The European School Leadership Network is a project aimed to build a network based on a community of practice and learning with a trans-national perspective on educational leadership, a network of European School Leaders who are both practitioners in schools and learners, who will take part in a specially designed course in European School Leadership. The ESLN project is coordinated by European Schoolnet and began in October 2003.
European School Leadership Training Course
The course consists of three separate online modules with three linked working conferences. Central to the course is a moderated forum where participants can react to the content of the modules and interact with each other. To date there are 74 participants registered from 17 countries.
The themes of three modules are:
- The Moral Dimensions of Educational Leadership in Europe - June 2004 - December 2004.
- Professional Development from a European perspective – April 2005- December 2005.
- The Leadership of Change in an Emerging Europe - February 2006 – November 2006.
The modules are independent and participants may choose to do only one module or all three. Each module has a working conference, the theme of which incorporates the elements of 3 modules. The second working conference took place in Budapest 22nd - 24th September 2005.
The course – which is free - is open to all those currently involved in School Management at the level of principal (head teacher), deputy or assistant head teacher or other management position.
Each online module involves approximately 25 hours of study. It also involves the production of a case study, together with participation in the related working conference. Participants use the online forum to develop their thinking on their case study and the module themes together with their peers and visiting experts.
A certificate of completion signed by the members of the ESLN consortium, will be given to all participants who fully complete all elements of the module they are following.
The main experience of the ESLN project to date has been that not many of the participating group in Module 1 were familiar with the conventions of participation in an online course and found much more satisfaction in the face-to-face discussion during the working conference. However, they did feel that such online discussions had a value and that as they became more expert in their use, they would feel freer to use them. The groups that have signed up for module 2 appear to be more computer literate and have not expressed the same degrees of difficulty in managing the environment as Group 1.
It is significant that the school leaders involved in Module 1 felt the usefulness of such a community and were willing to promote and extend the network among their colleagues. Now that the eTwinning action has been launched, it could prove beneficial to encourage course participants to develop an eTwinning relationship with another colleague on the course, to develop, not only their relationship but also the thinking on the European dimension of their work.
The two biggest difficulties encountered so far have been the issue of language and the issue of timing. The chosen medium of the course, the discussions and the conferences has been English. This has posed difficulties for some participants. Choosing a common language of communication for a European wide discussion and community of practice seems unavoidable. The timing of course modules and the moderated discussion is also very significant. The first module ran from June to September, a time felt by participants not to be optimum as it cuts into school holidays. However, one must also avoid the start of school terms and the end of the school year as these are extremely busy times for school principals, so to pick the time to best run the online part of the course is challenging.
Download the background paper [doc]
Last changed: Wednesday, 17 August 2005