26 SES 12 C, Theories, Evidence-Based Knowledge and Principals' Practice
Teaching and learning is the prime mission of schooling and the main object for principals’ leadership. Since 1946 this has been clearly written in different policy documents in Sweden (Prop., 1988/89:4, 1990/91:18; SOU, 1948:27, 1955:31, 1961:30, 1964:53, 1974:53). However, the Swedish the Government, is not satisfied with the progress of children’s knowledge development in Swedish schools and different evaluations have criticized principals’ pedagogical leadership for not being able to enhance focus on knowledge improvement in teaching and learning (Skolinspektionen, 2010, 2012). Insufficient results are not a unique Swedish phenomenon. Focusing on enhancing students’ performances is a concern of most countries and different national and local policy documents address the problem. One can interpret the new Educational Act (SFS, 2010:800) as an attempt by the state to improve the orientation and effectiveness of teaching in schools. It states that education should be based on science and established or validated experience, a direction inspired by the higher education community. A complementary interpretation is that it can be seen as an attempt to professionalize the teaching profession. However, this is a new direction in compulsory education and this national policy shall now be implemented among teachers and principals in the local school. My interest in this field is linked to a Swedish study on National policy and local implementation and one of the surveys in the project. Principals were asked to rate the importance of a total of nine work tasks, and one of the issues was how they rank the importance of that their teachers work is based on scientific grounds. This raises questions of how principals perceive the meaning of ascientific base and how they perceive if their leadership could be influenced by this statement in the new Educational Act. The aim in this study is to illuminate and discuss principals’ perception of ‘education on a scientific base’ in school. Two research questions have emerged: How do principals interpret the concept; a scientific base in education? and How do they understand the consequences for their leadership of this new national policy? Leadership for enhancing learning and teaching has been studied from a variety of perspectives (Alig -Mielcarec, 2003; Blase & Blase, 1999; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Millward & Timperley, 2010; Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008). However, no research has been found explicitly about how principals and teachers relate to a scientific base in their work.
Alig -Mielcarec, J. M. (2003). A model of school success: Instructional leadership, academic press, and student achievement (Diss.): The Ohio State University. Blase, J., & Blase, J. (1999). Effective instructional leadership: Teachers' perspectives on how principals promote teaching and learning in schools. Journal of Educational Administration, 38(1). doi: 10.1108/09578230010320082 Gu, Q., & Johansson, O. (2012). Sustaining school performance: school contexts matter. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 1-26. doi: 10.1080/13603124.2012.732242 Leithwood, K., & Jantzi, D. (2005). A Review of Transformational School Leadership Research 1996-2005. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 4(3), 177-199. Marks, H. M., & Printy, S. M. (2003). Principal Leadership and School Performance: An Integration of Transformational and Instructional Leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 39(3), 370-397. doi: 10.1177/0013161x03253412 Millward, P., & Timperley, H. (2010). Organizational learning facilitated by instructional leadership, tight coupling and boundary spanning practices. Journal of Educational Change, 11(2), 139-155. doi: 10.1007/s10833-009-9120-3 Prop. (1988/89:4). Om skolans utveckling och styrning. [About School's Development and Government] Stockholm: Regeringen Prop. (1990/91:18). Om ansvaret för skolan. [About the Responsibility for School] Stockholm: Regeringen Robinson, V., Lloyd, C., & Rowe, K. (2008). The Impact of Leadership on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Differential Effects of Leadership Types. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(5), 635-674. doi: 10.1177/0013161x08321509 SFS. (2010:800). Skollag. [The Educational Act] Skolinspektionen. (2010). Rektors ledarskap. [The Principals' Leadership] Stockholm: Skolinspektionen. Skolinspektionen. (2012). Rektors ledarskap. [The Principals' Leadership]. Stockholm: Skolinspektionen. SOU. (1948:27). 1946 års skolkommissions betänkande med förslag till riktlinjer för det svenska skolväsendets utveckling. [Report from the 1946 School-commission with Proposed Guidelines for Development of the Swedish School System]Stockholm: Ecklesiastikdepartementet.
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