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Browsing by Author "Vaarula, Sarianne"

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  • Vaarula, Sarianne (2011)
    Research objectives. The Special Education Strategy, the legislative change based on it, and the change in the Finnish National Core Curriculum for Pre-primary and Basic Education build the background for this study. An improvement initiative called KELPO was founded in 2008 to implement a new three-level support system in municipalities. To support this initiative, the Network of Intensified and Special Support in the Metropolitan Area was founded in 2010. The Network consists of 22 pilot schools from four metropolitan municipalities and the Centre for Educational Assessment at the University of Helsinki that carries out the developmental assessment of the initiative. The objective of my study was to form an overall view of the functioning of the Network. The data included interviews of 20 principals of the schools belonging to the Network. The interviews were conducted by the Centre for Educational Assessment in the autumn of 2010. The research question is: What do principals speak about the networking done inside and between the municipalities? Methods. I received the data as already transcribed for my use. I researched it using a narrative research approach. As a method I used both thematic reading and classifying narratives by the holistic-content. These methods belong under the analyze of narratives. I collected the narratives from the principals under themes that arose from the data delimited by my research question. The narrative analysis materialized by writing the research story, as a new story was built by the principals' stories theme by theme. The classification of the narratives by the holistic-content method was realized according to what kind of a gatekeeper's role each principal had. With a gatekeeper I here mean the intermediary role of a principal between the school and outside world. In addition, I used the analysis of interactive production of the narrative when applicable. Results and conclusions. Explicit features in the story of the Network were the principals', at least partial, uncertainty of the purpose of the networking, lack of time and resources, changing of initiatives, and lack of continuity. Positive narratives about ownership and empowerment could also be found. Nonetheless, many of the preconditions for success described by the school reform and school networking theories were not fulfilled. According to the collective story, there was no shared goal or purpose, and nor were the needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness fulfilled. Three different kinds of gatekeepers were found in the data: The Exemplary ones, The Survivors and The Losers. The distinguishing factor turned out to be sharing of information at school. Based on the narratives, the schools with principals taking care of sharing information were the most active in partaking in networking.