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Moving together – conditions for intercultural development at a highly diverse Swedish school
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Teaching and Learning Language, Literature and Media.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is a case study of a primary school in a highly diverse urban neighbourhood in Sweden. Basic pre-conditions for intercultural school development are studied by examining the overall organisation of teaching, learning and opportunities for collaboration in the investigated case. The study focuses on the targeted support measures to enhance learning for students with an immigrant background: Mother tongue instruction, Swedish as a Second Language, and tutoring in the mother tongue, as well as looking at pedagogical support provided by the school library. The latter has a mission to promote learning and inclusion, where non-native speakers of Swedish are a prioritised group.

Communities of practice linked to the work organisation at a meso-level are investigated, and the collaborative relationships between professional groups at the school involved in the various support measures. Teacher relationships and categorisations implied by support measures impact the learning spaces that are shaped for students and the teaching spaces within which teachers work. Collaborative opportunities and convergence of concerns in the teaching spaces combine to shape the overall space for intercultural development.

The raw data for the case study consists of interviews, national policy documents and additional information on local work organisation gained through documents and observations. Four articles resulted from the case study, each focusing a specific support measure. An overarching analysis is then made of findings from these articles and the other dimensions of the investigation. The analysis describes the organisation in terms of monocultural or intercultural school cultures, pointing to significant characteristics of the landscapes of practice, with respect to their overall implications for the spaces of school development. In the discussion, findings are considered in relation to research on professional development in education, collaboration, democracy and inclusive schooling.

The relative positioning of languages and cultures is given particular attention, to ascertain if the school culture is monocultural or intercultural in the sense given by Lahdenperä (2008), and to what extent it could enable intercultural development. Such positioning plays a role interms of affordances for identity, participation and engagement discussed by Wenger (1998).

This case study should be understood against the wider background of recent social developments in Europe linked to globalisation and technological changes. It is argued that looking at the concrete specifics which facilitate or obstruct school development, and simultaneously reflecting on how the different forms of teaching interrelate in the overall organisation and in policy may provide a useful vantage point from which structural changes can be contemplated.The discussion underlines the importance of the physical localisation of activities, continuity in personal contacts and time available for joint pedagogical reflection, as basic conditions for effective intercultural dialogue in the organisation. Finally, the impact of policy is considered, looking at connections between levels of policy, expressed in official steering documents, and conditions for teaching and learning at the level of an individual school.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication , 2016. , 118 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, ISSN 1652-7933 ; 32
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29961ISBN: 978-91-88339-02-7 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88339-03-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-29961DiVA: diva2:929722
Public defence
2016-06-17, Hb116, School of Education and Communication, Jönköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-05-20 Created: 2016-05-19 Last updated: 2017-09-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Teaching in the 'edgelands' of the school day: The organisation of Mother Tongue Studies in a highly diverse Swedish primary school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teaching in the 'edgelands' of the school day: The organisation of Mother Tongue Studies in a highly diverse Swedish primary school
2015 (English)In: Power and Education, ISSN 1757-7438, E-ISSN 1757-7438, Vol. 7, no 2, 239-254 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To promote attainment and inclusion, Sweden offers tuition in migrant pupils’ mother tongues as a regular school subject. However, the formulation of learning aims is problematic, and resources allocated to the subject do not correspond to ambitions expressed in steering documents. This case study presents an analysis of the organization of Mother Tongue Studies at a highly diverse urban primary school, based on interviews with teachers and head teachers. The practical organization of Mother Tongue Tuition affects how mother tongue teachers and pupils are perceived, but also potentially provides opportunities for empowerment and educational development. Results indicate that in the investigated case, such opportunities are not exploited, placing mother tongue teachers in a state of continuous structural stress, while limiting the forms their teaching relationships can take. Additionally, scheduling the school subject Mother Tongue Studies at the ‘edgelands' of the school day contributed to further marginalizing languages taught as mother tongue and minimized interaction with class teachers.                  

Keyword
scheduling, Mother Tongue Tuition, Sweden, mono-cultural norms, schemaläggning, arbetsorganisation, modersmålsundervisning, monokulturella normer
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29072 (URN)10.1177/1757743815586523 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-01-14 Created: 2016-01-14 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
2. Swedish and the ‘second language learner’: From induction to segregation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish and the ‘second language learner’: From induction to segregation
2016 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29976 (URN)
Available from: 2016-05-20 Created: 2016-05-20 Last updated: 2016-11-08
3. At the bridging point: tutoring newly arrived students in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>At the bridging point: tutoring newly arrived students in Sweden
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Inclusive Education, ISSN 1360-3116, E-ISSN 1464-5173, Vol. 21, no 4, 404-415 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, tutoring in the mother tongue is a special support measure primarily intended for newly arrived students to facilitate their transition into the Swedish school system. Tutoring is premised on the collaboration between the class teacher, responsible for subject-related expertise, and the tutor, who contributes with knowledge of the student’s mother tongue and previous context of studies. In this case study of class teachers’ and mother tongue tutors’ conditions for collaboration at a multi-ethnic primary school, six mother tongue tutors and six class teachers were asked about the purpose of their work, how it was organised, and what could be done to improve working conditions. Interviews with head teachers, and data on work organisation from observations, document study, and participation in meetings for a period of one and a half years supplemented the teacher interviews. The analysis focuses on whether tutors and teachers belong to the same or different Communities of Practice, based on shared concerns and opportunities for collaboration, as well as looking at the relative positioning of languages and teaching roles. Findings suggest that the degree of collaboration between tutors and teachers was not sufficient to allow tutoring to function in the way it is envisaged by national steering documents. Tutoring was instead based on the tutors’ own knowledge of the subjects they taught. Recruitment of suitable tutors was difficult. However, conditions for collaboration and more effective tutoring in the schools could be improved with relatively simple support structures at the level of the municipality.

Keyword
inclusive support measures; newly arrived students; reception; refugees; teacher collaboration; Tutoring
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29975 (URN)10.1080/13603116.2016.1197325 (DOI)000397220700005 ()2-s2.0-84976430901 (Scopus ID)
Note

Included in thesis in its submitted form.

Available from: 2016-05-20 Created: 2016-05-20 Last updated: 2017-04-21Bibliographically approved
4. The role of the school library: Reflections from Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of the school library: Reflections from Sweden
2014 (English)In: Intercultural Education, ISSN 1467-5986, E-ISSN 1469-8439, Vol. 25, no 6, 497-507 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Libraries are critical learning spaces and may play a significant role in intercultural education initiatives, particularly in Sweden where the national curriculum ascribes central functions to libraries for learning activities. Unfortunately, the ways in which teachers and librarians may collaborate to leverage mutual resources is not fully understood. This article uses Pirjo Lahdenperä’s model of intercultural education development to consider the case of a small school library in a highly diverse urban neighbourhood. Although public libraries in Scandinavia can support intercultural educational values by addressing individual needs and complementing curriculum-based teaching, the development of new teaching practices requires additional guidance as well as institutional support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2014
Keyword
school libraries, multilingualism, diversity, reading for pleasure, intercultural education
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-25566 (URN)10.1080/14675986.2014.990279 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-01-12 Created: 2015-01-12 Last updated: 2017-12-05

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