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  • 1.
    Sahlin, Susanne
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Internationalization and school leadership: – keys to school improvement?2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Sahlin, Susanne
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Internationalization as an internal capacity builder for school improvement: a case study2019In: International Journal of Leadership in Education, ISSN 1360-3124, E-ISSN 1464-5092Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article presents findings from a case study that examined how internationalization at one Swedish upper secondary school could be understood in relation to building internal capacities for school improvement. This article used a case study methodology in which aspects of capacity building, and internal capacities constituted the theoretical point of departure. Data consisted of interviews with the principal and teachers, observations, and field notes. The article argues that internationalization at the upper secondary school supported capacity building, and it is evident that internationalization is an internal capacity. It is also apparent that the principal’s leadership is distributed and vital to the school’s success in terms of internationalization and school improvement. Above all, internationalization serves not only as an external form of collaboration but also as an internal capacity at the school for leadership, professional development, and internal collaboration. It is evident that these internal capacities are intertwined. 

  • 3.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    Educational leadership in pre-school: A leadership in transition2006Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper aims at discussing a research plan on educational leadership for educated teacher in pre-schools and is produced in the beginning of a doctoral project. Early childhood education and care in Sweden has been extended and reformed by the government as a part of the Swedish family welfare policy. The responsibility now lies within the Ministry of education and Science, and the supervisory responsibility with the National Agency for education. Pre-school (1-6) in Sweden are now a part of the educational system and has its own Curriculum.

    The School Act in 1998 has decentralized the responsibility to the municipalities, and thereby also the organization of the educational leadership. This change of the educational leadership for pre-school from a leadership located within the pre-school to a educational leader for a school district, is the initial ground for this research-interest. How does this change affect the educational leadership for pre-school teachers?

    This paper will account for what the regulatory documents and literature about educational leadership say about the importance of educative leadership.

  • 4.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    Educational management for an educational activity?: about the municipal pre-school management and leadership structure in Sweden2012Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis is a total coverage survey of the municipal preschool management structure. In the late 90's the preschool in Sweden became the first step in the overall educational system. It became a pedagogical activity similar to school with respect to form and content. Although the focus was on education, political voices reclaimed the unique nature of preschool i.e. educare. It became a preschool in transition between its own tradition and modernization. The idea is that the educational management structure should support a pedagogical leadership that directs the pedagogical activity towards preschool objectives. The local authority sets the structure for management in pre-school; a municipality that in itself is an institution with its own goals and objectives. These objectives can place the municipalities in the cross pressure between their own objectives and the ones for preschool. The question in this respect is; How is the management structure formed and why? Is it a structure formed with the intention of creating educational management for the local preschool or are there other factors that guide the design? A framework based on the historical background of the preschools and theoretical terms such as steering, leading, management, pedagogical leadership, educational activity, etc. was constructed. Results are based on an online questionnaire survey. 180 municipalities out of 290 answered the questionnaire, which gives a response rate at 62 %. The response rate is evenly distributed across municipal categories, categories that the municipalities were aggregated into, formed by The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. The categories were handled as survey units, to support a part of the analysis and to allow a comparison between the municipalities by municipality size, both demographic and geographic. The material was analysed using the SPSS statistical program and compiled and reported with descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics were used to demonstrate the material's characteristics and the central tendency.The results show that the municipalities’ structure of management is varied. Different municipal categories do not change this varied picture of the management landscape significantly. Although the management structure varies regarding how many levels with formal titles and which positions and functions they should have, there is a consistency in which title that the formal leader for the preschool have. The municipalities primarily utilise a principalship with mixed responsibility for both preschool and school. In light of these results, do municipalities mould a structure for the educational management for the pedagogical activities in preschool? Yes and no: the municipalities do not form a structure for preschool alone. Results show that the municipalities' main purpose is not to create a line of management specifically for the preschool. The municipalities form a management structure for educational purposes dealing with an educational activity from preschool to elementary school. The new Education Act (2010:800), is a step toward distinguishing preschool leadership from school leadership and turns the leadership of preschools into a title solely for the position and function of preschool educational activities.

  • 5.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    International collaboration and school leadership: – keys to school development and increased school results in one Swedish upper secondary school?2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The on going research and school improvement project "The world's best regional education system" (2012-2015) will provide new knowledge about leadership and how school improvement is developing the school's results. One available focus in the project is to look more deeply into how one of the participating schools is working with school improvement and international collaboration from a school leader and school improvement perspective. How can we understand internationalization as school improvement and what significance does it have for the daily work at the school? How can one describe and understand the headmaster’s leadership and importance in relation to school development and internationalization?

     

    The aim of the study is to describe and understand how a Swedish upper secondary school works with school improvement and international collaboration from a school leader and school improvement perspective.

     

    The methodology used is a case study design in which aspects of school leadership, school improvement and the schools international collaborative ambitions are interwoven. The collected data consists of interviews and follow up interviews with principal, teachers and pupils, observations, logbook and texts concerning the participating school and the Swedish upper secondary school system. A theoretical framework will be used and an analytical instrument will be constructed for the analysis.

     

    There are some preliminary tendencies we can see, but as it is still research in progress, we hope to give a more complete picture in our paper at the conference. Implications for further research will be considered. For Nordic educational research this is one essential matter as it can be seen as a contribution to valuable knowledge about key factors for development for school results and increased goal achievement.

  • 6.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Management and the distribution of leadership in the systematically work with quality in preschool? - A way to improvement?2016In: ECER 2016 "Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers", 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research in the area of systematic quality work, leadership, management within the preschool are limited (Lager, 2015). This study focuses on elucidating and understanding how the leadership structure and process for the systematic quality work in preschools are managed and distributed from a school improvement perspective. Development, improvement and quality are concepts that permeate the education system both in Sweden and in many other countries. Preschools and schools in Sweden are today valued as a competitive factor in the market-oriented, knowledge-based economy where children and parents are seen as customers (Elfström, 2013; Carlbaum, Hult, Lindgren, Novak, Rönnberg & Segerholm, 2014). The concept of quality has been introduced on a broad front in educational policy and creating historically alien to preschool as quality assurance, systematic quality assurance and quality indicators. Even if the quality concept in itself is not new for the preschool, it is today loaded with other values. Quality in preschool is a controversial term and is seen as a concept of multifaceted meaning and content (Brodin & Renblad, 2014). In the late 80s, the debate on quality in preschool started. Mainly the talk was about the more structural issues, such as finance, and organizational factors, such as how large groups of children it could be in relation to staff (Kärrby, 2001). The view of what quality in education is, and must be, has changed. The concept of quality is a frequently used term, today, in policy texts and concepts are combined with many other words in education contexts, such as quality assurance, quality control, quality assurance, quality management, quality assessment, quality improvement, quality control and quality measures (Bergh, 2010; Segerholm, 2012).

     

    The preschool in Sweden is since 2010 a part of the whole education system with goals to reach. The preschool is now closer to the rest of the educational system, in terms of laws and regulations (Folke-Fichtelius, 2008). In the revised curriculum (2011) for the preschool in Sweden, new goals have been formulated, a new section on evaluation and development are described, and responsibilities for the head of the preschool and the preschool teachers are formulated. The systematic quality work is compulsory both in the preschool curriculum and school law. The head of the preschool has a responsibility to systematically and continuously plan, follow up, evaluate and develop education (2010: 800) at the school level. The head of the preschool has overall responsibility for the systematic quality work and the preschool teachers have a special responsibility to work with the systematic quality work at activity level.

     

    To sum up, research in this area  is limited. Mainly, research deals with work on pedagogical documentation in the field of systematic quality. Research on leadership in preschool in Sweden only consists of a few articles and book chapters. In preschool research, the focus is on quality assurance and if quality could be measured or not, in a subjective and objective discussion (Sheridan, 2009). Very seldom the focus are in the burgeoning field of school improvement, development or change. Therefore, it is of interest to study the preschool and their systematic quality work in the light of the concept of capacity building and school improvement.

     

    The aim of this study is to elucidate and understand how the structure and process of the systematic quality work in preschools are managed and distributed from a school improvement perspective.

     

    Methods/methodology

    The methodology used is a case study design and the case is leadership structure that is, how its management and distributed in the systematic quality work and the example is two preschools. The collected data consists of individual interviews with the head of the preschool, pedagogical developer and observations of meetings when the work with the systematic quality is discussed between the head of the preschool, pedagogical developer and preschool teachers. The material will be analysed within a framework of research in the area of school improvement (Harris, 2002; Mitchell, C. & Sackney, L. 201; Hopkins, 1996), distributed leadership (Leithwood, Mascall, & Strauss (Eds.). (2009)  and capacity building (Harris, 2001; Stringer, 2013) and in contrast to the concept of quality in preschool activity (Lenz Taguchi, 2012, Vallberg Roth, 2014; Dahlberg, Moss & Pence; 2001; Sheridan, Williams & Sandberg, 2013). The case study is suitable in this study since the empirical material and research question aims to investigate a phenomenon where the boundary between the phenomenon and the contextual factors and conditions of the phenomenon is not clear (Yin, 1994). The study is seeking a deeper knowledge of events in the present, focusing on the how questions and the causal relationship to what happens and seeking knowledge of the specific, not to strive to generalize the results (Stake, 1995). A holistic case design is used though the survey unit is studied from a more global perspective than from embedded units that are the analyses is on the organization level and not at an individual level. Benefits according to Yin (1994, p.41) is: "The holistic design is advantageous when no logical subunits can be identified and when the relevant theory underlying the case study is itself of holistic nature."

     

    Expected outcomes/results  

    There are some preliminary tendencies, but it is still research in progress and the analysis of the empirical data is still ongoing. I hope to give a more complete picture in the paper at the conference.

     

    Intent of publication 

    The purpose of the paper is that after the conferences valuable feedback rewrite the paper to an article for publication.

     

    References  

    Brodin, J. & Renblad, K. (2014). Early Childhood Educators’ Perspectives of the Swedish National Curriculum for Preschool and Quality Work, Early Childhood Educ Journal (2015) 43:347–355

     

    Carlbaum, S., Hult, A., Lindgren, J., Novak, J., Rönnberg, L. & Segerholm, C. (2014). Skolinspektion som styrning. Utbildning & Demokrati 2014, vol 23, nr 1, 5–20.

     

    Dahlberg, G., Moss, P. & Pence, A. (2001). Från kvalitet till meningskapande: Postmoderna perspektiv – exemplet förskolan. Stockholm: HLS Förlag.

     

    Elfström, I. (2013). Uppföljning och utvärdering för förändring: pedagogisk dokumentation som grund för kontinuerlig verksamhetsutveckling och systematiskt kvalitetsarbete i förskolan. Diss. Stockholm : Stockholms universitet, 2013.

     

    Folke-Fichtelius, M. (2008). Förskolans formande: statlig reglering 1944-2008. Diss. Uppsala : Uppsala universitet, 2008.

     

    Harris, A. (2001) Building the Capacity for School Improvement, School Leadership & Management: Formerly School Organisation, 21:3, 261-270,

     

    Harris, A. (2002). School Improvement - What’s in it for schools? London: Routledge Falmer. 

     

    Hopkins, D. (1996). Towards a Theory for School Improvement. In Gray, J., Reynolds, D., Fitz- Gibbon, C. and Jesson, D. (Eds), Merging Traditions: The Future of Research on School Effectiveness and School Improvement, London: Cassell.

     

    Kärrby, G. (2001). Barnets rätt till hög kvalitet i förskolan. UTBILDNING & DEMOKRATI 2001, VOL 10, NR 2, S 81-93

     

    Lager, K. (2015). I spänningsfältet mellan kontroll och utveckling: en policystudie av systematiskt kvalitetsarbete i kommunen, förskolan och fritidshemmet. Diss.Göteborgs universitet, 2015.

     

    Leithwood, K., Mascall, B., & Strauss, T. (Eds.). (2009). Distributed leadership according to the evidence. New York, NY: Routledge.

     

    Mitchell, C. & Sackney, L. (2011). Profound Improvement - Building Capacity for a Learning Community. Taylor and Francis.

     

    Segerholm, Christina (2012). The Quality Turn. Political and Methodological Challenges in Contemporary Educational Evaluation and Assessment. Education Inquiry 3(2), 115–122.

     

    SFS 2010:800. Skollag. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet

    Sheridan, S. (2009). Discerning Pedagogical Quality in Preschool. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 53, No. 3, June 2009, 245–261

     

    Sheridan, S., Williams, P., & Sandberg, A. (2013). Systematic quality-work in preschool. International Journal of Early Childhood, 45(1), 123-150.


     

    Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of Case Study research. Thousand Oaks London New Delhi: SAGE Publications.

     

    Stringer, Patricia (2013). Capacity Building for School Improvement Revisited [Elektronisk resurs]. Rotterdam: SensePublishers

     

    Vallberg Roth, A-C. (2014). Nordic Comparative Analysis of Guidelines for Quality and Content in Early Childhood Education JOURNAL OF NORDIC EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION RESEARCH VOL. 8, NR 1, P. 1-35.

     

    Yin, R.K. (1994). Case study research: design and methods. (2. ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • 7.
    Styf, Maria
    Umeå Universitet.
    Pedagogisk ledning för en pedagogisk verksamhet?: om den kommunala förskolans ledningsstruktur2012Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis is a total coverage survey of the municipal preschool management structure. In the late 90's the preschool in Sweden became the first step in the overall educational system. It became a pedagogical activity similar to school with respect to form and content. Although the focus was on education, political voices reclaimed the unique nature of preschool i.e. educare. It became a preschool in transition between its own tradition and modernization. The idea is that the educational management structure should support a pedagogical leadership that directs the pedagogical activity towards preschool objectives. The local authority sets the structure for management in pre-school; a municipality that in itself is an institution with its own goals and objectives. These objectives can place the municipalities in the cross pressure between their own objectives and the ones for preschool. The question in this respect is; How is the management structure formed and why? Is it a structure formed with the intention of creating educational management for the local preschool or are there other factors that guide the design? A framework based on the historical background of the preschools and theoretical terms such as steering, leading, management, pedagogical leadership, educational activity, etc. was constructed. Results are based on an online questionnaire survey. 180 municipalities out of 290 answered the questionnaire, which gives a response rate at 62 %. The response rate is evenly distributed across municipal categories, categories that the municipalities were aggregated into, formed by The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. The categories were handled as survey units, to support a part of the analysis and to allow a comparison between the municipalities by municipality size, both demographic and geographic. The material was analysed using the SPSS statistical program and compiled and reported with descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics were used to demonstrate the material's characteristics and the central tendency. The results show that the municipalities' structure of management is varied. Different municipal categories do not change this varied picture of the management landscape significantly. Although the management structure varies regarding how many levels with formal titles and which positions and functions they should have, there is a consistency in which title that the formal leader for the preschool have. The municipalities primarily utilisea principalship with mixed responsibility for both preschool and school. In light of these results, do municipalities mould a structure for the educational management for the pedagogical activities in preschool? Yes and no: the municipalities do not form a structure for preschool alone. Results show that the municipalities' main purpose is not to create a line of management specifically for the preschool. The municipalities form a management structure for educational purposes dealing with an educational activity from preschool to elementary school. The new Education Act (2010:800), is a step toward distinguishing preschool leadership from school leadership and turns the leadership of preschools into a title solely for the position and function of preschool educational activities.

  • 8.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teachers leading their own mini-project - a way to build internal capacity?2016In: ECER 2016 "Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers", 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this paper is to describe and understand how mini-projects driven by teachers in one Swedish upper secondary school contribute or not to the school’s internal capacity for school improvement. The school in focus, in this paper, was one of three participating schools and a part of a larger school improvement and research project called “The world's best regional education system” that was introduced in 2012 and finished in 2015. The project aimed at supporting and developing the three schools' internal capacities for improvement. The goal of the project was to improve student performance/achievement, develop the whole schools’ leadership and to develop the school's capacity to manage and lead improvement processes. One desire in the current upper secondary school was that each teacher would become entrepreneurs (leaders) in their own field and run their own projects. This resulted in "mini-projects" that almost every teacher initiated and developed to different degrees.

     

    Three internal capacities for school improvement have in studies of Björkman (2008) been acknowledged as important keys for the school improvement process to emerge; internal and external forms of collaboration, staff development and leadership. These three internal capacities and the concept of teachers’ leadership are the foundation of this papers theoretical frame together with the concept of school improvement and capacity building. The research question that frame the study is:

    1.                   How does teacher-led mini-projects contribute to the school’s internal capacity?

    2.                   How does the teachers' leadership of the mini-projects contribute to the school's leadership capacity and how does it affect school improvement at the school?

     

    From research we know what it takes to manage and create sustainable school improvement and change. Improvement requires leadership at several levels, i.e., both a committed principal and teachers that drives change. It requires a culture of collaboration and a willingness to change (Harris & Muijs, 2005). According to Harris (2003) the school can reach further in their development “by placing teachers at the centre of change and development there is greater opportunity for organizational growth”. (p. 47)

    Capacity building is dependent on the teacher’s capabilities to lead within the organisation(Harris & Muijs, 2006). The teacher can also be a powerful initiator to lead reform effort when they have the time, energy and support to do so and feel that they have the ownership of providing change (Fullan, 2001; Moos, 2013).Teacher do not see themselves as leaders although their activities in the classroom often is a leadership achievement (Harris, 2003). The concept teacher leadership is useful, in research, in the way that teacher take professional initiative on learning that is focused on improvement for both classroom and school level (Harris & Muijs, 2005). In this paper the concept of teachers leadership are used and defined according to Harris & Muijs (2005, p.45): “…teacher leadership is conceptualized as a set of behaviours and practise that are undertaken collectively… /…/ …separated from person, role and status and is primarily concerned with the relationships and the connections among individual within a school.”

    Research in the field of school improvement and leadership is extensive.  Research on teacher’s leadership is a field that is limited. Mostly, research on leadership, at schools, are concentrated to the leadership that principals conduct (Harris & Muijs, 2005). In the field of research, teacher’s leadership is more often seen as a key to improvement (Muijs & Harris, 2006). This paper could therefore contribute to valuable knowledge in the field of teachers’ leadership and capacity building for school improvement.

     

     

    Methods/methodology 

    The methodology used is a case study design and the collected data consists of interviews in the beginning of the project and in the end of the three years, observations during the project and texts produced by some of the teachers concerning their own driven mini-project. The case is an "intrinsic case study (Stake, 2006. p. 3) ie there is an intrinsic, immanent, interest in the case. The case is the upper secondary school included in the project VBRUS (The world's best regional education system) and therefore chosen for this case study. The case study is suitable when the empirical material and research question, in this paper, aims to investigate a phenomenon where the boundary between the phenomenon and the contextual factors and conditions of the phenomenon are not clear (Yin, 1994). The study is seeking deeper knowledge of events in the present, focusing on the how questions (Yin, 2007) and the causal relationship to what happens (Stake, 2006) and seeking knowledge of the specific, not to strive to generalize the results (Stake, 1995). A holistic case design is used though the survey unit is studied from a more global perspective than from embedded units that is the analyses is on the organization level and not at a individual level. Benefits according to Yin (1994) is "The holistic design is advantageous when no logical subunits can be identified and when the relevant theory underlying the case study is itself of holistic nature." (p.41)

     

    Expected outcomes/results 

    There are some preliminary tendencies, but it is still research in progress. I hope to give a more complete picture in the paper at the conference. The preliminary tendencies are that the mini- projects have contributed to the improvement of the school, it has forced the teachers to see themselves as part of something bigger, not only as a leader in the classroom. School improvement is something they say they own today. It is, according to them, not only a matter of initiative the headmaster takes, it is a whole school responsibility. In that sense, the mini-projects has smoothed out "the peaks of leadership". As for the way in which the mini-project have helped to increase the teacher's leadership, they feel mandatory to operate in their own field. The project has become a driving force, a whip on the need to pursue. The mini-projects have given them time, mandate and legitimacy to invest in their own ideas. The motivation has been kept alive by the continuous meetings among colleagues. Although al of the teachers has not initially bought the idea of running a mini-project and a lot of time and energy was wasted at finding a perfect project. There are many good ideas that have emerged from the mini-projects and there are an experience to build on in the future. Now the school have a foundation of knowledge about other teachers’ projects and it is a source of inspiration. It has become easier to express what the school is doing and what the school is good at and it simplifies the marketing of the school.

     

    Intent of publication 

    The purpose of the paper is that after the conferences valuable feedback rewrite the paper to an article for publication.

     

    References 

     

    Björkman, C. (2008). Internal capacities for school improvement: headmasters' views in Swedish secondary schools. Diss. Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2008. Umeå.

    Fullan, M. (2001). The New Meaning of Educational Change. London: Routledge Falmer.

     

    Harris, A. 2003. Teacher leadership: a new orthodoxy? In Davies, B. & West-Burnham, J. (red.) (2003). Handbook of educational leadership and management. London: Pearson Education.

     

    Harris, A. & Muijs, D. (2005). Improving schools through teacher leadership. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

     

    Moos, L. (2013). Postlude:Wrap Upo f the Argument. In Moos, L. (red.) (2013). Transnational influences on values and practices in Nordic educational leadership: is there a Nordic model?. Dordrecht: Springer.

     

    Muijs, D & Harris, A. (2006) Teacher led school improvement: Teacher leadership in the UK. TEACHING AND TEACHER EDUCATION, 22 (8). pp. 961-972.

     

    Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of Case Study research. Thousand Oaks London New Delhi: SAGE Publications.

     

    Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple Case Study Analysis. New York, London: The Guilford Press.

     

    Yin, R. K. (2007). Fallstudier: design och genomförande. (P. Söderholm övers.). Malmö: Liber

     

    Yin, R.K. (1994). Case study research: design and methods. (2. ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

     

     

  • 9.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    The plan for Systematic Quality Work at preschools trough the lens of School improvement.2017In: ICSEI 2017 in Ottawa, Canada. Collaborative Partnerships for System-Wide Educational Improvement, 2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract ICSE 2017

     

    The plan for Systematic Quality Work at preschools trough the lens of School improvement.

     

     

    Purpose

    This study focus on elucidating and understanding what improvement is in focus and why, in the head of preschools plan for systematic quality work.

    Theoretical framework

    The preschool in Sweden is since 2010 a part of the education system with goals to reach. In the revised curriculum (2011) for the preschool in Sweden, new goals have been formulated, a new section on evaluation and development are described, and responsibilities for the head of the preschool are formulated. The head of the preschool has a responsibility to systematically and continuously plan, follow up, evaluate and develop education (2010: 800) at the school level.

    The focus, in preschool research, is often on quality assurance and quality measurement and also if quality is subjective or objective (Sheridan, 2009). Very seldom the focus is in the burgeoning field of school improvement. Therefore, it is of interest to study the preschool and their systematic quality work in the light of school improvement. From research we know that improvement requires a committed leader (Harris, 2002; Harris & Muijs, 2005) and we know that leadership is a key to improvement. The leader must clearly point out the directions and lead the instructional work for improvement (Leithwood & Day, 2007).  Therefor it is of interest to study the head of preschools plan for there systematical quality work.

     

    School improvement in this study is defined as a systematic, sustained and supported effort with the purpose to improve the learning and other internal conditions of the school, with the ultimate aim of accomplishing educational goals more effectively (Björkman, 2008; Harris, 2000; Stoll, 1999).

    Methods

    The methodology to analyze the material is a qualitative content analysis (Graneheim & Lundman, 2004). The collected data consists of written papers, a plan for systematical quality work, of the head of the preschools. The material will be interpreted within a framework of research in the area of school improvement and in contrast to the concept of quality in preschool activity.

    Results and conclusions

    There are some preliminary tendencies, but it is still research in progress. I hope to give a more complete picture in the paper at the conference.

    Educational importance of this study

    This paper could contribute to valuable knowledge in the field of Preschool improvement. Research in the area of systematic quality work, leadership, management within
the preschool are limited (Lager, 2015) and research with preschool quality improvement in focus in the burgeoning field of school improvement are partial.

     

     

    Connection to the conference theme

    The connection in this paper is to the conference theme of System and School Improvement.

      References

     

    Björkman, C. (2008). Internal capacities for school improvement: Principals’ views in Swedish secondary schools (Doctoral dissertation). Umeå Universitet, Umeå.

     

    Graneheim, U.H., & Lundman, B. (2004). Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: Concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Education Today, 24(issue), 105–112.

     

    Harris, A. (2000). What works in school improvement? Lessons from the field and future directions. Educational Research, 41(1), pp.1-11.

     

    Harris, A. (red.) (2002). Effective leadership for school improvement. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

     

    Harris, A. & Muijs, D. (2005). Improving schools through teacher leadership. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

     

    Lager, K. (2015). I spänningsfältet mellan kontroll och utveckling: en policystudie av systematiskt kvalitetsarbete i kommunen, förskolan och fritidshemmet. Diss.Göteborgs universitet, 2015.

    Leithwood, K., & Day, C. (2007). Starting with what we know. In C. Day & K. Leithwood (Eds.). Successful Principal Leadership in Times of Change. An internatio- nal Perspective (pp. 1-15). Dordrecht: Springer.

    SFS 2010:800. Skollag. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet


     

    Stoll, L. (1999). Developing schools capacity for lasting improvement. Improving Schools, 2(3), 32– 39.

     

  • 10.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    "The world's best regional education system" - a school improvement project in three schools in Jämtlands and Västernorrlands counties: What is school improvement for schools?2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this substudy is to identify factors important for the three schools in the school improvement project “The world's best regional education system” in their strive for school development and increased goal achievement. The project in its total is a school improvement and a research project in three schools in Jämtlands and Västernorrlands counties. These counties have lower educational results and school achievements compared to other parts in Sweden and have a relatively large proportion of out-migration of well-educated from the region. The low results for this regions and attempt to improve schools to improve well-educated workforce was the starting point for this project and its promoters.

     

    First a presentation of the total projects goal and purposes is provided in the forthcoming paper, that is, the schools total leadership, goal achievement and capacities for school improvement. To contextualize the findings in the substudy a theoretical frame involving a general overview of research on school improvement, total leadership and goal achievement is constructed. This is followed by a descriptive analysis of the data. The data is based on the project applications from the three selected schools and initial interviews with teachers and principals from these schools in the project. Finally a summary and discussion of the outcomes of the review are presented and the implications for further research and practice are considered. Expected results, are although the applications were very different, the content of the answers are diverse and reflects the three schools special internal work.

     

    For Nordic educational research this is highly relevant for the consciousness of what’s the schools own factors for working with school improvement.

  • 11.
    Styf, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Visualisation and documentation of the goals in the national curriculum with tablets, prerequisites and opportunities for development of teaching in preschool?2013In: Building Learning Capacity for Life / [ed] Lena Boström, Gunnar Augustsson, Carol Evans, Zarina M. Carlesworth, Eva Cools, (Eds), 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract: Visualisation and documentation of the goals in the national curriculum with tablets, prerequisites and opportunities for development of teaching in preschool?

    Aim: Purpose

    The purpose of this poster presentation is to get feedback from other researchers on the research design, to be able to specify and narrow the research question, and also get feedback on the theoretical framework.

     

    Research question: How are digital tools used in preschool, both as learning tools and for documentation and visualization of the daily activities, in relation to the goals in the national curriculum?

     

    Expected theoretical framework: The theoretical framework is based on activity theory (Engeström, 1987; Leontiev, 1986; Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1981) with a focus on mediating tools (Vygotsky,1978).

     

    Methodology:

    At first a survey will be used to collect information about the use of tablets in preschools. Thereafter, we will study the activity and the work in progress with a special focus on visualisation and documentation of the goals in the national curriculum. This will be done through action research (Rönnerman, 2012).

     

    Findings:

    We expect to find god examples of how tablets can be used in pre-school, both as learning tools and for documentation.

     

    Relevance:

    Digital media and its presence in education are shaping new opportunities for teaching and learning and the preparation of students for living and working in a networked, globally connected society. More and more we are coming to understand the significant shift in communication that is taking place from text-based information found in books to visual communication emphasized by the Internet. Add to this a growing social media culture in which uploading a video to YouTube from your Iphone, or blogging on a moment-to-moment basis in many countries is mainstream. As a global community our visual literacy as well as digital literacy is both expanded and put to the test. As well, we are experiencing life collaboratively across cultures in a variety of social online networks on our own private time. Researchers have found exciting benefits that emerge from this networked, visual communication culture with implications for 21st century learning and work (Nilsson & Nocon, 2005; Schlais & Davis, 2001) that reflect collaboration, deep learning (Offir, et al. 2008), creativity and divergent thinking. Despite this evidence, other international studies (Jerald, 2009) demonstrate that little pedagogical innovation is occurring at the school level to engage students in higher order thinking, transformative learning and collaboration through the use of digital media. In general, the majority of schools remain on the outside of this media equation (Snyder, 2007), still en route to understand the pedagogical opportunities that media afford the development of deep learning, global citizenship, and a variety of literacy skills including visual literacy, and digital literacy.

     

    During the past year, purchases of so-called tablets to preschools and schools have escalated. Unfortunately, it turns out that, it is often buying without discussing what tablets will be used for, how to use them, and in which purpose (Damber and Ivarsson, 2012). Given this, it is important to study this area to come up with good examples.

     

    References

    Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: an activity-theoretical ap- proach to developmental research. Diss. Helsinki : Univ.. Helsinki.

    Damberg, U. Ivarsson, L. (2012). Work in progress.

    Jerald, C. D. (2009) Defining a 21st century education: Competencies, literacy, and knowledge. The Center for Public Education. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Learn-About/21st-Century/Defining-a-21st-Century-Education-Full-Report-PDF.pdf

    Leontjev, A.N. (1986). Verksamhet, medvetande, personlighet: Tätigkeit, Bewusstsein, Persönlichkeit = Activity, consciousness, personality = Ac- tivité, conscience, personnalité. Moskva: Progress.

    Nilsson, M., Nocon, H. (2005) School of tomorrow: Teaching and technology in local and global communities. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.

    Offir, B., Yossi, L. Bezalel, R. (2008) Surface and deep learning processes in distance education: Synchronous versus asynchronous systems. Computers in Education. 51. 1172-1183

    Schlais, D. and Davis, R. (2001) Distance learning through educational networks: The global view experience. In Stephenson, J. (ed) Teaching and learning online: Pedagogies for new technologies. London: Kogan Page Limited.

    Snyder, K. M. (2007) The Digital Culture and “Peda-Socio” transformation. Seminar.net: media, technology and life long learning. 3(1).

    Rönnerman, K. (red.) (2012). Aktionsforskning i praktiken: förskola och skola på vetenskaplig grund. (2., [rev.] uppl.) Lund: Studentlitteratur.

    Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society. Harvard university press. Cambridge, MA.

    Wertsch, J.V. (Red.) (1981). The concept of activity in Soviet psychology. Ar- monk, N.Y.: Sharpe.

     

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