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To see or not to see: challenges in teachers’ enactment of policies on degrading treatment in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2018 (English)In: Abstract book NERA, 8-10 March 2018: Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges: 95, University of Oslo , 2018, p. 94-94Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

One of many challenges that teachers face on a daily basis is related to problems with degrading treatment. Teachers work in order to establish a working environment where children can learn; both knowledge and norms and values, i.e how to live together and to understand, care for and respect each other in line with the “fundamental values” in the curriculum (The Swedish National Agency for Education, 2011). All schools are regulated by a policy of zero tolerance towards degrading treatment (The Child and School Student Representative, 2017). The challenge, however, is immense, if not abysmal: hundreds of children obligated to spend year after year in a cramped facility without ever troubling each other with derogatoriness, rumours, ridicule or shoving. Teachers take on this difficult challenge with a broad repertoire of pedagogical tools based on research, theory, experience and tacit knowledge. They deal with chaos and unpredictability in contexts where no single method, plan or manual apply (Cardell, 2017: 226).In this paper we draw attention to how this challenge has been transformed by recent legal regulation of teachers’ work. The School Act has expanded the regulations on degrading treatment and teachers and school staff are today responsible to report any degrading treatment to the principal who in turn has an obligation to report it further to the governing body. This regulation is added to the obligation to quickly investigate and take necessary measures to counteract such treatment (Prop. 2009/10:165; SFS 2010:800).Based on 35 interviews with municipal officials, school directors, school leaders, teachers and other school staff (n 60) in seven schools in two municipalities we describe and analyse how teachers handle issues related to degrading treatment as the pedagogical challenge has been converted into, or complemented by, a judicial challenge primarily oriented towards objective representation of past events. For instance, teachers have to determine, at every incident occurring during the school day, if it should be reported as degrading treatment or not. Reporting has certain consequences, for example time consuming activities of documentation including administration of evolving digital reporting systems, discussions with colleagues and students and communication with parents demanding careful balance and precision. Not reporting has other consequences, e.g. it involves risk taking in terms of accountability since every incident has the potential to later become part of a complaint on degrading treatment issued to The Swedish Schools Inspectorate or The Child and School Student Representative. Thus, to see or not to see incidents is not only a question of teachers’ attention and immediate subsequential action or mindful awaiting – it is a choice that involves a range of strategic and defensive considerations that in a profound way alters teachers’ professional gaze, understanding and practice.The paper is theoretically informed by ideas on policy enactment (Ball, Maguire & Braun, 2012) that provide an overall understanding of issues of policy implementation in times of juridification. In order to qualify the analysis of teachers’ challenges and conflicts between different logics we draw on theories on teacher professionalism (e.g. Englund & Solbrekke, 2015; Solbrekke & Englund, 2011).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Oslo , 2018. p. 94-94
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-145974OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-145974DiVA, id: diva2:1192861
Conference
NERA, 8-10 March 2018
Available from: 2018-03-23 Created: 2018-03-23 Last updated: 2018-06-09

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http://www.nera2018.uio.no/programme/abstracts-book-completed.pdf

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Lindgren, JoakimCarlbaum, SaraHult, AgnetaSegerholm, Christina

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CiteExportLink to record
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