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Some Social and Cultural Aspects of Multigrade Education : Teacher’s possible innovative leadership roles in small rural schools (The example of Greece). Pavlos Koulouris , pkoulouris@ea.gr Ellinogermaniki Agogi Athens, Greece

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Some Social and Cultural Aspects of Multigrade Education:Teacher’s possible innovative leadership roles in small rural schools (The example of Greece)

Pavlos Koulouris, pkoulouris@ea.gr

Ellinogermaniki Agogi

Athens, Greece

NEMED Conference “MULTIGRADE EDUCATION: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE?”

University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest, Romania

18 September 2007

remote multigrade schools in greece valuable service to the nation
Remote multigrade schools in Greece: valuable service to the nation
  • Abundance of remote and less accessible mountainous and insular areas
  • Small rural schools fulfilling a crucial function:
    • Providing the children of these areas with the access to education which all children of Greece are entitled to.
    • Thus keeping small remote and aging communities ‘alive’.
facing problems and dangers
Facing problems and dangers
  • Consequences of a widening rural-urban divide:
    • urbanisation tendencies
    • abandonment of the countryside by younger generations (brain drain)
    • digital divide, disadvantage in the access to services and opportunities of the contemporary Information Society



multigrade schools more challenges
Multigrade schools: more challenges…
  • Significant challenges of the multigrade classroom
  • Insufficient initial professional training
  • Inexperienced, newly-appointed teachers (typically)



teachers need for professional development
Teachers’ need for professional development
  • To acquire knowledge and skills
  • To develop personal competences falling beyond the established teacher training curricula.



teachers need for professional development7
Teachers’ need for professional development
  • Not easy to offer conventional professional development provision (in-service training seminars):
    • Distance
    • Costs
    • Lack of substitute teachers



our background
Our background
  • Projects addressing the needs of the small rural schools, tackling their isolation and bridging the digital divide
our response to the challenges
Our response to the challenges
  • Efforts to alleviate the isolation of teachers
  • Our main tool:
    • Provision of distance training, support and networking through ICT



our focus here
Our focus here
  • New leadership roles teachers can take in such schools, as investigated in the projects NEMED and RURAL WINGS
inviting the teacher to work with and for the local community



Inviting the teacher to work with, and for, the local community





linkages between the community and the school
Linkages between the community and the school
  • Miller (1995):
    • We should build and sustain strong linkages between the community and the school
    • Rural communities may have a head start in developing these linkages:
      • schools have traditionally played a central role in the life of the communities



rural schools promoting personal and community development
Rural schools promoting personal and community development
  • Diverse roles that the remote rural school can play
    • recorded in the literature
diverse school roles
Diverse school roles

Salant & Waller (1998):

  • non-educational impact of schools on rural communities
  • multi-faceted school-community relationship
    • positive economic and social impacts
    • a resource for community development
    • offering a delivery point for social services.
links between education and rural development
Links between education and rural development
  • Educational attainment is seen as a rural development strategy through which a better educated rural population leads to greater economic growth

Barkley, Henry, & Haizhen, 2005; Beaulieu & Gibbs, 2005

links between education and rural development16
Links between education and rural development
  • Recent studies in the USA:
    • more rapid earnings and income growth in rural counties with high educational levels
    • improving local schools can reverse the tendency of loss of young adults through outmigration (‘rural brain drain’)





community development not only economic

Community Development



Community development: not only economic
  • Economic well-being
  • Social well-being
  • Environmental well-being
social capital a crucial concept
Social capital: a crucial concept
  • ‘Social capital’:
    • social organization and resources embedded in the social structure of the rural communities, which can facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit, and thus community development.



social capital a crucial concept19
Social capital: a crucial concept
  • Woodhouse (2006):
    • Social capital exerts a positive causal influence on economic development.





social capital a crucial concept20
Social capital: a crucial concept
  • Miller (1995):
    • The school is an important element in the creation of community’s social capital.





this remains a challenge
This remains a challenge
  • A strong school-community partnership remains a major challenge:
    • this is not generally viewed as a traditional element of schooling
  • Approaches are needed that cross the boundaries traditionally separating the community as a place of learning from the school
community based learning
Community-based learning
  • Miller (1995):
    • Teachers working in partnership with local leaders and residents
    • Giving students meaningful opportunities to engage in community-based learning that serves the needs of both the community and the students.
three approaches miller 1995
Three approaches (Miller, 1995)
  • The school as a community centre
  • The community as curriculum
  • School-based enterprise
three approaches miller 199524
Three approaches (Miller, 1995)

1) The school as a community centre

  • a resource for lifelong learning
  • a vehicle for the delivery of a wide range of services
  • school resources (facilities, technology, well-educated staff) can provide educational and retraining opportunities for the community.
three approaches miller 199525
Three approaches (Miller, 1995)

2) The community as curriculum

  • Study of the community in its various dimensions.
  • Students generate information for community development:
    • conducting needs assessments
    • studying and monitoring environmental and land-use patterns
    • documenting local history through interviews and photo essays.
three approaches miller 199526
Three approaches (Miller, 1995)

3) School-based enterprise

  • Developing entrepreneurial skills
  • Students not only identify potential service needs in their rural communities, but actually establish a business to address those needs.
inviting the teacher to become a change agent in the community
Inviting the teacher to become a change agent in the community
  • He/she will catalyse innovation and development in the school and the local community
  • He/she will turn the declining school into a lively node supporting lifelong learning for everyone
  • The rural school will become more responsive to the growth and survival needs of its community
  • Education will develop responsible citizens and create opportunities for tomorrow's rural leaders to emerge
the change agent
The change agent:
  • Challenges the status quo by comparing it to an ideal or a vision of change
  • Accepts, communicates and defends the need for change
  • Defines and initiates change
  • Translates the vision into the context of a specific change initiative
  • Causes crisis in order to support dramatic actions and change efforts
  • Leads and manages change
  • Understands the cultural dynamics
the case of satellite broadband internet
The case of satellite broadband internet
  • Satellite broadband connectivity is made available to the school
  • The teacher is encouraged to:
    • turn it into advantage and opportunity for all
    • promote the development of a new culture among local citizens
teacher s multiple roles
Teacher’s multiple roles
  • Typically, the teacher is already:
    • acting as the head of the small school
    • considered a prominent member of the isolated community
additional leadership roles
Additional leadership roles
  • Manager of change in an informal local ‘reform’
additional leadership roles34
Additional leadership roles
  • Instructional leader exploring new ways to improve the quality of teaching and learning
additional leadership roles35
Additional leadership roles
  • Developer of links and synergies between the school, the community and other schools in the area
additional leadership roles36
Additional leadership roles
  • Facilitator of communities of learning in, around, and outside, the school
additional leadership roles37
Additional leadership roles
  • Former and implementer of innovation matching local needs
questions arising
Questions arising
  • Obvious need for corresponding professional development:
    • Which form?
    • What content precisely?
    • Which competences?
possible professional development content
Possible professional development content
  • Pedagogies specifically adaptable to the ‘unusual’ settings of the small rural school
  • Solutions and opportunities of the Information Society
  • Innovation
  • Change management
  • Local and rural community development, etc.
questions arising40
Questions arising
  • Possible conflicts within a highly centralized educational system
possible conflicts
Possible conflicts
  • The teacher in this context is encouraged to initiate and implement an informal local ‘educational reform’
  • Little decentralisation and autonomy of school units is encouraged by the system
  • This discrepancy may be a source of interpersonal and interinstitutional tension
  • Even in the intrapersonal level:
    • internal conflicts between the teacher’s formal/recognised and informal/self-initiated leadership roles.
possible conflicts42
Possible conflicts
  • Even in the intrapersonal level:
    • internal conflicts between:
      • the teacher’s formal/recognised roles

and

      • informal/self-initiated leadership roles.
slide43
Barkley, D, Henry, M, & L Haizhen (2005). “Does Human Capital Affect Rural Growth? Evidence from the South”. In Beaulieu, L J, & R Gibbs (eds), The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America. Southern Rural Development Center and USDA, Economic Research Service.
  • Beaulieu, L J, & R Gibbs (eds) (2005). The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America. Southern Rural Development Center and USDA, Economic Research Service.
  • Miller, B (1995). “The role of rural schools in community development: Policy issues and implications”. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 11, 3, 163-172.
  • Salant, P, & A Waller (1998). What Difference Do Local Schools Make? A Literature Review and Bibliography. Annenberg Rural Challenge Policy Program, The Rural School and Community Trust.
  • Woodhouse, A (2006). “Social capital and economic development in regional Australia: A case study”. Journal of Rural Studies, 22, 83–94.