26 SES 06 A, Evaluation of School Leaders: European perspectives
Evaluation of school leaders is an important component of professional development and school improvement strategies (Cranston, 2013; Schleicher, 2012) but the nature, purpose and practice employed to evaluate school leaders varies widely from country to country (Headen, 2014; Eurydice Report, 2013). Comparative studies of education and transnational projects have the potential to contribute to high-quality professional learning derived from critical reflection of one’s own and others’ professional practices (Dale, 2005; Spring, 2014). However, such a process is complex and difficult and the aspiration of an international community of experts agreeing on a common model has been dismissed as ‘invented and imagined’ because the exchange of ideas and transfer of educational knowledge is facilitated by, and constrained by, established ideas, norms and culture (Perry and Tor, 2008). This paper will share evidence drawn from a transnational Erasmus+ project on the Evaluation of School Leaders (EOSLATP) to demonstrate how comparative studies of alternative practice and sharing professional experience was used by participants in the project as a basis for reflective enquiry within a process of Mezirow’s (1978) ‘perspective transformation’. Evidence drawn from the project will be presented to demonstrate how this process can lead to meta-cognition that goes beyond the scope of the topic that forms the focus of a transnational project. The paper will draw upon examples from the project to illustrate the challenges and opportunities presented by reflection on transnational differences in professional practice. The findings from this paper contribute to debates about understanding contested and contextualised research-policy relationships in education (Lingard, 2013; Griffiths, 2011) and illustrate the potential of transnational projects and comparative studies as part of a complex social process of transferring educational practice (Perry and Tor, 2008). The paper will present findings and recommendations related to the development of evaluation of school leaders that could inform professional practice in a variety of areas for a range of stakeholders, including inspectors, school leaders and researchers.
Cranston, N., 2013. School leaders leading: Professional responsibility not accountability as the key focus. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 41(2), pp.129-142. Dale, R., 2005. Globalisation, knowledge economy and comparative education. Comparative education, 41(2), pp.117-149. European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2013. Key data on Teachers and School Leaders in Europe (2013 Edition) ‘Eurydice Report’ Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice Griffiths, T., 2011. World-systems analysis and comparative education for an uncertain future. International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives, 10(1). Headen, E.Q., 2014. A comparative analysis of teacher evaluation policy. The University of Alabama. Lingard, B., 2013. The impact of research on education policy in an era of evidence-based policy. Critical Studies in Education, 54(2), pp113-131. Mezirow, J., 1978. Perspective transformation. Adult education, 28(2), pp.100-110. Perry, L.B. and Tor, G.H., 2008. Understanding educational transfer: theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks. Prospects, 38(4), pp.509-526. Schleicher, A., 2012. Preparing teachers and developing school leaders for the 21st century: Lessons from around the world. OECD Publishing. Paris, France. Spring, J., 2014. Globalization of education: An introduction. Routledge.
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