Vocational teachers taking the lead: VET teachers and the career services for teachers reform in Sweden
Keywords:Vocational teachers, educational leadership, school improvement, advanced skills teachers
In 2013 the Swedish government launched a reform on career services for teachers that introduced first-teachers as a new category of teachers. Since this reform still is in the process of being rolled out, we know fairly little of its impact, especially concerning VET teachers that are appointed first-teachers. This paper explores and analyses two cases of VET first-teachers with focus on the implications on educational leadership practices in their work with school improvement where ‘distributed leadership’ is used as a lens for understanding the characteristic features of leader-ship practices. The results show that the VET first-teachers consider themselves to represent an important educational leadership being process leaders for creating a culture built on mutual trust, turning the focus of school improvement from a ‘top-down’ perspective to change ‘from below’. They become ‘brokers’ and a link between school management and their colleagues, even if there are some difficulties. Moreover they visualise different practices and foster a new awareness – concerning e.g. assessment and the relationship between school and work-place – that seem to influence collegial discourse.
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