Trust and Control in Implementing Changes: A Study of How Principals Handle Changes in Time Allocated for Math in Primary Schools

Laila Niklasson


Depending on the national context, school principals are more or less used to continuous development. Impetus for development can come from different areas, such as professional organizations or research studies, and different levels, such as national or local initiatives. In Sweden, several initiatives for teaching development have been initiated since 2010 due to low scores on mathematics tests (PISA and TIMMS) and based on research. Therefore, an increase in teaching hours for mathematics in compulsory schools was implemented in 2012 at the national level. The aim of this study is to present and discuss how principals have coped with this change. As the change mostly concerned grades 1–3 (primary school pupils aged 7–9), principals responsible for this level were asked to complete an e-mail questionnaire and interviewed. The findings show that the principals prioritized organizational changes. Revisions had to be made to all schedules for teachers and pupils as well as some of those for recreational instructors and even school buses. The principals also promoted continuing education in mathematics for teachers. All of the changes were accepted by principals, staff, and parents. In contrast, few pedagogical issues were otherwise brought up and the follow-up to the change was not systematic. The different levels in the steering chain show that all levels believed that the next level down, or the level above, should carry out their duty concerning organization. On the other hand, the entire national initiative for time allocation and continuing education can be perceived as showing distrust in how the local level and professionals have handled the development of teaching math.

Klíčová slova

educational change; principals; trust; organization

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Časopis Ústavu pedagogických věd FF MU.

Výkonná redakce: Klára Šeďová, Roman Švaříček, Zuzana Šalamounová, Martin Sedláček, Karla Brücknerová, Petr Hlaďo.

Redakční rada: Milan Pol (předseda redakční rady), Gunnar Berg, Michael Bottery, Hana Cervinkova, Theo van Dellen, Eve Eisenschmidt, Peter Gavora, Yin Cheong Cheng, Miloš Kučera, Adam Lefstein, Sami Lehesvuori, Jan Mareš, Jiří Mareš, Jiří Němec, Angelika Paseka, Jana Poláchová Vašťatková, Milada Rabušicová, Alina Reznitskaya, Michael Schratz, Martin Strouhal, Petr Svojanovský, António Teodoro, Tony Townsend, Anita Trnavčevič, Jan Vanhoof, Arnošt Veselý, Kateřina Vlčková, Eliška Walterová.

Časopis vydává čtyři čísla ročně.

ISSN 1803-7437 (print), ISSN 2336-4521 (online)