26 SES 04 B, Principal Programs and Leadership Development
Improvement of quality in the school system is high on the political agenda across Europe, and there is an increasing focus on the importance of school leadership. There is also a belief that education and development programs can improve leadership in schools, and many programs have been established as national initiatives in order to strengthen school leadership. Such national initiatives can be found in a number of European countries, for example, in the UK, in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. In recent studies (Møller & Schratz 2008, Huber 2010), various national programs for school leaders have been closely examined, especially in relation to both how they are organized and the political context surrounding these initiatives. It has been shown how national initiatives for leadership education are heavily dependent not only upon legacies from the past, but also dominant political ideas about schooling. Some international trends can also be noted, not least with respect to a growing emphasis on how leadership is developed through practice. Although the effects of such intiatives are difficult to prove, empirical studies when it comes to changes in school do exist (Bush et al. 2006; Bush 2009) that indicate that practice oriented programs are more effective. We therefore anticipate that various program designs are experienced differently by the participants.
The purpose of this paper is to further improve our understanding of national education programs for school leaders through a closer analysis of the quality of school leadership education from the perspective of the participants in relation to the program providers’ intentions. The background for this interest is the growing emphasis on programmed leadership education and development through national initiatives, but also the lack of agreement in empirical studies of the quality and effects of such programs (Mabey, 2012).
We explore the quality of school leadership education through a comparative study of the six study programs of national school leadership education across Norway, each organized by a higher education institution. In order to compare the six programs we ask the following research questions:
- What characterizes the program providers’ intentions regarding their study programs, and what ideas and practices are seen as central in the development of their programs?
- How do participants in the programs assess their studies with respect to quality and relevance, and what are the expectations of the participants regarding their participation?
Bush, T., Briggs, A. & Middlewood, D. (2006). The impact of school leadership developmen: evidence from the ”New visions” programme for early headship. Jorunal of In-service Education, 32, pp. 185-200. Bush, T. (2009). Leadership development and school improvement: contemporary issues in leadership development. Educational Review, 61, pp. 375-389. Huber, S.G. (2010). Preparing school leaders – international approaches in leadership development. In Huber, S.G. (ed.) School Leadership – International Perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer. 225-251. Mabey, C. (2012). Leadership Development in Organizations: Multiple Discourses and Diverse Practices. International Journal of Management Review. Møller, J. & Schratz, M. (2008). Leadership Development in Europe. In Crow, G., Lumby, J. & Pashiardis, P. (Eds) International Handbook on the Preparation and Development of School Leaders. Erlbaum Publishing Company.
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