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Samma lärare – olika praktiker?: en studie av literacy och meningsskapande i grundskolans tidiga ämnesundervisning
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Same teachers – different practices? : a study of literacy and meaning making in early subject area instruction (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on school subjects as arenas for students’ literacy development and meaning making. How instructional practices are formed create different preconditions for students’ opportunities of literacy development and meaning making. The following questions have been explored: 1) How is instruction in mathematics and history organized and structured as preconditions for literacy practices?, 2) What instructional practices for literacy development and meaning making can be found in the school subjects mathematics and history?, and 3) How can existing instruction be used to formulate a zone of proximal development for educational practices in relation to students’ literacy development and meaning making?

Four teachers and their instruction in mathematics and history in 5th grade (students typically 11 years old) were followed. Classroom observations and teacher interviews were used as methods for data collection. Teacher interviews were carried out before, during, and after observational periods. The study draws on theories of literacy as situated practices (Barton & Hamilton, 2000; Street, 1984). For the analysis activity theory (Engeström, 2015; Leontiev, 1986) was used to create understandings of the two school subjects as human activity systems. To identify literacy practices within these systems autonomous and ideological models of literacy (Street, 1984) were used together with models of important resources (Freebody & Luke, 1990) and discourses (Ivanič, 2004) of literacy.

The results indicate that school subjects can be understood as different activity systems. Mathematics and history instruction were directed at different objects, in relation to content but also in how the object was perceived by the teachers as subjects. The activity system and its object had consequences for the role of the teacher subject in the system, but also for student roles. Different objects were also linked to differences in how the class was considered as community of work and how division of labor was formed in this community. Differences in the activity systems seemed to be related to differences in literacy practices. The activity systems were at least partly related to different models of literacy and which resources and discourses of literacy were presented to students. Different communities of work implied different opportunities to use joint work as a tool for meaning making. Likewise, actions seemed differently linked as chains of literacy events in the two activity systems. Important, though, in both subjects a tertiary contradiction could be identified, which indicate a zone of proximal development for both subjects in relation to students’ literacy development and meaning making.  

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling fokuserar skolämnen som arenor för elevers literacyutveckling och meningsskapande. Hur undervisningspraktiker är utformade skapar olika förutsättningar för elevers möjligheter att utveckla literacy och skapa mening. Följande forskningsfrågor har guidat studien:

  1. Hur organiseras och struktureras undervisning i skolämnena matematik och historia som förutsättningar för literacypraktiker?
  2. Vilka undervisningspraktiker för literacyutveckling och meningsskapande blir synliga i skolämnena matematik respektive historia som verksamhetssystem?
  3. Hur kan befintlig undervisning användas för att formulera en proximal utvecklingszon för praktiken med avseende på elevers literacyutveckling och meningsskapande?

Fyra lärare och deras undervisning i matematik och historia i skolår 5 (elever vanligen 11 år) följdes i studien. Klassrumsobservationer och lärarintervjuer användes som metoder för datainsamling. Lärarintervjuer genomfördes före, under och efter observationsperioden.

Studien utgår från teorier om literacy som situerade praktiker (Barton & Hamilton, 2000; Street, 1984). Vid analysen användes verksamhetsteori (Engeström, 2015; Leontiev, 1986) för att skapa förståelser för de båda skolämnena som mänskliga verksamhetssystem. För att identifiera literacypraktiker inom dessa system användes teorier om autonoma respektive ideologiska modeller av literacy (Street, 1984) tillsammans med modeller för viktiga resurser (Freebody & Luke, 1990) och diskurser (Ivanič, 2004) av literacy.

Resultaten indikerar att skolämnen kan förstås som olika verksamhetssystem. Matematik- och historieundervisningen riktades mot delvis olikartade objekt, både i relation till innehåll och i hur objektet uppfattades av lärare som subjekt. Aktivitetssystemet och dess objekt tycktes ha konsekvenser för lärarens roll i systemet, men också för elevers roll i arbetet. Olika objekt kunde också kopplas till skillnader i hur klassen betraktades som arbetsgemenskap och hur arbetsdelningen utformades inom denna gemenskap. Skillnader i verksamhetssystemen kunde relateras till skillnader i literacypraktiker. De båda verksamhetssystemen framstod som åtminstone delvis orienterade mot olika modeller av literacy tillsammans med att elever erbjöds olika resurser och diskurser av literacy i undervisningen. Skillnader i arbetsgemenskaper tycktes också innebära skillnader i möjligheter till gemensamt arbete som redskap i det meningsskapande arbetet. Likaså indikerades olikartade sätt att länka handlingar som kedjor av literacyhändelser i de två systemen. Viktigt att notera är dock att i båda verksamhetssystemen framträdde en tertiär motsättning som indikerar en proximal utvecklingszon för båda matematik- och historieundervisningen i relation till elevers literacyutveckling och meningsskapande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 2019. , p. 248
Series
Umeå studies in language and literature ; 39Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 85
Series
Umeå studies in educational sciences ; 32
Keywords [en]
Subject area instruction, literacy practices, Mathematics, History, upper elementary grades, activity systems, zone of proximal development
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-157086ISBN: 978-91-7855-026-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-157086DiVA, id: diva2:1294719
Public defence
2019-04-05, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-03-15 Created: 2019-03-08 Last updated: 2019-03-28Bibliographically approved

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Egelström, Monica

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