Skolpolitik, skolutvecklingsarena och sociala processer
Sammanfattning: This dissertation is based on a case study of a series of events at a newly started Swedish high school. The study employs a qualitative methodology comprising of interviews, participant observation and analysis of text documents. The series of events opens with the grand visions of the municipality and the school's principal for the school and concludes with the teachers at the school unanimously acting to dismiss the principal. The purpose of the dissertation is to analyze this series of events in the light of the steering reforms and the optimistic attitudes towards school development in the 1990s. Thus the dissertation focuses on two different levels of the school system: on the one hand it looks at an actual school in crisis, on the other it looks at the policy level, which was predominated by an air of optimism. These two levels are linked in the dissertation via the concept school development arena. This connotes an analytical position towards which all principals and teachers were expected to move. When the school's local actors are in the school development arena they deal with the ?how? questions that the steering reforms turned over to them. If they do not enter the school development arena, the ?how? questions remain untreated and unanswered, resulting in not meeting the aims of the steering reforms. Against this background, a comprehensive drive towards the school development arena took place. This is expressed in the dominant school development discourse of the time that was carried by both school policy and school research. According to the discourse the principal should be a challenging leader, the teachers reflexive practitioners, and the school a learning organization. This dissertation shows that these directives pointed strongly towards the school development arena. The principal of the school in this study made great efforts to get the teachers to move into the school development arena, and this was the starting point for the pattern of social interaction that the dissertation focuses on. The social processes analyzed are interpreted using social psychological theory, symbolic interactionism, and Erving Goffman. Great analytical care is taken underline that social actions are not mechanical. How people act is rather a matter of how they define the situation. When the teachers define the principal's visions as ?nonsense?, they treated these visions as not worth bothering with. When the principal rewarded those teachers who entered the school development arena, his actions were deemed unfair, leading to protest and dissatisfaction. As the principal held steadfast to his course he was defined as autocratic and someone the teachers wanted to liberate themselves from.
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