An interviwe with Jakob, the Tofthøjskolen´s Principal.

16th May 2018.

This interview has been developed with the director of the host school in Denmark. Jakob has answered our questions attentively and has given us valuable information about his performance in the tasks he develops in his school.

What do you consider a school principal’s biggest pressure?

Answer: The problems you are faced with as a princilpal are complex. I consider the hardest part to be able to deliver on different areas at the same time: student results, administrative procedures, eoconomy, peadagogical developement, different political agendas etc.

Part of the role of a school administrator is to be an example for students and employees. How do you feel about this role?

Answer: Beeing a rolemodel is part of the job as a school administrator. I generally feel ok about this, allthough it sometimes creates situations where you have to do things in ways that that you wouldn`t have, if you were not the principal of the school. All the employees at school are rolemodels, so this is in fact something which goes for teachers as well.

How do you manage when you want to develop colaborative projects, like STEAM´s projects?

Answer: I consider part of my job to succeed through others. In relation to collaborative projects this means that I must encourage and inspire others to take part in these projects. In relation to STEAM my role is to facilitate that Mette and others can succeed.

What are the educational leadership skills you most need to develop to advance your education career?

Answer: Leading teachers learning processes

How many student do you have in your school? and What about ther schedule? How many hours do the student spent at the school? Are the same for every grade?

Answer: We have 550 students at Tofthøjskolen. 0.-3. grade go to school 30 hours a week, 4.-6. grade go to school 33 hours a week and 7.-9. grade 35 hours a week

How do you manage the cohabitation between student in your school?

Answer: We have general rules for students to follow at school. Also We have allocated ressources to dealing with behavioral problems. Apart from that I don`t consider cohabition a very big issue

During this week we could see that in your school there are many teacher for special needed. Why do you need that?

Answer: We try to allocate ressources to whichever special need a student may have. We also have a class of students assigned to Tofthøjskolen with a set of special needs. I think it is my obligation as a school principal to try to adress whatever need the students may have in order for them to learn as much as possible within the ressources we recieve.

Relative to special needed, in Canary Island the schools is been working with inclusive methods/ model. What do you think about this?

Answer: The same thing applies in Denmark. I think inclusive methods are a moral obligation for schools to adobt. It could be interesting to compare methods/model between Denmark and Spain.

Overall some ideas that will be productive in the school are. We are introduce some ideas and would like to know what do you think about this?

  1. Establish a school-wide discipline policy and back the teachers on discipline. I believe more in talking to students about what problems they experience than in writing disciplinary policies
  2. Incorporate a school-wide homework policy that includes required reading and math practice at home for all students daily. This is something that I would like to introduce at my school. We have no consistent policy on homework.
  3. Monitor test data to determine which areas of the curriculum need to be improved. Most certainly a good idea. We try to make teacher teams work more with data.
  4. Plan teacher training (in-service) and evaluate its effectiveness. We have very few teacher training programs at Tofthøjskolen
  5. Determine, which instructional techniques are most effective, train the teachers and implement them in all classrooms. I don`t believe that much in `most effective` instructional techniques but more in capable professionals making relevant decisions and cooperating about whatever problems they have.
  6. Watch students in classrooms weekly. Yes, sure – if I had the time…
  7. Observe teachers and make specific recommendations for improvement as part of their evaluations. Yes. I`m trying to do this as much as possible
  8. Make sure students who need Special Education services receive them. I try the best I can
  9. Establish a test preparation program. No
  10. Implement a high-quality English as a Second Language program. Certainly!
  11. Create an after-school tutoring program. We don`t allocate ressources to that. We concentrate on making schoolhours as produktive as possible.
  12. Reward students for academic success and improved effort. I my opinion we don`t do that enough
  13. Train parents on how to help their children at home and provide the training in the native languages of the parents. We don`t allocate ressources to that. We concentrate on making schoolhours as produktive as possible.
  14. Provide translators for parents who do not speak English at conferences and meetings. Provide report cards in the languages students speak at home. We do both as good as possible.

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