Who Leads, Who Is Being Led And What’s In Between? First Results From A Multimethod Study Into Educational Leadership In Switzerland
Type de référence
Langue de la référenceFrançais
Entité(s) de recherche
Référence APATulowitzki, P., Grigoleit, E., Progin, L., et Vuichard, A. (2023, janvier). Who Leads, Who Is Being Led And What’s In Between? First Results From A Multimethod Study Into Educational Leadership In Switzerland. Communication présentée à ICSEI Congress 2023 (International congress for school effectiveness and improvement), Vina del Mar, Chile.
Since the introduction of school leaders in Switzerland, they have taken on a prominent role in the management and development of schools. Despite this importance, research on school leadership in Switzerland is only emerging (Huber, 2016), often regionally limited (e.g. Tulowitzki & Progin, 2021; Windlinger, 2021) and focused on the formal position of the school leader. A distributed perspective on educational leadership (Spillane et al., 2009) has so far rarely been used. There is a lack of research that takes school leaders as well as informal leaders into account, although there are clear indications that in Switzerland, persons besides the school leader can play a significant role in leading and shaping schools (Strauss & Anderegg, 2020). This contribution aims to address these research gaps by examining school leadership as an interaction, across formal and non-formal agents and in situ. The following questions are central: Who exercises leadership in schools? Which topics are negotiated? What resources are mobilized for this purpose? How can the professional relationship structures be characterized? For the current first phase of the project, data was collected in four schools in the cantons of Vaud and Aargau from four researchers by means of shadowing-type observations, interviews and document analyses. Each school was visited for a four-week period. Each week of observation was accompanied by a “quick memo” in which researchers recorded and interpreted first findings. At the end of each four-week visit, researchers wrote a more systematic “analytic memo”. In line with an approach based on Grounded Theory, data collection at schools and reflection are taking place in constant alternation (Glaser & Strauss, 2010). Observational and interview data was transcribed, then analyzed in iterative passes, allowing for theories to emerge and to be reflected over the duration of the different waves of data collection. First results point to a high variation across schools. School size seemed to matter as well as fluctuation rates of teaching and leadership staff. New teachers were occasionally a source of change in innovation and leadership dynamics. Most leadership activities in smaller schools took place in the informal day-to-day (for example exchanges during breaks) as compared to formal settings (meetings and assemblies). In larger schools, leadership activities tended to be more formalized. Leadership appeared to correspond with certain positions but also with the number of years served in schools. In addition, “leadership routines” could be observed in several instances, for example regularly walking around and having quick exchanges or using certain conversational patterns. Findings from the full study will allow us to better understand how leadership is conceptualized but also enacted across different linguistic and cultural regions. In a world, in which increasing demands are placed on schools, the findings can allow for a reimagining of the roles of school leaders and teachers. In addition, the underlying professional identities of school leaders can be compared with results from studies like ISSPP or other international comparisons (e.g. Normand et al., 2021), furthering our understanding of how educational leadership is framed in various contexts.