26 SES 07 B, Educational Leaders Using What They Have Learned, Leading Teachers And Impacting Global Citizenship Education
The point of departure is, that due to the massive and increasing trust in educational leaders as an important, if not the decisive, contributor to a successful achievement of results for schools, there is a concurrent focus on preparing educational leaders on this responsible task.
The aim of the project is to investigate the relationship between these two topics. How do school leaders use, or perceive they use, a formal education in school leadership?
The project is, thus, part of a range of interconnected issues, which sometimes are perceived as relatively unambiguous, but after only a sporadic scrutiny it might be obvious that this is not necessary the case. These issues are 1) perceptions of educational leadership, 2) perceptions of professionalism and professionalization and 3) leadership education and preparation.
The opening statements emphasizing the causal relations between leadership efforts and students result are for instance uttered by Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom (2004) and Robinson (2011). However, these claims are contested and debated from other and less causal positions, stating the multifaceted and hard predicable aspects of leadership practice (Gunter, 2016; Møller, 2016). The field of school leadership is far from a definite theoretical entity. Various approaches exist and competing paradigms are in use for understanding and explaining school leadership. For instance Møller (2016) sums up with four lines of research: (A) the abovementioned goal rational approach with a focus on ‘what works’ and ‘best practice’, (B) interpretive and constructivist studies with a focus on understanding leaders’ work and shaping of identities, (C) critical studies that pay attention to conflicting interests and power structures influencing education and school leadership. These studies are often inspired by Bourdieu (e.g. Gunter, 2016; Eacott, 2011), and finally (D) postmodern approaches with a focus on analyzing and deconstructing dominating discourses.
Similarly, the field of professions and professionalization are characterized by various views. There are many proponents of the opinion that school leadership needs to be professionalized, but will they turn out to be ‘leaders of the profession’ or ‘professional leaders’ (Evett, 2011; Author, forthcoming)?
Also the field of school leadership education and preparation shows some variations. There might be differences inside and between countries. Do they need a master’s degree, or do shorter courses suffice? Should the training be academic, practical, or both? And in what sort of combination? Which organizations should be allowed to offer training, and which should not? Accounts and analyses are made for many countries in several handbooks (e.g. Lumby, Crow & Pashiardis, 2008; Young, Crow, Murphy & Ogawa, 2009). It is not just a matter of tensions between – or balancing – ‘theory’ and ‘practice’, but rather a deeper understanding of the use of experiential and academic knowledge and learning. Probably all combinations of these different approaches and perceptions aims pursues to establish the optimal conditions for the practice of school leadership. But how can one know how the efforts result in leaders knowledge and behavior? This leads to the main question:
How do school leaders at various levels use their formal school leadership education?
Specific theoretical methodological challenges are connected to this project. How does one know the actual effect of and education and are able to separate knowledge obtained from formal education from knowledge obtained from experiences from other activities? And on the other hand, does one where the knowledge one posses actually stems from? There may be a relation to other kind of inspirations and experiences. For instance – among other factors – how long time one has been leader before the education, and how long time one has been teacher before obtaining leadership functions and leadership education. It is not the attempt to measure some kind of usefulness by using indicators, but to study and interpret leaders perceptions of leadership, perceptions of their leadership practice, and perceptions of their leadership identity (Lumby, J. & English, F., 2009; Crow, G., Day, C., & Møller, J., 2017; March, 1984; Gronn, 2007). As an attempt to establish some mirrors to the leaders narratives it is the aim to compare two different types of education, the one is a master located in universities and the other is a diploma located in university colleges. The methods used to gather empirical material is through interviews to collect leaders narratives concerning their practice and identity formation, in light of their education. As an attempt to avoid unintentional bias, the interviewed may represent various kinds of leaders, male, female; from different types of schools etc. The aim is not to establish causal relations. These narratives are also compared with documentary analyses of expectations from external stakeholders, as for instance planners and politicians.
This study may help filling a gap of practical as well as academic interests. Politicians often have specific wishes and expectations concerning school leaders practice and subsequently about the preparation of that practice. But knowledge about how these expectations are met may perhaps challenge our conceptions of leadership preparation. So we may gain knowledge about education, and knowledge about development of education. And maybe, most important, one size necessarily does not fit all.
Author (forthcoming) Leaders of the profession and professional leaders. School leaders making sense of themselves and their jobs. To be published in International Journal of Leadership in Education Cranston, N. (2013). School leaders leading: Professional responsibility not accountability as the key focus. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 41(2), 129–142. Crow, G., Day, C., & Møller, J. (2017). Framing research on school principals’ identities. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 20(3), 265-277. Eacott, S. (2011). Preparing “educational” leaders in managerialist times: An Australian story. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 43(1). Evetts, J. (2011). A new professionalism? Challenges and opportunities. Current Sociology, 59(49), 406–422. Gronn, Peter (2007), Interviewing leaders: penetrating the romance I: Briggs, Ann R. J. and Coleman, Marianne, Research Methods in Educational Leadership and Management. London. SAGE Publications. Gunter, H. & Ribbins, P. (2003). The Field of Educational Leadership: Studying Maps and Mapping Studies. British Journal of Educational Studies, 51(3), 254-281. Leithwood, K., Louis K. S., Anderson, S., & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). How leadership influences student learning: A review of research for the Learning from Leadership Project. New York: The Wallace Foundation. Lumby, J., Crow, G.M. & Pashiardis, P. (eds.) (2008). International Handbook on the Preparation and Development of School Leaders. New York: Routledge. Lumby, J. & English, F. (2009). From simplicism to complexity in leadership identity and preparation: exploring the lineage and dark secrets. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 12(2), 98-114. March, J. G. (1984). How we talk and how we act: Administrative theory and administrative life. In T. Sergiovanni & E. J. Carbally (Eds.), Leadership and organizational cultures. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Møller J. (2016). Kvalifisering som skoleleder i en norsk kontekst: Et historisk tilbakeblikk og perspektiver på utdanning av skoleledere. [Qualification as school leader in a Norwegian context]. Acta Didactica Norge, 10 (4), 7–26. Young, M., Crow, G., Murphy, J. & Ogawa, R. (red.) (2009). Research on the Education of School Leaders. New York: Routledge.
Search the ECER Programme
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.