‘Dialogue’ for school improvement?

In this article we present and discuss a method used during 2000 by Myndigheten för skolutveckling [the Swedish National Agency of Education] called “Dialogue for School Improvement”. Dialogues were initiated by the Agency to be implemented between representatives from the Agency and from the municipalities. We analyse three kinds of data: official documents from the Agency; the municipalities’ internal evaluations: interim reports and final reports and finally interviews with people involved in the dialogues. We had three questions in mind:

(i) Why use dialogue as a way to handle school improvement?

(ii) How can a dialogue be described?

(i) How can the dialogue be understood in terms of a policy instrument and as a disciplinary practice?

Briefly summarised, the dialogue method can be described as a complex policy instrument with disciplinary techniques concentrating on agreement, negotiation and networking while also entailing techniques related to power and money.

Keywords: Governance, School improvement, Dialogue, National Agency, Municipalities