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Sandström, M., Klang, N. & Lindqvist, G. (2019). Bureaucracies in schools - approaches to support measures in Swedish schools seen in the light of Skrtic’s theories. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 63(1), 89-104
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bureaucracies in schools - approaches to support measures in Swedish schools seen in the light of Skrtic’s theories
2019 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170, Vol. 63, no 1, p. 89-104Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, policy changes for provision of special support have been introduced, implying that teachers are obliged to provide and evaluate extra adaptations in regular classrooms prior to referring pupils to special support. The policy changes raise questions about school staffs’ views of support measures and of necessary professional competence for provision of the support measures. We conducted focus group interviews with 60 school staff representatives—headmasters, general education teachers, and special educators/school welfare teams—about their understandings of the new policy. The data were analyzed qualitatively, with the objective to explore school staffs’ approaches to the policy changes. Two main “ideal type approaches” were discerned, using Skrtic’s theories, viz. the bureaucracy approach and adhocracy approach. In the light of Skrtic’s theory, professionals’ reasoning about the new policy may reflect difficulties that are encountered in the process of implementing the policy in bureaucracy-steered schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2019
Keywords
Focus group dialogues, ideal type, approaches to support, inclusion, Swedish school staff
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-25183 (URN)10.1080/00313831.2017.1324905 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-06-04 Created: 2017-06-14 Last updated: 2019-03-05Bibliographically approved
Magnússon, G., Göransson, K. & Lindqvist, G. (2019). Contextualising inclusive education in education policy: the case of Sweden. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contextualising inclusive education in education policy: the case of Sweden
2019 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, ISSN 2002-0317Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

In this article, we regard inclusive education as a policy phenomenon that contains a range of ideas about the purpose of education, the content of education and the organization of education. As a political ideal expressed in policy, inclusive education competes with other political ideals regarding education, for instance economic discourses that prioritize effectivity and attainment as educational goals. Thus, inclusive education has to be realized in contexts where available options for action are restricted by several and often contradictory educational policies on different levels of the education system. We argue that while research and debate about inclusive education are important, both are insufficient without analyses of the context of national educational policy. Any interpretation of inclusive education is necessarily situated in a general education policy, and measures of what ‘inclusive schools’ are dependent upon for instance, political interpretation(s) of inclusive education, resource allocation and political discourse on both local and national educational level. Here, we will provide support for this argument through presentation of both research on inclusive education, an alignment of prior analyses of Swedish national education policies and our own analyses of government statements.

Keywords
Education policy, politics of education, inclusive education, special education, policy analysis
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-29746 (URN)10.1080/20020317.2019.1586512 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-03-22 Created: 2019-03-22 Last updated: 2019-03-25Bibliographically approved
Lindqvist, G. (2019). God inkluderande lärmiljö: Rapport från en forskningscirkel genomförd mars 2017 – mars 2019. Uppsala: Uppsala universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>God inkluderande lärmiljö: Rapport från en forskningscirkel genomförd mars 2017 – mars 2019
2019 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2019. p. 27
Series
FoSam Rapport ; 2019:01
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-30094 (URN)978-91-506-2747-3 (ISBN)
Note

Forum för samverkan, Uppsala universitet i samverkan med Sigtuna kommun FoSam Rapport 2019:1

Available from: 2019-05-24 Created: 2019-05-24 Last updated: 2019-05-24Bibliographically approved
Cameron, D. L., Tveit, A. D., Jortveit, M., Lindqvist, G., Göransson, K. & Nilholm, C. (2018). A comparative study of special educator preparation in Norway and Sweden. British Journal of Special Education, 45(3), 256-276
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A comparative study of special educator preparation in Norway and Sweden
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2018 (English)In: British Journal of Special Education, ISSN 0952-3383, E-ISSN 1467-8578, Vol. 45, no 3, p. 256-276Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to explore similarities and differences between special educator preparation in Norway and in Sweden. Graduates of special education programmes at two Norwegian (n = 320) and two Swedish universities (n = 425) who completed their training between 2001 and 2012 responded to surveys. Findings indicate that both Swedish and Norwegian graduates felt prepared for their current work and that teaching approaches employed in the different programmes were similar. However, there appears to be a stronger focus on pupils’ social goals in Sweden, as well as on advising teachers, school development and promoting inclusive environments. In contrast, Norwegian participants reported a greater focus on preparation to work with specific types of learning and behavioural difficulties. Findings are discussed in relation to differing political and social structures, such as national regulations for steering special educator preparation in Sweden, which are absent in the Norwegian context.

Keywords
special educator, teacher education, Norway, Sweden
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-28823 (URN)DOI:10.1111/1467-8578.12231 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-10-24 Created: 2018-10-24 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved
von Ahlefeld Nisser, D., Lundgren, M., Olsson, M. & Lindqvist, G. (2018). Challenges faced by national educational authorities when implementing school development: A qualitative case study about an attempt to create accessible teaching environments in a Swedish municipality’s pre-schools and schools. In: : . Paper presented at The Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges 8-10 March 2018, University of Oslo, Norway.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges faced by national educational authorities when implementing school development: A qualitative case study about an attempt to create accessible teaching environments in a Swedish municipality’s pre-schools and schools
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Challenges faced by national educational authorities when implementing school development: A qualitative case study about an attempt to create accessible teaching environments in a Swedish municipality’s pre-schools and schools.

1. Research topic/aim

National school authorities regularly introduce new concepts for school development to be implemented “at a grassroots level”. This paper addresses one such school development concept implemented in a Swedish municipality. Its goal was to increase children’s’ and students’ access to learning environments in schools and pre-schools. Implementation of this pedagogical concept was to proceed over a longer period of time and be linked to systematic quality work carried out in the municipality. The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss how the implementation process was perceived by the school administration, teachers and other personal during the time the concept was introduced and thereafter.

2. Theoretical framework

The point of departure for this study is how the implementation process is related to what in Sweden is referred to as chain of governance. The chain of governance is the main principal for the organizational framework that creates structure for top-down management and as such is central to describing and understanding the implementation process within this framework. Implementing educational concepts is often considered relatively unproblematic by school authorities, however there are indications that there are a number of difficulties to overcome.

3. Methodological design

The study is based on a qualitative case study that is limited to one preschool, one school and the project's steering group. The research design can be characterized as an ongoing evaluation project, a term that has been used more and more in recent years related to different types of development projects in order to achieve a number of advantages pertaining to evaluation, research and organizational development. A central idea of ongoing evaluation research is to increase the effectiveness of development work by providing ongoing feedback to project management, but also by contributing to systematic learning, generating new research-based knowledge as well as demonstrating alternative ways of solving problems.

Collecting data from several sources allowed for data triangulation. The compilation and analysis of data is based on a hermeneutic interpretation related to the theoretical basis of the study. The results are based on both the managements’ and the staffs’ perspectives both of which are compared and contrasted to each other. Interest is directed at the processes that were initiated and what took place in those processes.

4. Expected conclusions/findings

The study is expected to show how the project's steering group acted to implement the evaluation tool, how they tried to transform the project concept into practical activities, how they informed and communicated with the staff concerned, how they organized the work and how they addressed the problems that arose along the way. This description is contrasted with how school management and staff describe what happened when the concept was applied in their organizations.

5. Relevance to Nordic educational research

There is a general interest in showing how centrally formulated concepts are implemented at the local level, because in many countries similar initiatives are being carried out, albeit in other areas. An increased understanding of this can contribute to increased general knowledge of implementation processes, but also in this specific case to problematize the concept of accessibility.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-27796 (URN)
Conference
The Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges 8-10 March 2018, University of Oslo, Norway
Available from: 2018-06-12 Created: 2018-06-12 Last updated: 2018-06-13Bibliographically approved
Göransson, K., Lindqvist, G., Klang, N., Magnússon, G. & Almqvist, L. (2018). Professionalism, governance and inclusive education – A total population study of Swedish special needs educators. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1-16
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Professionalism, governance and inclusive education – A total population study of Swedish special needs educators
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2018 (English)In: International Journal of Inclusive Education, ISSN 1360-3116, E-ISSN 1464-5173, p. 1-16Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Prior research shows that special needs educators (SNEs) have had problems defining their occupational roles and jurisdiction, particularly regarding inclusive education. There are two occupational groups of SNEs in Sweden, namely special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) and special education teachers. In this paper, we use the collective name SNEs to refer to both groups. Here, results from a total population study of Swedish SNEs are presented (N?=?3367, response rate 75%). The aim is to explore differences in SNEs? interpretation of school difficulties and if these differences are influenced by SNEs? employment in different parts of the school organisation. Statistical cluster-analysis was used to categorise SNEs into five distinct groups based on how they view the problems of pupils in school difficulties. Key concepts employed in the analysis are, primarily organisational vs occupational governance in relation to professional jurisdiction. Findings suggest that SNEs are less unanimous in their views of school problems, than prior research indicates. The variance is partly due to where they work in the school organisation, but we also find indications that different groups of SNEs experience different forms of governance with regard to their professionalism. The results are important due to the scope of the data and method of analysis as well as the illustrated variance of professional values and situations of SNEs and the potential consequences for the development of inclusive education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018
Keywords
SNEs, inclusive education, special education, professional role, educational organisation
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-27508 (URN)10.1080/13603116.2018.1441339 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2011–5986
Available from: 2018-04-20 Created: 2018-04-20 Last updated: 2018-04-20
von Ahlefeld Nisser, D., Olsson, M., Lindqvist, G. & Lundgren, M. (2018). Värderingsverktyg för ökad tillgänglighet i förskola och skola – möjligheter och fallgropar i praktiken..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Värderingsverktyg för ökad tillgänglighet i förskola och skola – möjligheter och fallgropar i praktiken.
2018 (Swedish)Report (Refereed)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-29299 (URN)978-91-28-00893-8 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-01-17 Created: 2019-01-17 Last updated: 2019-01-18Bibliographically approved
Göransson, K., Lindqvist, G., Möllås, G., Almqvist, L. & Nilholm, C. (2017). Ideas about occupational roles and inclusive practices among special needs educators and support teachers in Sweden. Educational review (Birmingham), 69(4), 490-505
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ideas about occupational roles and inclusive practices among special needs educators and support teachers in Sweden
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2017 (English)In: Educational review (Birmingham), ISSN 0013-1911, E-ISSN 1465-3397, Vol. 69, no 4, p. 490-505Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Special needs educators and their counterparts are expected to play a significant role in schools’ work towards inclusive practices. Studies do, however, indicate a rather diversified picture regarding the occupational groups assigned to work with special support and their workroles, within and between different countries. In Sweden, one can differentiate between two such occupational groups, special needs educators (SNEs) with qualifications in special educational needs at advanced level and support teachers (SuTs) with varying teacher education and education in special educational needs. The aims of this paper are to investigate the occurrence of SNEs and SuTs within the compulsory school system in ten municipalities in Sweden and the occupational roles of those SNEs and SuTs in relation to the inclusion agenda. A questionnaire was sent out in 2012 to all SNEs and SuTs in ten municipalities (n=511, response rate 61.6%). Main results indicate that: a) there is wide variation between municipalities regarding the extent to which SNEs or SuTs are assigned to work with special support; b) the characteristics of the occupational role of SNEs are more in line with inclusive practices than those of the role of SuTs; c) there is consensus between the two occupational groups regarding what they think should characterize the occupational role of SNEs; and d) SNEs consider, more than do the SuTs themselves, that the role of SuTs should be more in line with that of a ‘traditional special-education teacher’. Results are discussed in relation to Skrtic’s (1991, 1995) theoretical accounts of inclusive education and Abbott’s (1988) notion of jurisdictional control.

Keywords
Special needs educators; support teachers; jurisdictional control; occupational roles; inclusion; work tasks
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-23091 (URN)10.1080/00131911.2016.1237477 (DOI)000402077900006 ()
Projects
Speciella yrken? Ett projekt om spciallärares och specialpedagogers utbildning och arbete.
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2011-5986
Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2016-09-14 Last updated: 2017-06-15Bibliographically approved
Sandström, M., Lindqvist, G. & Klang, N. (2017). På spaning efter "Superläraren" - om synen på stödinsatser i skolan i relation till visionen om ökad inkludering. In: Anders Garpelin och Anette Sandberg (Ed.), Barn och Unga i Skola och Samhälle: (pp. 178-199). Västerås: Mälardalen University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>På spaning efter "Superläraren" - om synen på stödinsatser i skolan i relation till visionen om ökad inkludering
2017 (Swedish)In: Barn och Unga i Skola och Samhälle / [ed] Anders Garpelin och Anette Sandberg, Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2017, p. 178-199Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2017
Series
Mälardalens Studies in Educational Sciences ; 31
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-25184 (URN)978-91-7485-326-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-05-24 Created: 2017-06-14 Last updated: 2017-06-15Bibliographically approved
Lindqvist, G., Klang, N. & Göransson, K. (2016). Special Professions?: A Presentation of a Research Project Concerning Special Educators´ Education and Work in Sweden. In: : . Paper presented at ECER 2016- EERA congress, 23-26 August, University College Dublin, Ireland.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Special Professions?: A Presentation of a Research Project Concerning Special Educators´ Education and Work in Sweden
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Proposal information

The purpose of this paper presentation is to provide overall findings generated from a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council concerning special educators’ education and work. The role of special educators, and their counterparts, is discussed in relation to implications for the development of inclusive education. The overarching research question concerns how special educators identify and shape their occupational role. More specifically the research questions presented below are:

  1. According to special educators, what characterizes the professional knowledge and values they claim that they represent? (Study 1)

  2.  What tasks do special educators consider to be characteristic of their occupational role, as practiced by them? (Study 1)

  3.  On what grounds can special educators claim special expertise concerning the identification of, and work with, school difficulties? (Study 1)

  4. To what extent are special educators and to what extent are support teachers assigned to work with special support in ten municipalities in Sweden? (Study 2)

  5. What work tasks characterize/constitute the occupational role of special educators, and what work tasks characterize/constitute the occupational role of support teachers? (Study 2)

  6. What work tasks do special educators and what work tasks do support teachers believe should characterize the two occupational roles? (Study 2)

  7. What characterizes the work tasks of six special educators who pursue a typical special educator role according to their survey ratings? (Study 3)

  8. What characterizes the contexts in which the six special educators enact their professional roles? (Study 3)

    Our theoretical point of departure is Skrtic’s (1991, 1995) reasoning concerning special education as a parallel system to regular education, which in turn, counteracts the development of inclusion. We also use Abbott’s (1988) notions of division of labor and jurisdictional control in order to better understand the formation of special educators’ role as well as conditions for special educators to develop inclusive practices. In study two, Skrtic’s (1991, 1995) theoretical accounts of inclusive education, and Abbott’s (1988) notion of jurisdictional control is specifically used to gain further understanding about the formation of special educators’ and support teachers’ role in relation to implications for inclusion.  In study 3, a typology of school contexts (Ball et al., 2012) is used to describe the complex local contexts in which special educators enact their professional roles.

    From an international viewpoint, this research project is of value for several reasons. Firstly, it involves large-scale data collections. While it has long since been common to use questionnaires in special needs research in order to study the views of different occupational groups, mostly teachers, it is still uncommon to study large samples of groups that are influential in special needs work (Göransson et al., 2015). Secondly, the education of special educators in Sweden is from an international perspective not at all typical. In Sweden a special educator has to study one and a half years (advanced level) following a degree in teaching in order to get a degree as a special educator. Thus, Swedish special educators have received comparatively more education than their counterparts in most other European countries (Göransson et al., submitted). This is of special interest since, thirdly, Sweden is still considered to have one of the most ‘inclusive’ educational systems in the world (OECD, 2011).

    Methods

    The project consists of three separate, yet linking studies. The first study is a questionnaire study which investigates all special educators in Sweden who were examined in the years and in accordance with the Swedish Examination Acts of 2001, 2007 and 2008 (N= 4252, 75% response rate). Thus, the first study is a total-population study of special educators in Sweden. The second study is a questionnaire study as well. It was distributed to all special educators and support teachers in ten municipalities (n=511, 61.6% response rate). Both questionnaires were distributed in 2012. Descriptive statistics are mostly used in the presentation of the data from the two questionnaires, since whole populations were studied. In questionnaire # 2, two independent samples t-tests were also used when data was analyzed. In study 3, case-study methodology (Merriam, 1992) was used to illustrate the complexity of enactment of special educator roles in local school contexts. Through purposive sampling, six participants were chosen from study 2 to represent typical special educators. Following criteria were used: (a) reported tasks corresponded to examination statutes (b) participants reported that they could influence the work at school. Within each case, data were collected using participant observations, diary recordings, and interviews with special educators, headmasters and teachers. Data analysis within and across cases was conducted to discern special educator roles and tasks as well as the contexts in which the roles were enacted.

    Conclusions

    According to the first study, special educators display a relational perspective on school difficulties. Regarding the mission of education they seem to represent what might be called an ‘equity discourse’ (cf. Englund and Quennerstedt, 2008), which is quite contradictory to the current education agenda, focusing excellence, increased goal attainment and accountability (Göransson et al., 2013). Special educators believe that they are well prepared to work with some tasks, such as counseling, leading development work and teaching children/pupils individually or in groups. Concurrently, there are tasks that they are educated for (e.g. school-development work), which they seldom practice. We discuss special educators’ authority to claim special expertise in relation to certain kinds of work, clients and knowledge (Abbott, 1988). Results from the second study indicate that there are wide variations between municipalities regarding to what extent special educators or support teachers work with special support. The characteristics of the occupational role of special educators are more in line with inclusive practices than the role of support teachers. Moreover, special educators consider that support teachers should work more as ‘traditional special teachers’, than do the support teachers themselves. In study 3, six categories of work tasks were discerned: teaching, social relational work, assessment, informing and following up, supporting and providing materials, school-development, and practical chores. The time devoted to these tasks varied among the six special educators. Related to Abbott’s concept of professional jurisdiction, it can be questioned whether the tasks the special educators as a group claim control over are unique to the profession. While teaching and assessment are typical across all cases, special educators’ conceptions of school-development tasks are quite different. How the role is enacted is also related to local school contexts (Ball et al., 2012), as situated school contexts, the material contexts and values and experiences of staff.

    References

Abbott, A. (1988). The System of Professions. An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Ball, S. J., Maguire, M., & Braun, A. 1. (2012). How schools do policy: Policy enactments in secondary schools. London: Routledge.

Englund, T. & Qennerstedt, A. (2008). Vadå likvärdighet? – studier i utbildningspolitisk språkbildning. [What Equivalence? - Studies in Education policy language education]. Gothenburg: Daidalos.

Göransson, K., Lindqvist, G. & Nilholm, C. (2015) Voices of Special-educators in Sweden. A Total-population Study. Educational Research, 57, 287-304.

Göransson, K., Lindqvist, G., Möllås, G., Almqvist, L. & Nilholm, C. (submitted) Ideas about occupational roles and inclusive practices among Special Needs Educators and Support Teachers in Sweden. Educational Review.

Göransson, K., Malmqvist, J. and Nilholm, C. (2013). Local school ideologies and inclusion: the case of Swedish independent schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education. 28 (1), 49-63.

Merriam, S.B. (1992). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2011). Social justice in the OECD: How do the member states compare? Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011. Gütersloh, Germany: Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Skrtic, T. M. (1991). Behind special education.  A critical analysis of professional culture and school organization. Denver, CO: Love Publishing Company.

Skrtic, T. M. (1995). Deconstructing/Reconstructing public education: Social reconstruction in the postmodern era. In T. M. Skrtic (Ed.), Disability and democracy: reconstructing (special) education in postmodernity, (233-273). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Keywords
Special educators, inclusion, jurisdictional control, work tasks, education
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-22669 (URN)
Conference
ECER 2016- EERA congress, 23-26 August, University College Dublin, Ireland
Projects
Speciella yrken? – ett projekt om speciallärares och specialpedagogers utbildning och arbete.
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-08-08 Created: 2016-08-08 Last updated: 2016-08-10Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-4793-871X

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