07 SES 16 A, Education, Immigration and Migration: Policy, leadership and praxis for a changing world
In January 2016 during the peak period of asylum seekers coming to Sweden regulations concerning newly arrived students were passed as a response to a lack of a comprehensive educational strategy for this group (Bunar, 2015; Regeringen [The Swedish Government], 2014). The legislation makes explicit demands on local school boards and school leaders to adjust the reception, organization and teaching to support the newly arrived students’ learning. This paper’s purpose is to describe how eleven Swedish school leaders managed to adjust their organization in order to fulfill their responsibilities concerning newly arrived students’ teaching and learning during that turbulent period. The study is situated in the field of post-migration ecology, as newly arrived students move from pre-migration to transmigration to post-migration contexts, the latter for this chapter’s interest, when they arrive to their new schools (Anderson, et al., (2004). The participating school leaders were chosen using purposeful snow-ball sampling methods based on their reputation, and the fact that they had received newly arrived students (following Merriam, 1998). Eleven principals in ten municipalities with between 5 and 20 years of experience volunteered and were interviewed to obtain a picture of how they are prepared for leadership for diversity and how policy and practice coincide. The interviews were semi-structured with open and explorative thematic issue areas. Issues of organizational change concerning receiving newly arrived students were explored as well as the impact these have had for their leadership and the school’s inner workings. Individual interviews were recorded, transcribed and thereafter sent back to the principals for member checking. Turbulence Theory (Gross, 2004; 2014), successful strategies for supporting migrant students’ learning in the post-migrant phase (OECD, 2016) and the new regulations in Sweden (Regeringen, 2014) were used as analytic probes. The study reveals how policy and practice collide due to a lack of intercultural and bilingual competences among the staff. Further, school principals did respond to the increased influx of refugee students in various ways. Connecting their responses was a consistent perception of heightened organizational turbulence. Among their perceptions was a divide where some considered the turbulence as a problem to diminish while getting back to a “normal” condition where others found ways to change their schools to better respond to dynamic situations by taking advantage of turbulent conditions. This demonstrates the possibility of turbulence being used as a constructive force in rapidly changing situations.
Anderson, A, Hamilton R., Moore, D., Loewen, D. & Frater Mathiesson, K. (2004), Education of refugee children. Theoretical perspectives and best practice. In R. Hamilton and D.Moore (Eds.). Educational Interventions for Refugee Children. Theoretical perspectives and implementing best practice (pp. 1-11) London: Routledge Falmer,. Bunar, N. (Ed.). (2015). Nyanlända och lärande. Stockholm: Natur & Kultur. Gross,S.J. (2004) Promises kept: Sustaining innovative curriculum leadership. Alexandria, Virginia: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Gross, S.J. (2014) Using turbulence theory to guide actions. In C.M. Branson & S.J. Gross (Eds.). Handbook on Ethical Educational Leadership (pp. 246-262). New York: Routledge. Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative Research and Case Study Applicartions in Education: Revised and Expanded From Case Study Research in Eduaction. San Fransisco: Joey Bass. OECD. (2016), Immigrant students at School. Easing the journey towards integration. OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264249509-en Regeringen (2014). Lagrådsremiss. Utbildning för nyanlända – mottagande och skolgång, available at: http://www.regeringen.se/contentassets/493eacd6499d4701855e4bcfd0c5dfcd/utbildning-for-nyanlanda-elever---mottagande-och-skolgang-prop.-20141545 (accessed 5 January 2016)
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