01 SES 11 B, Lessons for Leaders of Professional Learning in Further Education
Learning and Development are considered to be an integral and central part of school - however, this does not only refer to students’ and teachers’ (professional) growth, the qualification of school principals is also coming to the fore in view of social transformation processes and the resulting (new) demands on schools. Apart from activities in the field of teaching, pedagogical work, management and leadership actions, school principals also have a central role in the context of school development (Prasse, 2012; Brauckmann, 2014; Klein & Tulowitzki, 2020). Although the relevance of further training of school principals is clearly evident, their general qualification and further training in Germany resembles a "patchwork quilt" (Klein & Tulowitzki, 2020, p. 265). Several problems become apparent in this regard: On the one hand, the provision of continuing education takes place in a variety of forms and by different organizations (including those outside of schools); on the other hand, these continuing education offerings are usually not linked to one another or empirically verified with regard to their impact (ibid.). And even though there have been many theoretical and empirical attempts to specify, at what time, where and how professional learning opportunities are most beneficial for the attendees (e. g. Lipowsky & Rzejak, 2017), the persons who carry out these trainings seem to be a blind spot so far. Since this group of people can include all persons who are actively involved in the professional development and professionalization of teachers or school principals (European Commission, 2013), one of the difficulties lies in the heterogeneity of further education trainers in the school context (Lünenberg, 2010), who can differ immensely in terms of their education, professional background, and professional attitudes. This raises questions about the influence of the personal and professional characteristics of further education trainers on the impact of trainings, since the influence of the attributes of the training program as well as of the participants have already been demonstrated (Huber, 2011). Since this group of people has received little empirical attention so far, this paper would like to address this exact issue and explore what expectations school principals themselves have of their further educators.
Therefore, the aim of this article is to provide a glimpse into the requirements of further education trainers from the perspective of school principals and to elaborate on their characteristics and attributes. The focus is on empirical interview data with school principals, which show what demands are placed on this group of people. As such, our guiding research question is relatively straight-forward: What are the requirements of school principals for further education trainers in the school context in terms of their characteristics, professional background and attitudes?
The analyses are based on 15 expert interviews with school principals (n = 3 female) in secondary schools in Germany, that were carried out by following an interview script. 10 interviews took place in form of individual interviews in the offices of the respective school principals directly in their schools. Due to contact restrictions and associated school closures as a result of the corona pandemic in the spring of 2020, the rest of the interviews were carried out via videotelephony (n = 3) or telephone call (n = 2). The duration of the interviews varied between 25 and 60 minutes, with the average interview lasting approximately 35 minutes. Since the expert interviews were part of two different overarching research projects, one on parental counseling in schools and one on school development against the backdrop of digitalization, desired content and framework conditions of further trainings on these very topics were addressed. In addition, school principals were asked about characteristics, professional background, and professional attitudes they would like to see in-service further education trainers have. Directly after the interviews, interview notes were prepared in the sense of a postscript, in which the framework conditions and any special features of the interview were recorded. Following Bogner et al. (2014), the expert interviews were recorded in mp3 format (audio only) and subsequently transcribed using MAXQDA (version 20.2.2), which enabled a synchronous linking of audio and transcribed files. The interviews were then analyzed using qualitative content analysis (Kuckartz, 2018), based on categories, which were developed inductively and deductively.
Within the framework of the qualitative content analysis initial results on requirements for further educators could be found: In terms of characteristics, it became apparent that the profession of further education trainers seems to play a central role. The school principals would like further trainings to be led not by people who work as teachers themselves, but by a person who is familiar with school and related topics. The trainers should thus have a different professional background, but still have a proximity to school in terms of content. With regard to the tasks and activities of further educators, the following expectations were expressed: on the one hand, the previous experience and needs of the participants should be addressed individually, on the other hand, support in everyday school life was desired. Further educators should be able to evaluate current conditions and teaching situations and provide appropriate suggestions for support and improvement. Considering that this person is not supposed to be a teacher, however, particular challenges for further education trainers become apparent at this point, including questions about reconciling expectations. The results obtained here will be critically discussed in this paper with reference to the theoretical background outlined and previous empirical findings on further education trainers in the school context. For this purpose, the analyses will be completed in a next step and, in addition, the results obtained will be specifically compared with international studies in order to broaden the perspective beyond Germany. Although previous analyses have not revealed any differences in expectations depending on the training topics (parent counseling and school development and digitization) or the interviews being held before or during/after the global pandemic, this will also be examined in more detail. With regard to the further analysis, we expect comprehensive and reliable findings by ECER 2021.
Bogner, A., Littig, B., & Menz, W. (2014). Interviews mit Experten. Springer. Brauckmann, S. (2014). Ergebnisbericht im Rahmen des BMBF Forschungsschwerpunkts „Steuerung im Bildungssystem" (SteBis) geforderten Forschungsprojekts „Schulleitungshandeln zwischen erweiterten Rechten und Pflichten (SHaRP)". DIPF. European Commission (2013). Supporting Teacher Educators for better learning outcomes. European Commission – Education and Training. Huber, S. G. (2011). Wirksamkeit der Führungskräfteentwicklung. In M. Göhlich, S.M. Weber, C. Schiersmann, & A. Schröer (Eds.), Organisation und Führung: Beiträge der Kommission Organisationspädagogik (p. 277-288). VS. https://doi.org/10.10071978-3-531-93298-9 24 Klein, E. D., & Tulowitzki, P. (2020). Die Fortbildung von Schulleiter*innen in Forschung und Praxis- ein Systematisierungsversuch. Die Deutsche Schule, 3(2020), 257-276. Kuckartz, U. (2018). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Methoden, Praxis, Computerunterstützung (4th edition). Beltz. Lipowsky, F., & Rzejak, D. (2017). Fortbildungen für Lehrkräfte wirksam gestalten. Erfolgsverprechende Wege und Konzepte aus Sicht der empirischen Bildungsforschung. Bildung und Erziehung, 70(4), 379-399. Lunenberg, M. (2010). Characteristics, Scholarship and Research of Teacher Educators. In E. Baker, B. McGaw, & P. Peterson (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education (3rd edition) (pp. 676–680). Elsevier. Prasse, D. (2012). Bedingungen innovativen Handelns in Schulen. Funktion und Interaktion von Innovationsbereitschaft, Innovationsklima und Akteursnetzwerken am Beispiel der IKT-Integration an Schulen. Waxmann.
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