01 SES 02 C, Leaders’ and Organisations’ Influence on CPD
Parallel Paper Session
In a rapidly changing and increasingly knowledge-dependent society, educational organizations – especially universities – must effectively produce high-quality services (education and research), to create educational change and be productive, and to respond to external accountability demands and societal needs. In improving the quality of educational organizations and their operations, it is essential to change individual working cultures, to become aware of prevailing power relations and discourses, and to break down barriers between different subject-matter groups (Hargreaves & Shirley, 2009; Sahlberg, 2010). At the same time, teachers need to adopt new professional roles and identity positions, and to cross the traditional professional boundaries of their work (Hökkä et al., 2010; Millward & Timperley, 2010). All this is challenging for teachers. Many scholars have shown that facing externally-imposed demands and suggestions regarding one’s work can be a threat to teachers’ well-being, satisfaction, and commitment at work (Ballet & Kelchtermans, 2008; Day & Kington, 2008); these threats are particularly severe when teachers have no real opportunities to influence their work, and no resources to transform their identities successfully (Vähäsantanen & Eteläpelto, 2011). All in all, one fundamental question seems to be how educational organizations can create collaborative and productive work practices, while initiating teachers’ identity transformations and maintaining their well-being.
All this implies a need for leadership which will focus on people, relationships, and learning at individual and organizational levels (Hökkä & Vähäsantanen, 2012; Moos, 2009; Townsend & MacBeath, 2011) as opposed to strong, strategy-oriented management. Bringing about sustainable individual and organizational transformation is a challenging task, and leaders will need effective methods and tools to enhance multilevel learning. Challenged by this, we have designed a programme which aims to promote the adoption of new, creative, and productive work practices, to increase teachers’ influence on their working conditions, and to transform teachers’ professional identities and roles (see Eteläpelto et al. 2011). All this has been addressed through multilevel interventions at individual and collective levels, at one university in Finland. The interventions include i) an identity training program, which aims to support identity transformation and the adoption of new work roles and identity positions at the individual level, through a variety of educational tools and methods, and ii) work conference, which aims to create a platform for learning and change at the community and organizational level through participatory and dialogical group work (see Kalliola & Mahlakaarto, 2011). We see these interventions as complementing each other, and as supporting both individual and social transformation. The programme further aims to train the leaders to use these methods and tools as part of their leadership activities.
In this paper, we shall first present the planned content of the entire programme. Secondly, we shall describe university teachers’ experiences of identity training programme so far, and the processes of individual transformation in the initial stage of the programme.
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