Over the last few years the world has experienced some turbulent times with major changes which have had a destabilising effect and led to a prevailing feeling of uncertainty. Obviously, education is no exception, it is facing many challenges in the rapidly changing, highly technological, economically driven and globalizing world of the 21stcentury. In relation to this and as a consequence of the 4thindustrial revolution, a global MindShift is often mentioned. The way we live, work, connect, value, think and also learn is changing rapidly. In this context, education regularly comes across new trends and findings about leadership, learning and teaching. However, it is noteworthy, that education systems are still largely based on schools; institutions that are organized on principles and regulations laid down in the 19thcentury. Many countries are in the process of reforming their education system for this reason but are faced with the same dilemma; would tinkering around the edges be enough or does it require a complete overhaul of the whole system. Is it a matter of altering some aspects or is a paradigm shift required?

From the moment we realise that educating the way we did in the past no longer works, we realise the real need for change.  If we want to know where the changes will lead and how effective they will be, then we first need to find answers to some of the key issues of education and educational leadership. That is why the theme of the conference is directed to the question we as education community need to focus on: What are the big questions about educational leadership and what should we do about them?

The theme has three subthemes:

  • How do educational leaders deal with new social, economic and cultural contexts?
  • Can educational leaders keep up with digitalization?
  • How do new findings on learning affect educational leaders?



How do educational leaders deal with new social, economic and cultural contexts?

There is a growing concern that the role of schools designed for the industrial age has not changed enough to deal with the complex challenges schools are facing today. Rapid changes are globally forming a new and different social, economic and cultural context. More than ever educational leaders are facing the difficult task of meeting high expectations to improving teaching and learning. Accordingly, educational leaders must approach and view education differently and the research findings, approaches, innovations, tips, examples of good practices presented at the conference will indicate possible approaches about how to manage that difficult task.

Possible connections to the subtheme could be:

  • Social and group relationships
  • Academic socialization
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Parental involvement in children’s learning
  • The challenge of cultural diversity and facing language barriers
  • The role and meaning of culture and cultural differences
  • School Characteristics and dealing with poverty

Can educational leaders keep up with digitalization?

Over the last few years, we can observe the existence of a worldwide social debate about the digital future of our society. Being aware that according to the ITU report  more than 70% of the word’s youth, 830 million young people representing more than 80 per cent of the youth population in 104 countries and 94 % of young people in developed countries are online we can recognize the powerful influence of new technologies on all aspects of our society. Many technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, smart boards, applications and tools have impact the way we live, communicate, socialize, learn and teach. This has triggered a whole set of speculations about the necessity, role, implementation, obstacles etc. of ICT driven educational reforms. It is high time to loosen negative attitudes towards ICT and recognize it as an important tool for education.


Possible connections to the subtheme could be:

  • Leading the integration of technology into schools
  • Obstacles to the integration of ICT in education and staff development
  • e-learning and digital literacy
  • ICT driven socialization – Social web
  • Educational applications


How do new findings on learning affect educational leaders?

The new perceptions about the functioning of the brain calls some “old” knowledge about learning into question. This forces us to question about our beliefs about learning; how aware are we about new findings on learning, how does the teacher’s role in practice changes, how does it affect the existing learning styles and, ultimately, what is the role and the responsibility of the educational leaders?  The important question of transferring this new knowledge into the daily practice of learning and teaching is also raised. There is no doubt, that the effort of the school leaders is of the utmost importance, but they will often dependent on the support and help of other professional institutions involved in the teacher training programmes. Discussions on this topic will provide a background for the future work towards more efficient use of new findings on learning in classrooms.


Possible connections to the subtheme could be:

  • Encouraging the introduction of innovation in education
  • Leading the integration of neuroscience of learning and neuromyths in to classroom practises
  • The social nature of learning/knowledge acquisition
  • The shift from a passive consumer to an active knowledge gathering participant
  • Education for the 2030 skills


We encourage proposals focusing on the conference theme and subthemes. What lessons can we learn from current practices in our countries, what do we need to do differently and do we know, what the big questions are?