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Just leadership in Multicultural School – Head Teacher’s Ethical Device. Conference on Diversity and Global Education Thematic Group: Intercultural education, social justice and equity  25.4.2008 Katri Kuukka Educational Consultant, Doctoral Student. Aim and Background of the Study.

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just leadership in multicultural school head teacher s ethical device

Just leadership in Multicultural School – Head Teacher’s Ethical Device

Conference on Diversity and Global Education

Thematic Group: Intercultural education, social justice and equity 25.4.2008

Katri Kuukka

Educational Consultant, Doctoral Student

Katri Kuukka

aim and background of the study
Aim and Background of the Study
  • Working title: Head teachers’ ethical thinking and leadership in multicultural school
    • social justice seen here as one aspect of virtue, virtues seen as part of normative ethics > schools seen as normative communities
    • multicultural school seen here as a school with a considerable amount of pupils of immigrant background
  • Why?
    • own professional experience during 13 years in Helsinki City Education Dpt – also a general phenomenon in globalizing, pluralistic western societes:
      • schools have become more diverse
      • demands and needs of different interest groups have become more diversified
      • nature of school administration has altered dramatically
      • teachers and head teachers need advice – and device for ethical discussion and practice in school context
  • Why head teachers?
      • key figures of the school: responsible power holders, treasurers, pedagogical leaders…and essential moral agents?
      • “Values, morals and ethics are the very stuff of leadership and administrative life”. (Hodgkinson 1991)
      • educational leadership has a moral purpose (Fullan and Hargreaves 1991; Greenfield 2004)

Katri Kuukka

head teachers ethical framework
Head teachers’ ethical framework

”In a multicultural education situation the educator can or cannot believe in god.

S/He can trust on the reality of the values or consider them as social constructions.

This doesn’t effect the basic task of value education. - - From now on we are

”doomed” to multiculturalism, which is not the end of the value education but a

new possibility”. (Huttunen, Tynjälä & Heikkinen 2003) (italics mine)

Head teachers are also ”doomed” to

  • follow the rules
    • The Constitution of Finland
    • Basic Education Act, Basic Education Decree
    • Government Decree on the General National Objectives and Distribution of Lesson Hours in Basic Education
    • National Core Curriculum (included ”acceptance of multiculturalism” as one basic value)
    • other acts, decrees, procedures, guidelines
  • implement school curriculum
    • action plan, annual report
  • manage and lead
    • rules of procedure

Katri Kuukka

value basis defined in municipality specific guidelines
Value Basisdefined in municipality-specific guidelines

In the schools of of Helsinki city

  • everyone has the right to culture and good education, to grow as a learner, and as a human being;
  • we act in a democratic way so that everyone has the possibility to grow up as a responsible member of the community and to influence the common matters;
  • we promote equality, respect everyone’s human dignity and take care of friendly atmosphere, safety and well-being together;
  • we value Finnish culture and everyone’s own cultural background and promote the interaction between the cultures;
  • we don’t allow any kind of violence, discrimination or racism;
  • we undertake to promote sustainable development and learn to take responsibility of the environment and the future.

Katri Kuukka

head teacher s ethics
Head Teacher’s Ethics
  • professional
    • legislative framework
    • ethical codes > as civil servant, as qualified teacher, as head teacher
  • personal
    • values, beliefs, assumptions, attitudes
    • history, experiences as an individual
    • mindset/worldview
  • teleolocigal – what’s good > the purpose of the school
  • deontological – what’s right > the normative culture of the school
  • consequental – what’s next > the most useful solutions for the school (Launonen 2006)
  • intertwined, situational, reflexive/non-reflexive…

Katri Kuukka

existing device
Existing Device
  • Guideline documents
    • Multicultural education plan
    • Aspects of the tuition of Muslim pupils
    • Aspects of the assessment of second language speakers
  • Interpretation services
  • Pedagogical advisors for
    • preparatory tuition
    • FLS-tuition
    • mother tongue and Islamic religion tuition
    • pupil welfare
  • Financial support for teaching materials added to school budgets
  • In-service training for teachers, head teachers and other school staff
  • On-line information on the web-site

Katri Kuukka

leadership in school as it should be
Leadership in school – as it should be
  • Ethical (Sergiovanni, Starratt, Greenfield)
  • Transformational (Leithwood & Jantzi)
  • Authentic (Begley)
  • Distributed (Spillane)
  • Democratic (Woods)
  • Responsible (Maak & Pless, Starratt)
  • Sustainable (Hargreaves & Fink, Fullan)
  • For diversity (Lumby & Coleman)
  • For social justice (Blackmore)
  • ”Social justice scholarship in educational leadership emphasizes moral values, justice, respect, care, and equity; always in the forefront is a consciousness about the impact of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and disability on schools and students’ learning.” (Cambron-McCabe & McCarthy2005)

Katri Kuukka

problem statement
Problem Statement
  • What kind of ethical thinking head teacher is expressing in his/her discourse?
  • What kind of leadership head teacher's action is representing?
    • What kind of ethical dilemmas are typical in multicultural school?
    • What kind of values head teacher expresses?
  • What kind of vision of a multicultural school is head teacher's thinking connected to?

Katri Kuukka

  • thematic interviews (with a pinch of in-depth approach) in 2004
    • 14 female and 11 male heads, of whom
    • 20 at lower lever, 2 at upper level, and 3 at comprehensive schools
    • ~25 % of municipal comprehensive schools
  • content analysis

Katri Kuukka


Theme # 1: Multiculturalism in school

  • definitions of multiculturalism
  • multiculturalism as a challenge and a resource in the school
  • multiculturalism staff requirements

Theme # 2: Multicultural school

  • atmosphere and working culture
  • the joint responsibility of educating: school, care takers
  • challenges, dlemmas, conflicts linked to multiculturalism
  • surprising/not anticipated situations > solutions
  • what would you do -questions

Theme # 3: Head teacher’s role

  • involvement in various dilemmas
  • courses of action
  • required characteristics
  • survival strategies

Theme # 4: The vision of a multicultural school

  • definitions of an optimal multicultural school
  • this school after ten years
  • the task of the school in a multicultural society - head’s role?

Katri Kuukka

ethical dilemmas faced
(Ethical) Dilemmas Faced
  • violence
  • threatening with violence
  • troublesome _individuals_
  • arguments/conflicts between ethnic groups
  • religious fanatism and absoluteness
  • participation in art and physical education
  • underestimation of female teacher
  • prejudices towards psychological tests and special education

Katri Kuukka

background of solutions
Background of Solutions
  • Appealing
    • Finnish school legislation: ”I had all the piles in front of me and I read the basic education act…which subjects includes in lower level and so forth…”
    • school curriculum: ”We’ve said that you participate [music lessons]. Period. It is said in the curriculum and your teacher takes care that your religion is not insulted.”
    • municipal guidelines: ”And then we went through those text, digged on the net, and after thet is wasn’t a problem any more, when he realized that no one is converting his child to anything…”
    • Holy Quran: ”Show me the point where it’s said that a pupil cannot attend music lessons.”
  • Flexibility
    • ”Physical education is one thing…We have been drifted to adapt, so if that is so tough thing, the child moves according to circumstances…”
  • Personal reflection
    • ”I think that it cannot be any woman’s choice that even her eyes are covered.”
    • ”In the meantime you just think that both ow us want the best of the child…But we just have difference in views of it..”

Katri Kuukka

actions towards just ethical leadership
Actions Towards Just/Ethical Leadership
  • preventive actions
      • teaching arrangements
      • flexible structures
      • support of mother tongue teacher
  • external support
      • experts
      • education department
      • multidisciplinary networks
  • professional apathy (Airaksinen 1993)
  • slow knowledge - patient leading (Claxton 1999, Hargreaves & Fink 2006)

Katri Kuukka

  • Airaksinen, T. (ed.) 1993. Ammattien ja ansaitsemisen etiikka. 3. painos. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino.
  • Fullan, M.G. and Hargreaves, A. 1991. What’s Worth Fighting For? Working together for your school. Australian Council for Educational Administration, Hawthorn.
  • Cambron-McCabe, N. & M. McCarthy, M. 2005. Educating school leaders for social justice. Educational Policy, Vol. 19, No. 1, 201-222.
  • Claxton, G. 1999. Hare brain, tortoise mind: Why intelligence increases when you think less. Hopewell, NJ: Ecco Press.
  • Greenfield, W.D. 2004. Moral leadership in schools, Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 174-96.
  • Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D. 2006. Sustainable leadership. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Huttunen, R., Tynjälä, P. & Heikkinen, H.L.T. 2003 Rakentavasti konstruktivismista. Puolimatkan kriittisen kritiikin kritiikki. Kasvatustieteen päivät 20.11.2003.

Katri Kuukka