The Prognosis of Future for Educational Leadership​: Observations of leadership and didactics in Danish upper secondary stx-schools

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International studies as well as Scandinavian studies (Uljens & Ylimaki, 2017) have proposed an accentuated interest in students learning, new forms of interaction based on proximity between formal leaders and teachers, to be present features of educational leadership. However, it remains open if this actually is the case when it comes to Danish upper secondary stx-school. The stx-school is recognized as solidly founded on the tradition of Bildung, characterized by autonomous teachers and democratic leadership. The question is, if educational leadership int this case actually has changed or if it is more of a ‘business as usual’. In this paper, findings from an ongoing Ph.D. study on educational leadership is presented. I explore respectively formal leaders and teachers experiences with and expectations of their interaction, in relation to developing teaching and education at the schools, and draw out a prognosis of future by asking: What are teachers’ and leaders’ experiences with, and expectations of the organizational forms they have engaged in over the last 15 years? and Which expectations to the development and conduction of teaching do formal leaders and teachers draw upon? Theoretically the exploration is founded on the works of the German sociologist, Niklas Luhmann ([1984] 2000). He suggests that society can be grasped as social systems that organize themselves, through autopoiesis. That is decisions are on the one hand observed as features of the present and on the other, as linked to both past and future, i.e. experience and expectation inherent in the school as an organization. In this way the Prognosis of future is established as a conceptual unity of teachers and leaders space of experience and horizon of expectation (Koselleck, 2004 [1979]). I draw on empirical data from respectively two ethnographic case-studies, a document study on political reforms conducted since 2005, and a study of international research literature study. The case-studies are processed by narrating them into two organizational stories (Czarniawska, 2004), focusing on what the experiences and expectations leaders and teachers draw on, when they explain changes in the ways they have been organized. Is it even relevant to assume that there have been any changes at all? This study concludes that leadership practice is challenged when it comes to developing appropriate ways to approach teaching. It adds to an emerging Scandinavian field of studies (Sivesind & Wahlström, 2017; Uljens & Ylimaki, 2017), that insist on combining educational leadership perspectives with didactical forms of realization.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date4 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020
EventNERA 2020: Rethinking the futures of education in the Nordic countries - University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Duration: 4 Mar 20206 Mar 2020


ConferenceNERA 2020
LocationUniversity of Turku
Internet address


  • management, organizational development and innovation
  • management
  • high school level education

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