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  • 1.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teachers' selection of content in an age of standard-based policy2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teachers’ selection of content in the age of standard-based policy2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    The nested systems of local curriculum innovation2016In: ECER 2016, Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers, Dublin, 22-26 August, 2016, 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In school systems around the world there is an increasing focus on students' academic achievement and performance and higher demands for school decision makers to gradually improve school results. In this respect Sweden is no exception. The last years you find a number of different national policy initiatives in line with these transnational policy trends: a new curriculum for the compulsory school (Lgr11) and the upper secondary school (Gy11), a new school law (SFS 2010:800), a reform for career services for teachers with the introduction of “first-teachers” in 2013 and the establishment of new authorities like the School Inspectorate in 2008. In turn, all these reforms have resulted in intensive school improvement work in Swedish municipalities.

    Curriculum innovation is a dynamic research field. During the last decades important empirical findings have emerged as well as theoretical models explaining and supporting successful school development and school leadership (cf Fullan, 2001; Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012; Hallinger, 2011). Recent research has also pointed out how strategies and aspects of different actors and levels in the school system interact. A current discussion concerns how school reforms and improvement efforts are used to increase student achievement, with special regard to significance and potential of the local and regional leading and management. Another question is how school improvements solutions on a more general basis is possible to roll out when research also argues for the need of versatile and context-specific school improvement efforts (Hopkins, Stringfield, Harris, Stoll & Mackay 2014).

    The aim with this paper is twofold. Firstly, the paper wants to contribute to and develop a deepened theoretical understanding of local school curriculum innovation. The local curriculum context is defined as an “open nested school system” with different sub-systems, e.g. the classroom, teacher work-units, school leadership teams, the local school authority etc. (Resnick, 2010). Although these systems are internally related, the curriculum actors in each system stand on its own logic and conditions (i.e. loosely coupled). Therefore you will find different arguments, perceptions and notions in the sub-systems and that they are nested in context-specific ways (Resnick 2010). Our primary hypothesis is that centrally initiated curriculum changes and improvement initiatives are unlikely to be successful, unless these actively engages all the sub-systems and re-couples the nested systems of the curriculum (Adolfsson & Håkansson, 2015).

    Secondly, the empirical aim is to explore how different curriculum actors in a medium-sized Swedish municipality understand their functions, interact and respond to central aspects in local curriculum work. By looking into and explaining relationships between the sub-systems – the local school authority, principals and teachers – important features and factors for organising robust school improvement processes can be identified. Of particular interest is the introduction of first-teachers in 2013. First-teachers are a new function in Swedish public and independent schools, engaged in school improvement and thus curriculum actors. Previous research has shown that first-teachers might strengthen the idea of distributed leadership in schools, but at the same time also challenge, to some extent, existing leadership relations and authority – primarily that of the principal (Alvunger, 2015). However, we know – so far – little of how this might impact the school organization and relationships between the sub-systems in school improvement. Our aim is guided by the following research questions:

    -        How do the curriculum actors understand and describe their functions in relation to each other in local curriculum work?

    -        What are perceived as primary challenges and needs among the curriculum actors? What strategies do they suggest and use to deal with these challenges and needs?

    -        How can the local curriculum work be explained and understood from the perspective of nested school systems?

    Methods and material (400)

    The study draws on material from two recently finished “ongoing evaluation” projects conducted in a medium-sized municipality (65,000 inhabitants) in the southeastern part of Sweden. As a way to support schools’ improvement work, researchers in the first project have studied processes and outcomes of nine schools’ development work over three years by collecting and analysing data from different levels of the local school system. The second project focused and analysed the implementation of the national reform for career services for teachers. Together the projects have resulted in a rich empirical material from various contexts in the local school organisation that enable a thorough analysis of the school improvement work on different levels (i.e.in different sub-systems).

    This paper is based on a “mixed-method” design (Cresswell, 2010). Along with Cresswell and Clark (2007) we argue that such a methodological research design is a way of preserving the complexity and deepening the perspective of the research questions being addressed while at the same time it is possible to obtain different but complementary data on the same phenomenon. In line with the theoretical points of departure and the general aim to elucidate patterns of actors’ understanding, interaction and responses on general aspects of improvement work, following methods and empirical data have been used: i) a content analysis of central policy documents ii) questionnaires and iii) semi-structured focus group interviews.

    As a first step central documents regarding the local school organisation, policy and vision, leading and management structure, evaluations, school improvement strategies were analysed. The purpose was to conduct a contextual analysis and to create a map of the organisation, central strategies and content of the improvement work in the municipality.

    During the project three different teacher surveys were conducted (n=250; n=160; n=157). In these online questionnaires teacher’s perceptions of central dimensions of the local improvement work was investigated. Another important purpose was to explore teachers’ notions of patterns of changes as a result of the improvement work.    

    Finally, as a way to deepen the understanding of the improvement work in the municipality semi-structured focus group interviews with representatives from the local school authority (8 interviews), principals (12 interviews), and first-teachers (14 interviews) were carried out. The main focus in these interviews was the experiences and notions of the schools’ improvement work.

    Expected outcomes/Results (300)

    The results of the study clearly show that the local school organisation consists of different nested sub-systems. Both similarities and differences in how the curriculum actors interact and respond to central aspects in curriculum work can be identified. There is a common view that the work should be based on teaching practices and collegial learning, where the themes “classroom leadership” and “language and concept development” have been agreed upon collegially (bottom-up). However, the sub-systems argue for different strategies and disagree on how to work with these themes. The development unit on local authority level has decided that specific resources and interventions are to be directed for peer observation and feed-back sessions between teachers (top-down). This limits the possibilities for principals to respond to the requests from the teachers who favour pedagogical dialogues for exchanging experiences and developing teaching. All in all, this presents challenges for the school improvement work. In this respect first-teachers as a new sub-system may create conditions for better communication between other sub-systems (e.g. subject teacher teams, work-units, principals) because they operate on different levels. However, there are almost no collaborative arenas or networks for communication within the first-teacher system. Furthermore, the introduction of first-teachers seem to present challenges for the principals who must improve their internal communication as a sub-system in order to be educational leaders and to on-ward engage first-teachers and teachers in school improvement work. The results support our hypothesis that centrally initiated curriculum innovation initiatives are unlikely to be successful, unless these actively engages all the sub-systems and re-couples the nested systems of the curriculum.

    References

    Adolfsson, C-H & Håkansson, J (2015). Building School Improvement Capacity and Learning Capital – A Swedish Case Study. Contribution to the ECER-conference in Budapest, September 2015.

    Alvunger, D. (2015.) Towards New Forms of Educational Leadership? – The Local Implementation of Förstelärare in Swedish Schools. Special issue: Educational Leadership in Transition. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 2015, 1: 30103, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/nstep.v1.30103

    Creswell J, & Plano Clark, V. (2007), Designing and conducting mixed methods, SAGE Publications, London.

    Cresswell, J.W. (2010). Mapping the developing landscape of mixed methods research. I Abbas Tashakkori & Charles Teddlie, red: Sage Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research, s 45-68. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications

    Fullan, Michael (2001). The new meaning of educational change. 3. ed. New York: Teachers College Press

    Fullan, M. (2006). Turnaround leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Hallinger, Philip (2011). Leadership for Learning: Lessons from 40 Years of Empirical Research. Journal of Educational Administration, v. 49 n. 2 p. 125-142.

    Hargreaves, Andy & Fullan, Michael (2012). Professional capital: transforming teaching in every school. New York: Routledge.

    Hopkins, D., Stringfield, S., Harris, A., Stoll, L. & Mackay, T (2014). School and system improvement: a narrative state-of-the-art review, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 25:2, 257-281.

    Resnick, Lauren B. (2010). Nested System for the Thinking Curriculum. Educational Researcher, vol. 39 No. 3  183-197.

  • 4.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    The nested systems of local school development: Understanding improved interaction and capacities in the different sub-systems of schools2017In: Improving Schools, ISSN 1365-4802, E-ISSN 1475-7583, Vol. 20, no 3, p. 195-208Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In school systems around the world, there is an increasing focus on students’ academic achievement. The challenge of how to improve schools is an important issue for all levels in the school system. However, a central question of both practical and theoretical relevance is how it is possible to understand why (or why not) school-development efforts are successful. The purpose of this article is to explore the ecology of local school development through the case of a medium-sized municipality in Sweden, based on empirical data from two follow-up research projects. The analytical framework draws from organisational theory and new institutional theory, where focus is directed towards how different sub-systems of the school organisation interact with and respond to aspects of development work and the implications for outcomes of school-development initiatives. Findings show that great investment of resources from the central level in the local school organisation necessarily does not lead to changes in teaching practice. School-development initiatives are unlikely to be successful unless they engage and re-couple the involved sub-systems. Finally, we discuss how the introduction of Expert Teachers as a new sub-system has the ability to work as a link between other sub-systems and to promote school development.

  • 5.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    The Selection of Content and Knowledge Conceptions in Teaching in an Era of Standards-based Policy Reforms2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    The Selection of Content and Knowledge Conceptions in Teaching in the era of standard based policy reforms2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Selection of Content and Knowledge Conceptions in Teaching in the era of standard based policy reforms

     

    Proposal information (research question, theoretical framework so on) (600 words) 

    This study is part of the project 'Understanding Curriculum Reforms - A Theory-Oriented Evaluation of the Swedish Curriculum Reform Lgr 11'.  In the last two decades transnational organizations and agreements have become increasingly important as driving forces in the making of curriculum. The international education policy movement towards so-called standards-based curricula has been characterized by top-down accountability and linear dissemination (Andersson-Levitt, 2008; Sivesind & Karseth, 2010). This also applies to the formation of Swedish curriculum policy discourses. The latest Swedish curriculum for compulsory School “Lgr11” can foremost be described in line with such a standards-based curriculum, where the objectives and standards, but also the content, are prescribed and put in the foreground for what students ought to do and know (Sundberg & Wahlström, 2012).

    Although these policies are transnational and nationally oriented, it is in the same time up to schools and teachers on the local level to interpret and enact the curriculum, in classrooms and in the interaction between teachers and students. This unarguably raises questions about the curriculum-in-use, i.e. how is teaching performed? The ‘what’ that is prescribed in the (trans-)national policy is one thing, but researchers rarely take notice of the fact that recontextualisation, selection, translation, relocation and refocus of content indeed occurs in the local school setting. Therefore, the overall aim of this paper is to explore how a standards-based oriented curriculum, Lgr 11, is enacted at the local school level.

    In a first step, the process of the selection of teaching content will be studied. A central question here is how and on what foundations the selection of teaching content is made when prescribed content and learning outcomes is given a central role in the curriculum structure? Secondly – which relates to the selection of content – we examine how the same curriculum is achieved in teaching and learning practices at classroom level in terms of knowledge content. What content seems to dominate the teaching in favour for another under a standard-based oriented curriculum like Lgr 11?

    To understand the conditions for teachers’ selection of content we bring theoretical inspiration from a “classical” framework of curriculum theory in terms of the “frame-factor theory” (Dahlöf, 1967; Lundgren, 1989). This theoretical perspective puts the relationship between teaching processes, outcomes and external (frame-) factors in focus. In other words, to understand processes and outcomes in the teaching practice you have to, from this theoretical perspective, analyse the frame-factors, for example time, equipment, the composition of the class and (of course) the current curriculum, that in different ways enable and limit these processes and outcomes.  When we in a next step examine the curriculum content in teaching we bring inspiration from Deng & Luke’s (2008) discussion about different knowledge classification schemes and conceptions. From this discussion we derived three conceptions of knowledge, in terms of an academic disciplinary knowledge conception; a practical knowledge conception and an experiential” knowledge conception. These knowledge conceptions will be used to identify and discuss different aspects of lesson content in the investigated teaching practice.    

    Methodology and method (400 words)

    With a classical curriculum theory framework, the present study focus on teaching and lesson content in terms of enacted and achieved curricula. In other words, and with Doyle’s (1990) conceptual framework, we are interesting in the relationship between the programmatic and classroom level of the curriculum. This in turn links us to classic classroom studies addressed by e.g.  Bellack, Kliebard et al.1966; Gustafsson 1977; Jackson 1968/1990; Lundgren 1981, but now against a backdrop of the ‘new’ scenario of transnational policy.

    The study is based on an extensive empirical material from six municipalities in Sweden and consists of three different sources. Firstly, semi-structured interviews with representatives from the local school authority, teachers, principals and students in grade 6 (12-13 years old) where the main focus has been their views on the impact of the curriculum for the compulsory school Lgr11 with particular attention on the organisation of teaching, the dominating content in teaching and the interaction between teacher and students and students and students. Secondly, documents related to teaching such as local pedagogical plans, lesson plans, tests, work sheets, material produced by students and so on have been analysed. Thirdly, 71 lessons of teaching in the social studies subjects Civics, History, Geography, Religion have been video-recorded, transcribed, coded and analysed from organisation of teaching, content and the interaction in the classroom. The study on teachers’ selection of content will mainly draw from interviews and documents in order to look at contextual factors, while the analysis of knowledge content in teaching generally is based on interviews with teachers and 71 video-recorded lessons.

    Conclusion (300 words)

    In the last section of the paper, we will discuss the empirical results in relation to our theoretical points of departure. Here we show how the Swedish curriculum in great extent is influenced by a standards-based tradition where both content and performance are put in the foreground. From a frame-factor theoretical perspective we then discuss the consequences on the possibilities for the teachers selecting content. Besides struggling with the crowding of content teachers are under constant pressure to hold on to a tight schedule in order for the different curriculum tasks to fit into an over-arching plan for the whole semester. The teachers have to make sure that they can assess knowledge and competences according to the knowledge requirements in the “time slots” reserved for each curriculum task in the subjects. Teachers indeed focus on central concepts deriving from academic disciplines foregrounded in the syllabuses, while they at the same time employ a strategy to patch subjects and their specific content together.

    The analysis of the video recorded lesson show that the general pattern of teaching comes in the shape of whole class teaching with the teacher as central actor. Because the teacher has to ensure that all students get the ability to reach the knowledge requirements, the lesson content to a great extent is prescribed and comes in the shape of subject matter-oriented facts, concepts and competences. Because of the combination of crowding of content, teachers’ time constraint and the knowledge requirements in the curriculum, our results also show that teachers – more or less – have to neglect initiatives from students in order to keep the lesson on the “right” track. Content that is not considered to fit in the current lesson, for example student’s experiences, interests and questions, is to a high degree dismissed.

     

    References

    Andersson-Levitt, K. M. (2008), Globalization and curriculum, in M. F. Con-nelly, red, The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction, (s 329-348), Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.

    Bellack, A.A.; Kliebard, H.M.;Hyman, R.T. & Smith, F.L. (1966). The language of the classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.

     

    Deng, Z & Luke, A (2008). Subject matter. Defining and theorizing school subjects. In connnelly, Michael (Ed). The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publication.

    Dahllöf, U. 1967: Skoldifferentiering och undervisningsförlopp [School differentiation and teaching processes]. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.

    Gustafsson, C. (1977). Classroom Interaction. A study of pedagogical roles in the teaching process. Stockholm: Gotab.

     

    Jackson, P. W. (1968/1990). Life in classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press.

     

    Lundgren, U. P. (1981). Model analysis of pedagogical processes. Lund: Liber/Gleerup.

     

    Lundgren, U. P. (1989), Att organisera omvärlden [Organising the world around us], Utbildningsförlaget, Stockholm.

    Sivesind, K. & Karseth, B. (2010), Conceptualising curriculum knowledge within and beyond the national context, European Journal of Education 45 (1),103- 120.

    Sundberg, D. & Wahlström, N. (2012), Standards-based curricula in a denationalized conception of education: The case of Sweden, European Educational Research Journal 11 (3), 342–356.

    Utbildningsdepartementet (The Ministry of Education) (2011). Läroplan för grundskolan, förskoleklassen och fritidshemmet 2011 (Lgr 11). [Curriculum for the Compulsory School, Preschool Class and the Leisure-time Centre 2011; in Swedish]. Stockholm: National Agency for Education.

  • 7.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    The selection of content and knowledge conceptions in the teaching of curriculum standards in compulsory schooling2018In: Transnational Curriculum Standards and Classroom Practices: The New Meaning of Teaching / [ed] Ninni Wahlström & Daniel Sundberg, London: Routledge, 2018, p. 98-115Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Changing Educational Leadership and School Improvement in Vocational Educations?: VET teachers and the Career Services for Teachers Reform in Sweden2015Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    ‘First-teachers’: The Local Enactment of the Career Services for Teachers Reform in Sweden2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 10.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health, Social Work and Behavioural Sciences, School of Education, Psychology and Sport Science.
    Mötet med akademin – upplevelser och strategier hos studenter inom yrkeslärarutbildning2011Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Re-Modelling the Organisation: Examples from the Local Enactment of the Career Services for Teachers Reform2015In: Curriculum and national identity - Nordic divergences? 6th Nordic Curriculum Theory Conference, Örebro University, Sweden, 21 - 22 October, 2015, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    School Improvement and Professional Relations in Transition?: The Case of the Career Services for Teachers Reform in Sweden2015In: Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research. ECER 2015, European Conference on Educational Research, Budapest, September 7-11, 2015, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Styrning, ledning och organisation i implementeringen av karriärlärarreformen i Nässjö kommun: Samverkan för skolförbättringsarbete mellan skola och universitet2015Report (Other academic)
  • 14.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Styrning, ledning och organisation i implementeringen av karriärlärarreformen i Vetlanda kommun: Samverkan för skolförbättringsarbete mellan skola och universitet2015Report (Other academic)
  • 15.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Styrning, ledning och organisation i implementeringen av karriärlärarreformen i Växjö kommun: Samverkan för skolförbättringsarbete mellan skola och universitet2015Report (Other academic)
  • 16.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Styrning, ledning och organisation i implementeringen av karriärlärarreformen i Ängelholms kommun: Samverkan för skolförbättringsarbete mellan skola och universitet2015Report (Other academic)
  • 17.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Styrning, ledning och organisation i implementeringen av karriärlärarreformen inom Barn- och ungdomsförvaltningen, Kalmar kommun: Samverkan för skolförbättringsarbete mellan skola och universitet2015Report (Other academic)
  • 18.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Teachers’ curriculum agency in teaching a standards-based curriculum2018In: Curriculum Journal, ISSN 0958-5176, E-ISSN 1469-3704Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2011, Sweden introduced explicit standards for the curriculum used in compulsory schooling through the implementation of ‘knowledge requirements’ that align content, abilities and assessment criteria. This article explores and analyses social science teachers’ curriculum agency through a theoretical framework comprised of ‘teacher agency’ and Bernstein’s concepts of ‘pedagogic device’, ‘hierarchical knowledge structure’ and ‘horizontal knowledge structure’. Teachers’ curriculum agency, in recontextualisation of the curriculum, is described and understood through three different ‘spaces’: a collective space, an individual space and an interactive space in the classroom. The curriculum and time are important for the possibilities of agency – the teachers state that the new knowledge requirements compel them to include and assess a lot of content in each ‘curriculum task’. It is possible to identify a recontextualisation process of ‘borrowing’ and combining content from curriculum tasks across the different subjects. This process is explained by the horizontal knowledge structure and ‘weak grammar’ of the social sciences. Abilities, on the other hand, stand out as elements of a hierarchical knowledge structure in which a discursive space is opened for knowledge to transcend contexts and provides opportunities for meaning-making. The space gives teachers room for action and for integrating disciplinary content.

  • 19.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Towards New Forms of Educational Leadership? The Implementation of First Teachers in Swedish Schools2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Global processes are reshaping the education systems of the Western world (Resnik 2008). New public management models are implemented in the public sector to govern schools and control teacher quality (Moos & Møller 2003). Together with this comes the notion of accountability; the belief that teachers are to be held responsible for low standards among pupils (Ingersoll 2011). The relationship between teacher quality and pupils’ results also is a common argument in international reports (see Barber & Mourshed 2007; Natale et al. 2013). Altogether, these trends influence national educational policy and trickle down to district and school levels. A recent example in Sweden is ”the first teacher reform” aimed at providing new forms of career services for teachers that the government launched in July 2013. In brief it allows accountable authorities to create, shape and appoint head teachers and as a consequence of this there is a great variety between the municipalities (Skolverket 2013).

     

    The first teacher reform has introduced a new and formalised category of teachers concerned with issues involving educational leadership. Educational leadership relies on interaction between school leaders and teachers (Hultman 2001; Ludvigsson 2009) and previous research underlines both structural and cultural aspects in leadership as prerequisites for successful schools (Ärlestig 2009; Törnsén 2009). My paper explores the implementation of the reform on local level by analysing policy documents and data from interviews with district administrators, principals and first teachers. The theoretical framework builds upon an understanding of leadership as relational and contextual (Pierce & Newstrom 2007) and Leithwoods et al (2007) aspects of ”distributed leadership”. My work here is largely exploratory and suggestive where I seek to answer two main questions: In what ways does the emergence of first teachers effect the educational leadership of the principals? How do first teachers describe and understand their role in the organisation?

     

    Preliminary results suggest that first teachers are resources in mentoring their colleagues and leading quality improvement, offering support for the principals as educational leaders by taking over processes related to collegial learning. However there is also a concern that first teachers lack legitimacy and the ability to question traditional teaching patterns for the improvement of teaching. The first teachers on their hand call for more guidance and clarity from the principals and district administrators regarding their assignments. The amount of meetings has increased and first teachers express that principals tend to move organisational issues tend to the first teachers. Most of all first teachers call for more time for their work. For some first teachers the relationship to colleagues have been strained and they experience that there are troubles to lead development processes due to envy and suspicion.

  • 20.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Towards new forms of educational leadership?: The local implementation of förstelärare in Swedish schools2015In: Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, ISSN 2002-0317, Vol. 1, no 3, p. 55-66, article id 30103Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2013, the Swedish government launched a reform of career services for teachers that introduced förstelärare (‘first teacher’) as a new category. This article presents results from an ongoing research project about the implementation of the reform in a municipal local context in public schools with attention to leadership practices förstelärare engage in and the impact on the educational leadership of the principals. The theoretical framework for the analysis provides perspectives on the interdependencies between and within different levels and sub-systems in the school organisation through the concepts of nested learning systems and distributed leadership. The main results indicate that the introduction of förstelärare strengthens the idea of distributed leadership through the fact that förstelärare engage in leadership practices mandated by the principals. However, it also challenges existing collegial structures through an increased need for collaboration and interaction among both principals and förstelärare.

  • 21.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Vocational teachers taking the lead: VET teachers and the career services for teachers reform in Sweden2016In: Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, ISSN 2242-458X, E-ISSN 2242-458X, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 32-52Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2013 the Swedish government launched a reform on career services for teachers that introduced first-teachersas a new category of teachers. Since this reform still is in the process of being rolled out, we know fairly little of its impact, especially concerning VET teachers that are appointed first-teachers. This paper explores and analyses two cases of VET first-teachers with focus on the implications on educational leadership practices in their work with school improvement where ‘distributed leadership’is used as a lens forunderstanding the characteristic features of leadership practices. The re-sults show that the VET first-teachers consider themselves to represent an important educational leadership being process leaders for creating a culture built on mutual trust, turning the focus of school improvement from a ‘top-down’ perspective to change ‘from below’. They become ‘brokers’and a link between school management and their colleagues, even if there are some difficulties. Moreover they visualise differ-ent practices and foster a new awareness –concerning e.g. assessment and the relation-ship between school and work-place –that seem to influence collegial discourse.

  • 22.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Vocational Teachers Taking the Lead: Vocational Teachers as First-Teachers in School Improvement2015Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 23.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Bidrag till symposium: Att förstå läroplansreformer – En teoribaserad utvärdering av Läroplan för grundskolan 20112017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 24.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Introducing a Critical Dialogical Model for Teacher Education/Att införa en kritisk dialogisk modell i lärarutbildningen2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 25.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Introducing a critical dialogical model for vocational teacher education2016In: Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, ISSN 2242-458X, E-ISSN 2242-458X, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 53-75Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose with this article is to conceptualise and present what is referred to as acritical dialogical model for vocational teacher education that takes into account the interactionbetween theory/research and practice/experiential knowledge. The theoreticalframework for the model is based on critical hermeneutics and the methodology ofdialogue seminars with the aim to promote the development of a ‘critical self’ amongthe vocational teacher students. The model enacts an interface between theory andpractice where a number of processes are identified: a reflective-analogical process, acritical-analytical process and an interactive critical self-building process. In order toinclude a theoretical argument concerning the issue of content, the concept of ‘learningcapital’ and its four sub-categories in terms of curricular capital, instructional capital,moral capital and venture capital is used. We point at content-related aspects of studentlearning and how a critical self has the potential to promote various kinds of ‘capital’and capacity building that may be of importance in the future work-life of the vocationalteacher student.

  • 26.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Johansson, Maria
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Transnational policy and the recognition of vocational knowledge: A device for understanding transformations in policy and practice2017In: Presented at: International VET-Conference 2017, 2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 27.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Nelson, Björn
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering.
    Journeys in Search of the Baltic Sea Teacher: Cross-Border Collaboration and Dialogues within the Cohab Project2014Report (Other academic)
  • 28.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Sundberg, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Wahlström, Ninni
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teachers Matter - But How?: Introduction2017In: Journal of Curriculum Studies, ISSN 0022-0272, E-ISSN 1366-5839, Vol. 49, no 1, p. 1-6Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this special issue, we start from a general policy assumption about teachers and teachingparticularly clearly summarized in the 2005 report Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developingand Retaining Effective Teachers by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation andDevelopment (OECD). The report states that teacher policy is high on national agendas andthat teachers are ‘the most significant resource in schools’ for improving efficiency and equityin school. Thus, the policy report states school improvement largely depends on ‘ensuringthat competent people want to work as teachers, that their teaching is of high quality, andthat all students have access to high quality teaching’ (OECD, 2005, p. 7). Against a backgroundof an increasingly centralized transnational and national governance of school,emphasizing international comparisons (Dale & Robertson, 2009; Lawn & Grek, 2012; Meyer& Benavot, 2013; Nordin & Sundberg, 2014; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010) and a curriculum characterizedby performativity and educational effectiveness (Ball, 2003; Kelly, 2009), we are interestedin teachers’ significance and conditions for teacher agency. However, we regard thepolicy field mainly as the background, from which we retain the fundamental claim that‘teachers matter’. In contrast to policy documents, the intention in this special issue is toexplore in what different ways, at what different times and in what different spaces teacherstruly matter, without having any answers in advance – that is, outside the area of policyhighroads but still against a backdrop of a policy of accountability and standards.

  • 29.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Trulsson, Åsa
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Följeforskning kring karriärlärarreformen i Kalmar, Nässjö, Vetlanda och Ängelholm: Samverkan för skolförbättringsarbete mellan skola och universitet2016Report (Other academic)
  • 30.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Wahlström, NinniLinnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Den evidensbaserade skolan: svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik2018Collection (editor) (Other academic)
  • 31.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Wahlström, Ninni
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Lärarutbildningens forskningsbasering2018In: Den evidensbaserade skolan. Svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik., Natur och kultur, 2018Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 32.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Wahlström, Ninni
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Research-based teacher education? Exploring the meaning potentials of Swedish teacher education2018In: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, ISSN 1354-0602, E-ISSN 1470-1278, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 332-349Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, we explore the meaning potentials of teacher education in terms of the significance of a research-based approach and the different pedagogic identities that such an approach implies. The study’s aim is to examine the important factors for education to be considered research-based and to identify and analyse the research base of teacher education in Sweden. The results from the analysis of a large number of course documents and from a survey administered to teachers and students in four teacher education programmes indicate that the emerging potential meaning is that teacher education is generally a strongly framed professional education with a relatively weak and adapted research base. The analysis of the classification and framing of disciplinary content and pedagogy in the Swedish teacher education curriculum points at different pedagogic identities emerging from the different meaning potentials that are made available to the students. We argue that a thorough understanding of research-based teacher education needs to be grounded in both course content and its research base as well as other possible pedagogical aspects of research-based education; the education as a whole must be included in the concept of research-based education.

  • 33.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Wahlström, Ninni
    Understanding transnational curriculum policies on local municipal arenas2018In: European Educational Policy as a Transnational Phenomenon: the case of curriculum making in diverse contexts, 2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Both the EU and the OECD are intergovernmental organizations where governments and national authorities cooperate closely across national borders. This co-operation results in common objectives and evaluations, but above all, in a common language about education and a shared view of education's problems and solutions (e.g. European Commission 2017).This kind of transnational cooperation, including private actors such as McKinsey and Pearson, forms an international discourse for education policy (Dale, 2010; Grek 2009; Robertson 2008). The Swedish curriculum reform for compulsory school, Lgr 11, can be considered as part of a transnational policy movement in which the different countries relate differently to certain key policy messages. Such messages include that schools needs to be more effective in providing all students with knowledge and raising the achievement of knowledge outcomes. Another explicit message is that the national school systems need to be clearly governed from national level (Wahlström & Sundberg, 2017).

     

    Drawing on discursive institutionalism (Schmidt, 2015) and organizational and institutional theory (Coburn, 2004), this paper focuses on the central educational policy messages from transnational and national policy arenas and their recontextualization on a municipal and school level with Sweden as an example. To capture the links between macro, meso and micro arenas, key policy “messages” from the macro policy arena can be examined regarding in what ways, and to what extent, these messages are adopted or rejected by actors on the municipal and school arenas (Coburn, 2015; Höstfält et al. 2017). For exploring the ‘governing by discourse’, coordinative and communicative discourses are identified, as well as background and foreground ideas (Schmidt 2015). The study builds on interviews with 18 teachers teaching in grade 6 and 9 in different municipalities and schools, and 12 superintendents in charge of compulsory school as well as 12 chairmen of political committees responsible for compulsory school at municipal level. The interviews are analysed in relation to in what ways the actors assimilate or reject the policy messages and to what extent they use deliberative or coordinative discourses to form their understanding of the curriculum reform.  

  • 34.
    Ennals, Richard
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. University of Agder, Norway ; Kingston University, UK.
    Göranzon, Bo
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. KTH Royal Institute of Technology ; Cambridge University, UK.
    Nelson, Björn
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Dialogue, Skill and Tacit Knowledge: Practical Knowledge and Corporate Social Responsibility2016In: Cultural Roots of Sustainable Management: Practical Wisdom and Corporate Social Responsibility / [ed] André Habisch, René Schmidpeter, Switzerland: Springer, 2016, p. 153-163Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter explores work in the Skill and Technology tradition in Sweden, which links work and learning in a distinctive way, backed by a long intellectual tradition. There is a recognition of the limits of explicit knowledge, which is supported by computers. The key resource for organisations and individuals is Tacit Knowledge. Work in the field of practical knowledge has developed through cases, and reflection on Skill. Reflection and Dialogue provide the basis for a culture of Corporate Social Responsibility.

  • 35.
    Wahlström, Ninni
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Forskningsbasering av lärarutbildningen: Delrapport från SKOLFORSK-projektet2015Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Projektet ”Forskningsbasering av lärarutbildningen” har som övergripande uppdrag att genomföra en inventering och analys avseende forskningsbasering av lärarutbildningen med hjälp av dokumentstudier och kontakter med lärare och studenter. Studien ska visa på faktorer som har betydelse för lärarutbildningens vetenskapliga grund samt för kunskap om vetenskapligt väl underbyggda metoder och arbetssätt för att öka måluppfyllelsen och förbättra kunskapsresultaten inom utbildningsväsendet i Sverige. Mer specifikt syftar studien till att dels kartlägga och analysera forskningsbaseringen vid ett antal lärarutbildningar i landet, dels ge en översikt över forskningens syn på vilka faktorer som tillmäts betydelse för att lärarutbildningen kan anses vara forskningsbaserad.

    Sammanfattningsvis kan studiens slutsatser formuleras som att de studerande i första hand möter ett forskningsbaserat innehåll i form av texter om forskning för lärarutbildning. I dessa texter dominerar forskningsgenren ”tolkande forskning”. I lärarutbildningens praktik utgörs forskningsbaseringen i första hand av att innehållet är forskningsbaserat och att kurslitteraturens innehåll och diskussioner i anslutning till innehållet leder till att de studerande omprövar sina tidigare uppfattningar om skola och undervisning vid ett flertal tillfällen under sin utbildning.

  • 36.
    Wahlström, Ninni
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Understanding transnational curriculum policies on local municipal arenas2018In: Understanding transnational curriculum policies on local municipal and school arenas, 2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The year 2000, when the Lisbon strategy (Presidency Conclusions 2000) was adopted by the European Council, can be viewed as a starting point of an increasing interest in education policy on the transnational arena. Both the EU and the OECD are intergovernmental organizations where governments and national authorities cooperate closely across national borders. This co-operation results in common objectives and evaluations, but above all, in a common language about education and a shared view of education's problems and solutions (e.g. European Commission 2017). This kind of transnational cooperation, including private actors such as McKinsey and Pearson, forms an international discourse for education policy (Dale, 2010; Grek 2009; Robertson 2008). Thus, we consider the Swedish curriculum reform for compulsory school, Lgr 11, as part of a transnational policy movement in which the different countries relate differently to certain key policy messages. Such messages include that school needs to be more effective in providing all students with knowledge and raising the achievement of knowledge outcomes. Another clear message is that the national school systems need to be clearly governed from national level (Wahlström & Sundberg, 2017).

     

    Drawing on discursive institutionalism (Schmidt, 2015) and organizational and institutional  theory (Coburn, 2004), this paper focuses on the central educational policy messages from transnational and national policy arenas and their recontextualization on a municipal and school level with Sweden as an example. To capture the links between macro, meso and micro arenas, key policy “messages” from the macro policy arena can be examined regarding in what ways, and to what extent, these messages are adopted or rejected by actors on the municipal and school arenas (Coburn, 2015; Höstfält et al. 2017). For exploring the ‘governing by discourse’, coordinative and communicative discourses are identified, as well as background and foreground ideas (Schmidt 2015). The study builds on interviews with 18 teachers teaching in grade 6 and 9 in different municipalities and schools, and 12 superintendents in charge of compulsory school as well as 12 chairmen of political committees responsible for compulsory school at municipal level. The interviews are analysed in relation to in what ways the actors assimilate or reject the policy messages and to what extent they use deliberative or coordinative discourses to form their understanding of the curriculum reform. 

     

  • 37.
    Wahlström, Ninni
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Alvunger, DanielLinnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.Sundberg, DanielLinnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Teachers matter - but how?2018Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this special issue, we start from a general policy assumption about teachers and teaching particularly clearly summarised in the 2005 report Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). The report states that teacher policy is high on national agendas and that teachers are ‘the most significant resource in schools’ for improving efficiency and equity in school.

    . However, we regard the policy field mainly as the background, from which we retain the fundamental claim that ‘teachers matter’. In contrast to policy documents, the intention in this special issue is to explore in what different ways, at what different times and in what different spaces teachers truly matter, without having any answers in advance – that is, outside the area of policy highroads but still against a backdrop of a policy of accountability and standards.

    Conceptions of school and teaching influence the way teachers think about teaching and how they actually conduct their work in the classroom. With reference to Hansen (2001), teaching has its own integrity. Teaching here is viewed as a moral and intellectual practice developed from within the person, rather than getting one’s norms imposed from outside. Through our subjectivity, we can begin to know ourselves and the world we inhabit, imprinted by culture and history. Genuine learning and growth, for teachers and their students, cannot be hastened; it is a process with its own dimension of time. Teachers’ professional identities, who they are and the meanings teachers attribute to their work and the meanings that are attributed to them by others, are shaped not only by organisational and subject-related aspects but also by their relationships to colleagues, students and parents and a life outside of school (Day & Gu 2010).

  • 38. Wahlström, Ninni
    et al.
    Alvunger, Daniel
    Wermke, Wieland
    Uppsala University.
    Living in an era of comparisons: comparative research on policy, curriculum and teaching2018In: Journal of Curriculum Studies, ISSN 0022-0272, E-ISSN 1366-5839, Vol. 50, no 5, p. 587-594Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The articles in this special issue include different perspectives on comparativepolicy studies with an aim to understand transnational educationpolicies in relation to the logic of national educational systems andto grasp the ongoing reframing of teacher identity and teaching as aresult of the policy activities of ‘new’ and coordinated internationalactors. This special issue aims to contribute to a continued qualifiedinvestigation in curriculum issues at the various levels within the publiceducation system, as well as in the international policy movements,affecting public education differently in different nations. A ‘comparativecurriculum research’ inspired by theories and methods from comparativeeducation might be helpful in this endeavour.

1 - 38 of 38
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