Our joint research mission

The mission of the network is to conduct research on school development. We do this through collaboration starting from a joint research program.

In the research network we are interested in how preschools and schoos meet challenges, and how they try to change or improve their activities. Some of these challenges are a consequence of changes in society, and others come from politicians. Improvement work is of course also about the efforts of schools to make education better for children and students.

We conduct research on how the different levels and actors of the school system contribute to school development, but also how more and more external actors from non-profit, public, and private areas contribute to changing schools. School development has a long history. How it is conducted, who participates in it, and which interests affect it change over time. This makes school development an interesting area for research.

Our research program: School development as a metapractice

The joint research mission is formulated in the research program School development as meta-practice. The research program aims to generate knowledge about school development’s content and dynamics as well as the different actors of school development. It also generates knowledge about how the school’s stakeholders and the organizational levels of the school system interact with, and depend on, each other in school development.

Support for and collaboration with school professionals

The research network produces knowledge that can support those actors in the school sector who have school development as an interest or mission. To make this possible, we establish scientific collaborations with professionals in preschool and school, school principals, and school authorities. These collaborations are important to be able to produce knowledge that can be used in preschool and school by all who work there. Scientific partnerships can for example mean that researchers and professionals collaborate over time and develop knowledge together.

The school’s different metapractices as the primary object of study

Practices aimed at change as a rule target the school’s everday practices – one of the starting points of our research is therefore that school development can be understood as a meta-practice. Metapractices are usually established or arise when there is a need or motivation to change or develop the school’s everyday practices, for example teaching, grading, leisure-time activites, value-based work or student health. Metapractices can take place anywhere within the school system. They can involve many different stakeholders, but they are united by primarily aiming to change something in the school’s everyday activities.

Special focus on schools facing difficult challenges

The research program has a special focus on schools facing difficult challenges, and situations where society’s challenges manifest themselves in the everyday practices of preschools and schools. We generate knowledge about how preschools and schools address long-term difficulties in realizing the right to education, and how they face challenges linked to health issues or the risk of exclusion among children and students. We establish scientific partnerships to support schools in their work with facing and overcoming challenges.

The research program’s four knowledge interests

The research program aims to generate knowledge about how individuals, groups, and organizations within curriculum-driven forms of school engage in metapractices – in order to in some way change or improve the school’s current design and practices. Our research is directed toward all forms of school, organisational levels, and actors affected by the school system. The research network’s joint research mission can be formulated in four overarching knowledge interests:

  • To generate knowledge about the direction of school development in different schools and school forms in light of the tension between continuity and change that characterizes the school.
  • To generate knowledge about the actors and dynamics of school development given that school development means a changing landscape that cannot be separated from the development of society in general.
  • To generate knowledge about how preschools and schools take on difficult challenges and situations where society’s challenges manifest themselves in the everyday practices of pre-schools and schools.
  • To generate knowledge that can support the school’s professionals, as well as actors who have school development as a mission in their work, in achieving sustainable school development that ultimately rests on a promise to benefit students.