous studies have only given marginal attention to the impact of school principals on this in Germany (Badstieber & Moldenhauer 2016).
Objective: This research project focuses on the perspectives and concerning of principals in the context of implementing inclusive education in secondary schools. It will explore how, at the individual school level, secondary schools’ principals make sense of the required implementation of inclusive education within a context of contradicting institutional, organisational, and individual specifications. To that extent, the study investigates school principals’ understanding of their role in inclusive school development and attempts to reconstruct, how school principals can fill in their role for purposeful inclusive school development.
Theoretical background: This project builds on the theoretical work of Fend’s (2008) „Neue Theorie der Schule“ (New school theory). Based on Fend’s considerations, the structure of the educational system situates school principals within a multi-level school system based on their key function between school policy specifications and internal school efforts. Furthermore, their actions can be described as recontextualisation processes in which they establish themselves as competent agents of change that moderate the contradictory requirements on the individual, organisational and institutional levels. The trend of inclusive school development processes can then be regarded as a solution to the various aspects of implementing inclusive education in the existing segregated educational system.
Methodology or Methods/ Research Instruments or Sources Used: An examination of school principals' actions in the context of developing inclusive education is based on the analysis of empirical data derived from an ongoing three-year research project collaboration (ending June 2018) between Bielefeled University (Prof. Dr. Amrhein) and the University of Cologne (Prof. Dr. Ziemen and Benjamin Badstieber), sponsored by the German Society for Accident Insurance (DGUV). The study design allows for the triangulation of qualitative and quantitative data. A quantitative questionnaire was completed by over 400 principals in ten German federal states and focused on their understanding of inclusive education, their perspectives towards inclusion, and their responsibilities within the school leadership. In addition, a more in-depth qualitative study was conducted with twenty schools, serving as case studies, in which focus groups were held with teachers and principals.
Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings: The final quantitative data analyzes will be presented, alongside the findings from a qualitative study on ECER 2018. The findings show that school principals have a key function within inclusive school development processes. The quantitative data demonstrate, that there is a significant correlation between the principals judgement of their leadership style and the development of inclusion in their individual school. School principals with an active, innovative and reflecting leadership style are obviously working at schools, that make bigger progress in inclusive school development processes. Beside organizational general conditions (type and size of school) and the school history (date and way of beginning inclusive school development) the individual experiences of the principals and their beliefs are important moderating variables. Starting from this the qualitative Data give a deeper insight, how the principals role could be fulfilled within inclusive school development processes. They emphasize, that beside administrative tasks it is mostly important for principals to work on the soft factors (ideas, values etc.) of the school members and reflecting the segregative and conflicting structures of the german school systems alongside a persevering belief in the sense of inclusive education.
Amrhein, Bettina (2011): Inklusion in der Sekundarstufe. Eine empirische Analyse. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt Amrhein, Bettina (2016): Inklusion als Mehrebenenkonstellation - Anmerkungen zu Rekontextualisierungstendenzen in inklusiven Bildungsreformen. In: Amrhein, B. (Hrsg.): Diagnostik im Kontext inklusiver Bildung : Theorien, Ambivalenzen, Akteure, Konzepte. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt, S. 17 - 38 Badstieber, Benjamin; Moldenhauer, Anna (2016): Schulleitungshandeln in inklusionsorientierten Schulentwicklungsprozessen. In: Böing, U. & Köpfer A.: "Be-Hinderung der Teilhabe - Soziale, politische und institutionelle Herausforderungen inklusiver Bildungsräume." Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt Fend, Helmut (2006): Neue Theorie der Schule. Einführung in das Verstehen von Bildungssystemen. Wiesbaden: VS Verl. für Sozialwissenschaften Huber, Stephan G. (2009): Schulleitung. In: Blömeke, S./Bohl, T./Haag, L./Lang-Wojtasik, G./ Sacher, W. (Hrsg.): Handbuch Schule. Theorie - Organisation - Entwicklung. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt, S. 501-511 Mißling, Sven; Ückert, Oliver (2014): Inklusive Bildung: Schulgesetze auf dem Prüfstand. http://www.unesco.de/fileadmin/medien/Dokumente/Bildung/DIMR_Vorabfassung_Studie_Schulgesetze_M%C3%A4rz_2014.pdf [Zugriff: 10.10.2016] Wocken, Hans (2011): Über die Entkernung der Behindertenrechtskonvention. Ein deutsches Trauerspiel in 14 Akten, mit einem Vorspiel und einem Abgesang. Zeitschrift für Inklusion-online.net, 4.
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