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This paper analyzes how superintendents, school board members and principals translate what happens when school reforms meet the local levels of implementation in Norway. The underlying theoretical premise is that contemporary reforms mirror two seemingly incompatible reform strategies, respectively, external control and professional commitment. The analysis, based on a review of findings from a Nordic research project, reveal that school boards and superintendents employ elements of both control and professional trust when they interact with school principals, and superintendents mainly act as mediators. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
This article reports an empirical reconstruction of a successful ten-year multi-level and district-led school regional developmental turnaround process (2003-2012) in Finland. Successful development was identified using PISA data. The reconstruction is based on policy documents and interviews with principals, superintendents, and district leaders. Results show that PISA 2003 shook the region while previous national policies provided a mediating frame for later development initiatives supporting a shared process. Features of the multi-level and multi-professional top-down and bottom-up process were: clear ambitions and goal-setting, commitment, care, and coherent, systematic development-driven initiatives. The study was based on non-affirmative education theory.
The purpose of this study is to analyze superintendents’ perceptions of their work performance. Here leadership is understood as a relational phenomenon in the intersection between loyalty, solidarity, faithfulness and authenticity. The findings indicate that superintendents know they do a good job when 1) they receive feedback from other stakeholders; 2) the education board is kept calm and safe; 3) they see positive developments in their schools; 4) they feel an inner confirmation; and above all, 5) the results improve. In summary the role of a superintendent resembles a spider holding a organizational web together.
This article reports on a study within the field of school management and performance. We analyse texts produced by Swedish principals participating in a professional training course. The research question focuses on how the assessment culture of school leadership is articulated with regard to both assessment practices and outcome discourses. The findings reveal a multi-faceted picture of principals’ interaction with, meaning-making of, and value attached to, educational outcomes. We identify four facets of the assessment culture of school leadership: the narrative, the archive, the number, and the demand. In addition, the data reveals two discourses of outcomes related to different objectives of education: the performance discourse and the care discourse.
This article focuses on challenges principals and lead teachers meet in diverse schools in Iceland. The study was conducted in nine schools at three school levels that have been successful in implementing social justice and in creating inclusive learning spaces. The framework of path-goal theory and transactional and transformational leadership guided the study. All the principals and lead teachers had a vision of pupil well-being and achievement. The findings show that all the principals and lead teachers were primarily participative in their leadership style. However, the leaders who were identified as being most proactive appeared to be more directive in style.
Nøkkelord: Leadership, diversity, immigrant students, immigrant pupils
This article examines and compare principal training programs in Sweden and Norway, the two Nordic countries with national leadership programs for already active school leaders. To investigate the knowledge base and design of the programs we draw on two research-derived tools about successful professional learning programs for school leaders. Based on the examinations, we suggest that the programs reflect international research both in terms of content and process factors. In addition, we identify topics and issues, such as balancing democratic participation with managerial decision-making, which can be characterized as making up a Nordic profile.