26 SES 04 B, Principal Programs and Leadership Development
From both a global and a national perspective there is an ongoing competition between countries and between schools in regards of students´ outcomes. The school market in Sweden has changed over recent years; today schools are run both by municipalities and by corporations and private interests. To raise standards there are several reforms and also new education programs both for teachers and principals. Teachers are said to have the strongest impact on students outcomes and principals the second strongest. (Day & Leithwood, 2007) This paper focuses on one of the reforms, the mandatory National Principal Program, at advanced academic level, running since 2009.
This paper explores the perceived impact of the National Principal Program when it comes to changes in acting as leaders. Furthermore, this paper studies the importance of peer interaction in developing leadership skills among the participating principals.
As head of the school, the principal´s primary task is to lead the organization, the staff and the teacher´ and student´s learning which requires a specific set of qualifications. Besides qualification good education should also include socialization and subjectification. (Biesta, 2009) It is important to ask the question of aims and ends of education and when it comes to education of principals it is about more than the aims and ends of achieving knowledge in some academic fields.
From a Swedish perspective the Swedish school market today is diverse and led by a diverse group of principals. (Skolverket, 2011). They are assembled into a mandatory education - some of them without an academic background for studies at advanced level. (Cliffordson, 2009). This is a challenge for the educators as well as the participating principals. Hughes et. al. (2002) has tried to structure person´s prerequisites for leadership skills into a five factor model – building blocks of skills. (p. 173) At the bottom are three blocks which are more difficult to make an impact on or change- intelligence; personality, traits and preferences; values, interests, and motives/goals. At the second level the blocks are knowledge and experience and at the top level competences and skills. The participants are a diverse group in all aspects of the blocks and levels both at the beginning and the end of the National Principal Program - even if they reach the goals in the curriculum and pass their exam. There is no guarantee that all of them will be able to transfer their knowledge into practice and effect on student´s outcomes. From knowledge to learning and into changed practice, when it comes to leadership and development of leadership skills, is hard work and lots of reflections and reconsiderations to be done. Furthermore leadership is not just determined by the leader it is also depending on whom you lead and in what situation. (Hughes et. al. 2002)
Biesta, G. (2009). Good education in an age of measurement: on the need to reconnect with the question of purpose in education. Education, Assessment Evaluation and Accountability 21:33-34. Cliffordson, C. (2009). Från elituniversitet till masshögskola – Utbildningsexplosionen och individuella förutsättningar för högre utbildning. In Pedagogik som examensämne 100 år Wikander, L. et. al., s. 143-164. Uppsala: Universitetstryckeriet. Day, C. & Leithwood, K. (2007) Successful Principal Leadership in Times of Change. Dordrecht: Springer. Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C. & Curphy,G. J.(2002). Leadership Enhancing The Lesson Of Experience. 4th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill/ Irwing. Skolverket (2011). Skolverkets lägesbedömning. Stockholm: Fritzes.
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