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At the bridging point: tutoring newly arrived students in Sweden
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Teaching and Learning Language, Literature and Media.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8423-1938
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Inclusive Education, ISSN 1360-3116, E-ISSN 1464-5173Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
inclusive support measures; newly arrived students; reception; refugees; teacher collaboration; Tutoring
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29975DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2016.1197325ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84976430901OAI: diva2:929838

Included in thesis in its submitted form.

Available from: 2016-05-20 Created: 2016-05-20 Last updated: 2016-08-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Moving together – conditions for intercultural development at a highly diverse Swedish school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Moving together – conditions for intercultural development at a highly diverse Swedish school
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.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, ISSN 1652-7933 ; 32
National Category
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29961 (URN)978-91-88339-02-7 (ISBN)978-91-88339-03-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-17, Hb116, School of Education and Communication, Jönköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-05-20 Created: 2016-05-19 Last updated: 2016-05-20Bibliographically approved

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