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Ideas about occupational roles and inclusive practices among special needs educators and support teachers in Sweden
Karlstad universitet.
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Education. Uppsala universitet. (REDDI)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4793-871X
Jönköping university.
Mälardalen university.
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2016 (English)In: Educational review (Birmingham), ISSN 0013-1911, E-ISSN 1465-3397Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Special needs educators; support teachers; jurisdictional control; occupational roles; inclusion; work tasks
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-23091DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2016.1237477OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-23091DiVA: diva2:970692
Speciella yrken? Ett projekt om spciallärares och specialpedagogers utbildning och arbete.
Swedish Research Council, 2011-5986
Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2016-09-14 Last updated: 2016-11-21Bibliographically approved

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