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Challenges faced by national educational authorities when implementing school development: A qualitative case study about an attempt to create accessible teaching environments in a Swedish municipality’s pre-schools and schools
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3228-9430
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6530-3019
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Educational Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1570-1817
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4793-871X
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Challenges faced by national educational authorities when implementing school development: A qualitative case study about an attempt to create accessible teaching environments in a Swedish municipality’s pre-schools and schools.

1. Research topic/aim

National school authorities regularly introduce new concepts for school development to be implemented “at a grassroots level”. This paper addresses one such school development concept implemented in a Swedish municipality. Its goal was to increase children’s’ and students’ access to learning environments in schools and pre-schools. Implementation of this pedagogical concept was to proceed over a longer period of time and be linked to systematic quality work carried out in the municipality. The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss how the implementation process was perceived by the school administration, teachers and other personal during the time the concept was introduced and thereafter.

2. Theoretical framework

The point of departure for this study is how the implementation process is related to what in Sweden is referred to as chain of governance. The chain of governance is the main principal for the organizational framework that creates structure for top-down management and as such is central to describing and understanding the implementation process within this framework. Implementing educational concepts is often considered relatively unproblematic by school authorities, however there are indications that there are a number of difficulties to overcome.

3. Methodological design

The study is based on a qualitative case study that is limited to one preschool, one school and the project's steering group. The research design can be characterized as an ongoing evaluation project, a term that has been used more and more in recent years related to different types of development projects in order to achieve a number of advantages pertaining to evaluation, research and organizational development. A central idea of ongoing evaluation research is to increase the effectiveness of development work by providing ongoing feedback to project management, but also by contributing to systematic learning, generating new research-based knowledge as well as demonstrating alternative ways of solving problems.

Collecting data from several sources allowed for data triangulation. The compilation and analysis of data is based on a hermeneutic interpretation related to the theoretical basis of the study. The results are based on both the managements’ and the staffs’ perspectives both of which are compared and contrasted to each other. Interest is directed at the processes that were initiated and what took place in those processes.

4. Expected conclusions/findings

The study is expected to show how the project's steering group acted to implement the evaluation tool, how they tried to transform the project concept into practical activities, how they informed and communicated with the staff concerned, how they organized the work and how they addressed the problems that arose along the way. This description is contrasted with how school management and staff describe what happened when the concept was applied in their organizations.

5. Relevance to Nordic educational research

There is a general interest in showing how centrally formulated concepts are implemented at the local level, because in many countries similar initiatives are being carried out, albeit in other areas. An increased understanding of this can contribute to increased general knowledge of implementation processes, but also in this specific case to problematize the concept of accessibility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-27796OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-27796DiVA, id: diva2:1216756
Conference
The Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges 8-10 March 2018, University of Oslo, Norway
Available from: 2018-06-12 Created: 2018-06-12 Last updated: 2018-06-13Bibliographically approved

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von Ahlefeld Nisser, DésiréeLundgren, MatsOlsson, MariaLindqvist, Gunilla

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CiteExportLink to record
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