Global social issues in the curriculum: perspectives of school principals

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In this article, we discuss principals’ perspectives on the priority given
to the place in the curriculum of and the supporting practices related
to health and sustainability education in schools in Denmark (for
pupils aged 6–16). The study is situated within the discourses about
critical health and sustainability education and treats the two issues
as societal challenges that are important to address in schools as
educational examples. We draw on the literature on school leadership
challenges linked to global neoliberal trends in educational reform.
The context of the study is the on-going school reform in Denmark.
The data were generated through an online survey of principals in
Denmark (n = 118). The findings show that although the principals
view school as an important arena for health and sustainability
education, their actual support for such education lags behind. Health
education is prioritized somewhat more than sustainability education;
however, both are characterized by insufficient attention to teachers’
professional development and the low prioritization of collaboration
within the school and between the school and community actors.
Acknowledging the contradicting demands that principals face in
the context of the reform, we argue for reconnecting the concept of
leadership with the wider purposes of schooling and for providing
space for an emergent, whole-school curriculum that addresses health
and sustainability.
TidsskriftJournal of Curriculum Studies
Sider (fra-til)630-649
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2016


  • Grundskole, Internationalisering/globalisering, Ledelse

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