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Leaders of the profession and ‘professional’ leaders

Leaders of the profession and ‘professional’ leaders

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Leaders of the profession and ‘professional’ leaders

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  1. Leaders of the profession and ‘professional’ leaders Jakob Ditlev Bøje (jdb@sdu.dk) Lars Frode Frederiksen (frode@sdu.dk) University of Southern Denmark

  2. So, I guess you could say I got used to control a lot and perform the kind of leadership that everyone expects today. I think my development as a leader is exemplary of the broader trends that have occurred within the management of the Danish school. • Well, there used to be a different tradition at this place. My predecessor had another style of leadership. It was like, if you went into his office you would get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. It was ‘green’ or ‘red’. So, what we are doing now as a team of management is to try and change that tradition. To ask: what do you think? What do you suggest? To get away from the directive leadership style and towards the co-managed organization. • I try to work with this organization. I try to make the middle managers great. I mean co-managing so they can make decisions themselves. On solid ground. It applies to the rest of the staff also. They must be able to make decisions when I’m not there. In general, I try to lead through leaders. Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  3. Leaders of the profession and ‘professional’ leaders Point of departure Focus on school leadership and school leaders It is not only a profession under siege The transformation from teacher to leader is a process of • unlearning professional values and • a entry to an area traditionally not perceived as a profession (at least contested), e.g. leadership The outcome depends on the perception of professions and professionalization and on school leadership In this ambigues and contradictary field School leaders may maneuvring and making sense of themselves and their job Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  4. State of the art • Pillars in school leadership (roughly spoken) • What works and evidence, ‘prescriptions’ • Critical, unpredictial • Professions and professionalization • ‘Traditional’ perceptions and definitions are challenged • Organizational professionalism • ‘traditional’ professions are under siege • School leadership preparation (provider, content, regulations etc.) • Instrumental, rational • Analytical, critical • Experiental vs. academic knowledge Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  5. Approach • A combination of Bourdieu and narrative analysis (Czarniawska, Riessman, Spicer and Alvesson, Greimas, etc.) • Studying development of leader identity as the construction of a tertiary habitus – building upon, but at the same time differing from a secondary habitus (as teacher) • Doing it through narratives and sensemaking • School leaders talking about themselves and their schools • Based on a Maersk-project on qualification of school leaders • Development: 3 years, practice-oriented, coaching, teams • Research: Survey, interviews, observations, programme theories Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  6. School leadership Concepts and perceptions A Bourdieuianperspective School leaders identity and sensemaking A narrative approach School leadership preparation Profession(alization) Concepts and perceptions Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  7. The pedagogically reformed – and reforming – leader • Close to retirement, has been a school leader for 15 years, little formal leader education • The school: Relatively priviledged middle class children. However, recently an influx of poorer children and families • The plot: Pedagogic modernization of a ‘spoiled’ school • Spoiled teachers, spoiled parents, spoiled children • Used to a tougher neighborhood where you had to be more pedagogic • All in all the hero – the pedagogically reformed and reforming leader – who transforms a school according to ideals of the Folkeskole – equality, democracy, and social integration Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  8. The clear leader – who wants a co-managed organization • 46 years old, has recently become a school leader (at the same school where she was a teacher for 22 years), little formal leader education • The school: Mixed student population, middle class and working class, ‘Danish’ and with a minority background • Two plots that are not connected: • About a clear leadership close to that of her predecessor • About a co-managed organization in which she acts as a non-directive leader • All in all, the narrative is characterized by a splitting homologous to a division in the school between middle class and working class, ‘Danish’ and ‘ethnic’, etc. Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  9. The philanthropical leader – who offers a co-managed organization • 39 years old, has been a school leader for 3 years and before that a middle manager for 5 years. Worked as teacher for 8 years, substantial formal leader education • The schools: School leader at one school and temporarily appointed leader at another school • City school and rural school, priviledged children vs. socially disadvanted children • Has a co-managed, personal, and ‘modern’ organization at the priviledged school • Talks herself into a philantropical leader at the rural school – who offers what she has at the city school: a co-managed organization Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  10. Conclusions • The three leaders are all both ‘professional’ leaders and leaders of the profession • The tertiary leader habitus does not break radically with the secondary teacher habitus • However, they become leaders in different ways where one is leaning against the leader of the profession, one against the ‘professional’ leader, and where one is caught in the middle • Age, experience, and education seem significant for the school leaders’ narratives and construction of identities • The older and the less educated, the more a leader of the profession • The younger and the more educated, the more a ‘professional’ leader • Schools and contexts are also significant • The schools lead the leaders as much as the leaders lead the schools Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen

  11. Implications • First, school leaders are not just leaders • Second, school leaders are not just blind deliverers of policy reforms, as wanted by the school effectiveness movement and claimed by some critical researchers • Third, school leaders, as people, are in fact professionalizing. Especially the youngest and most inexperienced members, it would seem • Fourth, education of school leaders should be centred on who they are and what they do rather than what is expected and imagined of them Jakob Ditlev Bøje and Lars Frode Frederiksen