04 SES 11 B, Leadership and Inclusive Education I
Parallel Paper Session
Head teachers´ responsibilities for students’ achievements and schools´ possibilities to reach nationally set goals are more pronounced in Sweden since the new school law was enforced in July 2011 (2010:800). Research shows that leaders have a significant effect on students´ learning as well as on the quality of the school organization (Leithwood et al, 2008). Research also shows that educational leaders are of significance for schools in order to become more inclusive (e.g. McLeskey and Waldron, 2000). Some scholars combine the two perspectives and discuss whether inclusive schools can be successful or not as well as for whom schools are most effective (Slee and Weiner, 2001, Farrel et al, 2007). Leo and Barton (2006) suggest that in order to investigate successful inclusive schools, it becomes important to study what kind of leadership (e.g. moral, curriculum, distributed) that is practiced and required. To our knowledge, there are few studies investigating, head teachers´ views concerning their leadership and what strategies they use in order to achieve high academic goal attainment andinclusive schools, (c.f. Theoharis, 2010, for an American example). The overall aim of this study is to investigate what strategies five head teachers in a Swedish municipality use in order for their schools to be both inclusive and effective. By studying head teachers´ leadership, work and strategies in a certain context - the study is part of a larger empirical research project (see also Lindqvist et al, 2011, Lindqvist and Nilholm 2011, Lindqvist, manuscript)- the empirical data can contribute to our understanding of head teachers´ role in relation to inclusive practices. Sweden is also an interesting case since the government recently, through the school law, proclaimed that head teachers should have an extended responsibility for the outcomes of the students.
Our theoretical point of departure is a socio-cultural perspective (Säljö, 2000). This implies that school practices will appear differently depending on place and time, i.e. schooling will have specific spatiotemporal characteristics, situated in particular socio-cultural settings (Slee, 2006). Along this line of reasoning, Leithwood and Riehl (2003) suggest that leadership can take different forms in different context. Thus, leadership functions can be carried out in many different ways, depending on the individual leader, the context, and the nature of the goals being pursued. This study also takes its stance from a critical-pragmatic approach, which emphasizes cultures´ openness towards critical changes. It can be used to study complex phenomena and show different aspects of these phenomena (Cherryholmes, 1988).
Skrtic (1991) means that “The successful school in the postindustrial era will be one that achieves excellence and equity simultaneously – indeed, one that recognizes equity as the way to excellence.” (p. 233). In this study, we will explore Skrtic´s assumption and then, through the analyses, we will study how and through which strategies head teachers might be able to reach “excellence through equity” (i.e. in our study, schools with relatively high achievements directed by head teachers indicating some inclusive values).
Cherryolmes, C.H.( 1988) Power and Critisism. Poststructural Investigations in Education. New York: Teacher College Press. Farrel, P., Dyson, A., Polat, F., Hutcheson, G. and Gallannaugh, F. (2007) Inclusion and achievements in mainstream schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 22 no. 2, pp. 131-145. Leithwood, K.A., and Riehl, C. (2003) What we know about successful school leadership. Philadelphia. PA: Laboratory for Student Success, Temple University. Leithwood, K.A., Harris, A. and Hopkins, D. (2008) Seven strong claims about successful school leadership. School Leadership and Management, 28 no. 1, pp. 27-42 Leo, E., and Barton, L. (2006) Inclusion, diversity and leadership: Perspective, possibilities and contradictions. Educational Management and Leadership 34 no. 2, pp.167-180. Lindqvist, G. (manuscript) SENCOs – vanguards or in vain? Lindqvist, G., Nilholm, C., Almqvist, L. and Wetso, G-M. (2011) Different agendas? The views of different occupational groups on special needs education. European Journal of Special Needs Education 26 no 2, pp.143-157 Lindqvist, G., and Nilholm, C. (2011) Making schools inclusive? International Journal of Inclusive Education.1-16, iFirst Article McLeskey, J., and Waldron, N. (2000) Inclusive schools in action: Making differences ordinary. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Public Law (2010:800) Skollagen. [Education act] Stockholm: Swedish Codes of Statutes Skrtic, T. (1991) Behind special education. Denver: Love publishing Slee, R. (2006) Critical analyses of inclusive education policy: an international survey (Part 2). International Journal of Inclusive Education 10 pp. 293–294 Slee, R., and Weiner, G., (2001) Education Reform and Reconstruction as a Challenge to Research Genres: Reconsidering School Effectiveness Research and Inclusive Schooling. School Effectiveness and School Improvement 12 no.1, pp. 83-98 Säljö, R. (2000) Lärande i praktiken. Ett sociokulturellt perspektiv. Stockholm: Prisma Theoharis, G. (2010) Disrupting Injustice: Principals Narrate the Strategies They Use to Improve Their Schools and Advance Social Justice. The Teacher College Record.
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