Alignment in Teacher Education and Distribution of Leadership: An Example concerning Learning Study

Article excerpt

Introduction: Leadership in society

In this presentation three critical aspects of education are lifted forward: the aspects of distribution of professional leadership, of alignment in learning and of research close to practices. The aim is to exemplify a research project, according to the mentioned aspects, with learning study as an approach for alignment between teacher education and practice supervisors' practice, and as consequence an instrument for distribution of power and leadership in teacher education and also between teacher education and practice. Learning study is an approach for developing lessons, using a theory of variation, the later described in Marton, Runesson and Tsui (2004). The expected result of a learning study is primary pupils' learning and for teacher education, systematic scientifically knowledge, developed in a way possible for teachers and teacher students to apply and distribute. In the conduction of a learning study there are similarities to action research, and action research also is a way of distributing leadership and power in an involving democratic way, see e.g. Sharmann (2007).

The meaning of learning in education is changing continuously in line with changes in society Research with postmodern perspectives is lifting forward changes in society in multiple ways also according to education. Hargreaves (1999) e.g. is pointing out that it is hard to forecast what kind of development that will arise and what development of e.g. knowledge that will be needed. Because of the changes the concept lifelong learning were developed and this means that it is not possible for e.g. educational organizations to determine what knowledge and capabilities that will be useful in the students' and pupils' future lives.

If using Hargreaves reasoning, a consequence of lifelong learning is that the educational organizations have to make it possible for students and pupils to learn how to cope with development and to learn to judge what knowledge that will be needed to learn according to development in society. There are also probably aspects that are critical for the development of learning and knowledge in educational organizations as schools and teacher educations. Examples of such probable critical aspects are epistemological and ontological assumptions for learning, as well as awareness of learning culture and history of the organization.

The government in a society often wants to manage the educational development among others by curricula and syllabuses. When the curricula Lpo 94 (Utbildningsdepartementet (1), 2006b) and Lpf 94 (Utbildningsdepartementet, 2006a) where introduced in Sweden, it was obvious that teachers' roles also were in change all in line with both pupils' and teachers' lifelong learning. Madsen and Risberg (1994) lifted forward the changed and widened teacher role as a consequence of the new curricula. The authors proposed that the teacher profession should include that teachers individually should be able to integrate relevant competencies for the teacher role. In line with the teachers' responsibility for their own development, pupils' ability to be responsible for their own learning and learning process, where lifted forward.

A conclusion of the authors' propositions is that the, by politicians changed teacher role implicitly aimed at changes in instruction for the development of pupils' lifelong learning. Lpo 94 (Utbildningsdepartementet, 2006b) and Lpf 94 (Utbildningsdepartementet, 2006a) are claiming pupils' influence, also concerning the pupils' own learning. One interpretation of these claims is that teachers specifically should take notice of each individual's needs, learning and involvement and at the same time globally take notice of the needs, learning and involvement of a group of twenty to thirty pupils.

Another conclusion made in the government bill, (Regeringens proposition, 1999/2001:135) was that because of the widened teacher role teachers needed in-service training for integrating general teacher competence with subject knowledge. …