Collective concept formation in educational management: An intervention study in São Paulo, Brazil

  • Mon­ica Fer­reira Lemos
  • Yrjö Engeström


The purpose of this paper is to analyze how a new concept of educational management was produced in a formative intervention project for manager educators in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Drawing on Vygotsky and Leontiev, we asked: What is the nature of the interplay between participants’ personal senses and the societal meaning of educational management in the process of collective concept formation? The collective concept formation discourse was analyzed in three steps: initial explication of a raw object, clashes in further elaboration of the raw object, and stabilization of the new concept. The raw object reproduced a taken-for-granted meaning of educational management as promoting conditions for teaching and learning. The clashes occurred mainly between the notion of management for teaching and learning and the notion of management for teaching and learning for community transformation. The stabilization was achieved by a vote and defined the purpose of educational management seemingly as it was already formulated in the raw object. However, this stabilization was temporary and involved attempts to transcend the opposition between the two alternative definitions. Thus, the actual meaning and concept of educational management remained open to further steps. In this paper, we report on how manager educators engage in a collective effort to conceptualize educational management. Our article proposes and tests a new theoretical framework for studying changes in educational management as processes of collective concept formation. 


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