Open seminar: "The reform of education and leadership: Issues for research design and practice"

Welcome to this open seminar with Professor Helen Gunter, University of Manchester, UK.

Blomster og bok

Illustration: Pixabay

About the seminar

Public services education is currently undergoing rapid and radical reform and such reforms require educational professionals to shift from a focus on pedagogy, the curriculum and assessment towards the production of marketized services, and hence identity and practice are increasingly located in leader, leading and leadership. The rapid and pervasive demand for educational professionals to be ‘school’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ leaders, who lead an efficient, effective and excellent organization, and who exercise ‘relentless’ leadership in order to secure success in the market has become normalized. It seems that there is no alternative, where researchers need to ask questions about how and why this has happened and is continuing to happen. Studies have demonstrated how particular types of knowledge and know how have been globalized with the same words, strategies and people being sold to policy makers and professionals in an international market. It is argued that particular individuals and organizations, which might be labelled ‘policy actors’ have gained strong influence in educational policy making. In the seminar, we will bring new perspectives to how and why this situation has become extraordinarily ordinary, and some key questions regarding what is unfolding (and why counter-narratives are difficult but not impossible to construct) will be raised.


09:15. Welcome

09:20. Global trends in education reform. By Professor Helen Gunter.

  • The main globalizing reform trends in education policy over the past thirty years.
  • The knowledge production processes underpinning these reform trends.
  • Plenary and discussion

11:00. Activity 1: Examine what politicians and documents say about leadership. We will use an UK government example and a Norwegian government example

12:00. Lunch

13:00. Political and ideological transformations that have taken place during the last decades in Scandinavia. Lecture by Professor Jorunn Møller

14:00. Knowledge production and policy. How researchers gain understandings of the knowledge production processes in their respective fields. Lecture by Professor Helen Gunter

In addition

You may also be interested in attending the open lecture

  • "Knowledge production trends. The types and organizational location of policy actors and their exchange relation practices"

by Professor Helen Gunter and Professor Jorunn Møller, on May 8, 09:15 AM – 11:00 AM, Georg Sverdrup’s House, Group Room 1.

These open lectures are part of a PhD course held 7-8 May, organized by the research group CLEG.


Professor Helen Gunter's main research interest is in the modernisation of education as policy and practice at national and local levels. This has two strands to it:

Professor Helen Gunter, University of Manchester, UK. Photo: Private

how teachers, teaching, learners and learning are being structured through performance management systems, and more recently remodelling;

how knowledge production within the field of educational leadership has sustained or challenged these policy strategies.

She is particularly interested in using Bourdieus tools of field, habitus and capital to describe, understand, and explain modernisation.

She has been involved in a range of projects on policy change in education and how these developments are being handled, and in particular now interventions in practice support learning and learners. In addition to this she has led major projects on public policy and knowledge in the field of educational leadership.

Published May 2, 2019 11:49 AM - Last modified May 2, 2019 11:49 AM