01 SES 17 A, Leadership Development and Principalship
How to provide a high quality principal education in order to support education on all levels, has been a focal discussion, especially across the Nordic countries. The world around us is changing rapidly, which also challenges schools to adapt to their new operational environment (Kanervio, 2007; Harju-Luukkainen et al.2014). Principals have an overall responsibility for school functions and development (Hänninen, 2009) and as the global context of schools become more competitive, complex and challenging to improve, the schools principals must be more aware of their change efforts (Jacobsson, 2017) as they are seen as pedagogical leaders. In schools, pedagogical leadership has been defined to include all the actions taken to enhance the implementation of the curriculum. Pedagogical leadership is broader than the terms instructional leadership or curriculum leadership, which are used in Anglo-American countries (Ahonen, 2008). Pedagogical leadership is seen as a pedagogical and administrative entity (Pulkkinen, 2013) and leadership as a resource (Alava et al., 2012). In this study, we conduct a content analysis and compare course contents offered at three different universities in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Closer defined, we analyze what type of education is offered in these universities for principals and how they are prepared for new operational environments. Despite differences in both legislative as well as local contexts under which the programs operate, we were able to find both similarities as well as differences in the course offerings. In the beginning of the 21th century OECD started a project The definition and selection of key competences -The 21th Century Skills -which created a international discussion about the valuable competencies the schools must offer the students. The pedagogical leadership can also be considered in relation to these competencies. The OECD (2013) emphasizes, among other things, that the educational leadership of the future needs to contain creativity in order to develop an innovative learning environment that can promote the skills that are central to children, youth and adults in the 21st century. They also mark that a distributed leadership is important to improve in the organization, Aas och Törnsen (2016) points out that there is a stronger focus on content than process in school leader training in the nordic region.
Studies of this type might describe for example the current state of teachers different work in schools or patterns of activity resulting from group work in the classroom. In this study we intend to describe the type of education that is offered from the universities for the principals in Finland, Norway and Finland. According to Morgan, Campell, Crouch, Pedersen and Whitley (2010), international comparison can help us to understand the particular unit. Comparison can also help us to reach an understanding of different processes that can be rich and complex. In the study we used content analysis to identify the key factors from each educational program with intention to identify similarities and differences between them (Williams, 2007) before we took the first step to compare the educational programs. A content analysis examines patterns and structures from textual data. It gives us data that is worth pay attention to, involves the upcoming categories, and give the possibility to aggregate the categories into perceptual constructs in order to grasp the meaning (Gray & Densten, 1998). Content analysis is according to Leedy and Ormod (2001) a systematic and also detailed examination for the purpose to identifying patterns, themes or biases. The work is going to start with inital searches to get key factors of the 1) mission statement and 2) objectives. After that we intend to share the identified material and discuss it together. This activity is followed by creating tables to to classify each university´s program to find characteristics and describe their differences. In the next step, the curricula is analyzed with help from the content analyses and different themes are going to be categorized under main categories.
The three principal education programs represent three different countries with different cultural needs and demands. We expect to find more differences between the education and also similarities. Initial results indicate that the principals education program have a strong focus on leadership and that there also is a intention to apply theory in practice. It will be important to examine what expectations and requirements exist on the individual principal in relation to the content of the education.
Ahonen, H. (2008). Rehtoreiden kertoma johtajuus ja johtamisidentiteetti [Leadership and managerial identity described by principals] (Doctoral dissertation). Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research. (Pub. no. 352). Jyväskylä, Finland: University of Jyväskylä. Alava, J., Halttunen, L., & Risku, M. (2012, May). Changing school management: Status review. Retrieved from http://www.oph.fi/download/146781_Changing_school_management.pdf Aas, M. & Törnsen, M. (2016). Examining Norwegian and Swedish leadership training programs in the light of international research. Nordic Studies in Education, 35(2), 173-187. doi: http//dx.doi.org/10-18261/issn. 1891-5949-2016-02-07. Gracy , J.H., & Densten, I.L.(1998). Integrating quantitative and qualitative analysis using latent and manifest variables. Quality and Quantity, 32, 419-431. Harju-Luukkainen, H., Vettenranta, J., Kanvervio, P. & Pulkkinen, S. (2014). Principals’ Perceptions for Finnish- and Swedish-Language Schools in Finland: An Analysis of School-Level Indices From Programme for International Student Assessment 2009. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 13: 334-351. Hänninen, R. (2009). Hyvän elementit ammatillisen koulutuksen johtajuudessa ja rehtorin työssä [Elements of good in VET leadership and in principal’s work]. (Doctoral dissertation). Keuruu, Finland: Otavan kirjapaino. Jacobsson, K. (2017). Processer och motorer i lokalt skolförbättringsarbete. Diss. Karlstad : Karlstads universitet, 2017. Karlstad. Kanervio, P. (2007). Crisis and renewal in one Finnish private school (Doctoral dissertation). Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research. (Pub. no. 323). Jyväskylä, Finland: University of Jyväskylä. Leeady,P., & Ormrod,J. (2001). Practical research: Planning and design (7th ed). Upper Saddle River.NJ, Thousand Oaks: Merill Prentice Hall, SAGE Publications. Morgan, G., Campbell, J., Crouch, C., Pedersen, O., & Whitley, R.(2010). Introduction. In M. Glenn (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of comparative institutional analysis (pp. 1-11). Oxford: Oxford OUP. OECD (2013). Leadership for 21st century learning. Educational research and innovation. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264205406-en Pulkkinen, S. (2013). Liikunnanopettaja osana työyhteisöä [PE teacher as part of the work community]. In T. Jaakkola, J. Liukkonen, & A. Sääkslahti (Eds.), Liikuntapedagogiikka (pp. 602–619). Jyväskylä, Finland: PS-Kustannus. Williams, C. (2007). Research methods. Journal of Business and Economic Research, 5 (3), 65-71.
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