ΤΕΥΧΟΣ 22

ΤΕΥΧΟΣ 22

ISSUE 22

Autumn 2014

EDITORIAL

D. Mattheou

CONTENTS

School leadership, two decades now, have emerged as a dominant factor of school effectiveness and school improvement. This very fact is the fuse of writing this article, which in particular aims to outline the evolutionary path of leadership theories, to present the fundamental axiomatic assumptions of each of them, to recapitulate  the research findings and to outline the primary reasons of the growing, at international level, political interest in school leadership. In particular, we present all those theories which were fundamental evolutionary steps in the course of the field of school leadership, starting with trait theories and continuing with modern and optimistic democratized approaches. Specifically, trait theories that appeared first in the field focused on desired leadership characteristics (traits). Second in the row were the behavioural approaches to school leadership that tried to detect successful leadership behaviours. Subsequently contingency theories stressed the need to match the appropriate leadership behaviour with the organizational context. From the 80s onwards, the optimistic approaches of transformational and visionary school leadership dominated the field. These approaches stressed the need for school leadership to act as an agent of change in mentalities, attitudes, structures or the overall structure of the organization. In recent years the dominant trend in school leadership is the democratization of its concept with the distribution of responsibilities and powers to the largest possible number of members of the teaching staff. However, the main weaknesses of theories of school leadership are that are normative, unilateral and partial.

In the epilogue we list the main reasons which justify the growing interest of policy makers in school leadership. These reasons stem from the political need to consolidate reforms and to implement and consolidate the principles of New Public Management in education. The findings of scientific research on the contribution of school leadership in school effectiveness and school improvement also demonstrate the importance of school leadership as a key factor for sustainable school outcomes. However the sustainability of school outcomes requires, in the context of late modernity, the formulation of a holistic model of school leadership

Iceland and Greece are geographically and culturally two contrasting countries. In Iceland emphasis is placed on the social welfare model and the social pedagogical perspective in early childhood education is respected and practiced. In view of the relative weakness of Greek economic development and civil society, the Greek centralist state has always played a dominant role in education in general and particularly in preschool education. It is expected that these social and cultural differences are mirrored in the preschool curricula of the two countries. In this paper the National curriculum guidelines of both countries were compared. Content analysis was applied to compare cultural values and pedagogical objectives in these documents. It was found that the Icelandic National Curriculum Guidelines (2003) puts the emphasis on play and on the development of “life skills”, whereas in the National Greek Cross-thematic Curriculum Framework (2003) cognitive approach is predominant.

This article explores the role of portfolio as a potential tool for learning and feedback in the context of formative evaluation of teaching. Perceptions and attitudes of teachers about the reliability and validity of the evaluation process are characterized by intense doubt and disbelief which prompt for a shift from the summative to a formative teacher evaluation focused on teaching improvement. The overarching question of this literature research is whether the portfolio can serve the need for a valid and reliable improvement of teaching through formative assessment in a continuous and non-threatening way in the context of lifelong learning.

At first, a brief description of the teaching portfolio and a literature review of studies conducted regarding the portfolio contribution to the improvement of educational work are provided. Most studies demonstrate reflection and self-regulatory learning as being the main advantages of portfolio as a tool for systemic teacher evaluation. The portfolio is a dynamic process of reflection based on the principles of organizational learning which is achieved through the cultivation of team culture and the development of dialogue. The portfolio aims to enhance teachers’ knowledge, skills and values through continuous monitoring of his/her evolution making him/her responsible and more active shareholder of his evaluation. It is claimed that reflection which leads in more efficient teaching practices and support for learning, constructive criticism which is part of the dialogue with his/her colleagues and self-assessment are potential benefits of the portfolio.

The next sections refer to the content and quality criteria of the portfolio. A description of an indicative teaching portfolio content is given which can be a teacher’s guide to the selection and collection of data documenting his/her professional development. This can include evidence of the teaching process, the effects of teaching on students’ learning and the teacher’s philosophy on teaching. Regarding the quality of the teaching portfolio, it must be determined by criteria which must not be arbitrary but should contribute to a critical evaluation of the portfolio and, also, consider the context of its composition, its origin as well as the process itself. The criteria should be negotiated between evaluators and evaluees and should aim to improve the quality of the educational process.

The paper ends with conclusions from the review of international practices and recommendations for the use of portfolio in the Greek educational system. In general, the survey results show that teachers react positively to the use of portfolio in education, which they consider could bring about significant positive results and give form and substance to the process of their educational development during their career. The teaching portfolio can guarantee reliability and validity of the procedure by establishing objective quantitative and qualitative criteria in collaboration with the teacher. What’s more, the mediation of a mentor who through constructive dialogue will support them in their quest for continuous professional renewal is proposed as a means of teachers’ reservations withdrawal. In the context of portfolio formative evaluation, the mentor will help teachers develop mechanisms that will help them link reflection on their work with their commitment to undertaking activities to improve their teaching practices and cultivate a desire for experiential learning through reflective practice.

This study aims at providing a systematic analysis of the aims of the primary school subjects, as these are outlined in the previous (1996) and new (2010) national curricula for public schools in the Republic of Cyprus, in order to explore the philosophical orientations that permeate them and identify their possible continuity or change. The article briefly outlines aspects concerning definitions and research in the study of curricula and explains the context within which the new curricula in Cyprus have been shaped.  The methodology combined content and discourse analysis techniques.  The results of this comparison are presented in detail per school subject and then discussed as a whole in terms of their implications for issues of curriculum theory, curriculum studies research, as well as issues of curriculum change and review in the particular context. 

This study aims at providing a systematic analysis of the aims of the primary school subjects, as these are outlined in the previous (1996) and new (2010) national curricula for public schools in the Republic of Cyprus, in order to explore the philosophical orientations that permeate them and identify their possible continuity or change. The article briefly outlines aspects concerning definitions and research in the study of curricula and explains the context within which the new curricula in Cyprus have been shaped.  The methodology combined content and discourse analysis techniques.  The results of this comparison are presented in detail per school subject and then discussed as a whole in terms of their implications for issues of curriculum theory, curriculum studies research, as well as issues of curriculum change and review in the particular context. 

This article describes the situation in the field of Roma (Gypsies) education in Greece and tries to critically analyze and evaluate some aspects related to the current economic and especially educational structural reforms. The adaptation of market model in Greek educational system, require some changes that are likely to have far-reaching consequences for the education of minority population and especially Roma, the “European Blacks”.

In its first part, the paper notes some key issues that impacts to the educational integration of Roma pupils in schools and to the social inclusion of Roma individual and groups. More analytically, Roma, are named individuals and groups of people who have some distinct cultural elements. A big part of Roma residents of Greece is illiterate and Roma pupils in schools face many problems to their educational integration. That’s why special compensatory educational programs under the name “educational integration of Tsigganopaides” have been organized and applied to combat Roma educational disadvantages. The fact that most Roma are Greek citizens has been caused some problems to the implementation of these programs. Furthermore, the problems are proliferating by the absence of Roma and of people of educational community (teachers’ federations, administrators, school counselors) from the planning and the application of these programs.

In the last section of this paper, on the basis of its critic, the author suggests that educational police for school integration of Greek Roma pupils could be effective when it will be combined with politics and actions which concerns residential, healthy, poverty, unemployment, as well as problems of discriminations and racist harassment these people face.

Intercultural education can be viewed as a means of school improvement as it exposes the school unit to alternative multicultural teaching and learning environments, thus reinforcing the comparative study between countries and systems, in order to select the most appropriate ones.
A common tenet between various notions of intercultural education is the assumption that the curriculum must include various courses, programs and practices as a means of reducing the impact of disablement of individuals from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds; barriers which often inhibit individuals from reaching their full potential and from accessing social, political, economic and educational opportunities (Banks, 1999). Thus, it becomes an urgent necessity for certain strategies to be incorporated into the school system, if the educational system is to at all face the current multicultural reality and the needs of all students within the system. (Markou, 2001: 74).
However, schools do not always have the capacity, the skills nor often the will to incorporate strategies which will bring about the necessary improvements and change on their own. Thus, innovative actions must initially come from sources outside the school.
The development and implementation of the Program ‘Inclusion of Repatriated Greek and Foreign Migrant Students in School Education’ by the University of Athens with the collaboration with the National Ministry of Education forms such an innovative, support initiative. The Program has as a central focus, the support of multicultural schools by providing models of effective and diverse teaching and learning practices, by using specialized teaching media, by offering training and professional development opportunities and by creating new teaching and learning material. Specifically, the Program provides:
School based language support measures for repatriated and foreign students
Training and professional development programs in intercultural education for teachers and other members of the school community
Psychosocial support of teachers, students and their families
Specialised teaching and learning resources for language development and support material for intercultural interaction and communication
The present paper sets out to highlight to what extent the support measures within the Program have initiated improvement at the school level. The evaluation process extends to the entire geographical region of Greece, addressing school based issues in both primary and secondary education and covering a period of implementation from 2006-2008.
The methodological approach of the Program rests on the combination/synergy of theory and practice, research and policy formation, as a process of meeting the immediate educational needs of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds at the school level and meeting the needs of approach support measures at a systems levels: needs which emerge as a consequence of the dramatic demographic change of the community.