04 SES 11 B, Leadership and Inclusive Education I
Parallel Paper Session
This paper builds on a three-year research project (2010-2012) with a focus on teachers’ leadership in relation to four different pedagogical practices. Nine teachers and one researcher have met to talk about teachers’ leadership, in an activity specially created for the task, a research circle called “forskningsverkstaden”. The research circle has been run based on the implications of action research. The aim is to follow the teachers’ dialogues of leadership and to document what happens to their view of leadership within the circle. How do the participants reflect on their class room life and the mission to create inclusive education and environments, over time?
Swedish research shows that research circles can lead to the participants changing their views, developing knowledge, creating the conditions for changes in praxis, and giving support for taking action (Andersson 2007; Enö 2005; Siljehag 2007; Wingård 1998). Previous research circles have not focused on teachers’ leadership, which this study aims to bring to light, based on the following research questions:
How do teachers reflect on their pedagogical leadership? What happens to their ideas when they are given the opportunity to take part in this research project?
During 2009-2011, the Swedish school system underwent a great process of reform and change, where State control of schools has increased in the form of more frequent inspections, earlier following-up of pupil achievement. We notice more weight being given to knowledge and specific learning outcomes in the teaching curriculums for pre, primary and secondary schools (Lpfö98/2010, Lgr11, Lgrs11). The new policy documents provide consequences for how teachers should deal with their pedagogical mission. This change goes hand in hand with the adaptation of Swedish schools to Europe’s common education policy (Sjölund 2009). It is during this period this research project was conducted. Therefore, this paper can also make contributions in an international perspective.
Earlier research studies shows that teachers´ strategies as methods of instruction, curricular selection, organizational approaches and the adaption of the needs of the children, group dynamics and children´s abilities related to socio-economic and socio-cultural background are important aspects for children’s learning in (pre)schools (Fries & Cohran-Smith 2006). It is not enough to focus on teachers’ behavior and techniques to reflect the complexity of learning and classroom life. Research should also include teachers’ opinions, assumptions and knowledge (Jones & Jones 2004). Assumptions and opinions can be seen as represent powerful but unconscious frameworks that teachers carry into their meetings with children. Research shows that teachers’ opinions on children’s actions are important for how teachers act (Konner 1990; Allison & Berry 1996).
This study uses activity theory to explain the relations between individuals, the environments and activities (Engeström 1997; 1999; 2001). In the study, the conversations can be seen as an activity where different teachers take part. Over time teachers’ view of the need and motivation for pedagogical leadership can change.
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