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Mellan retorik och praktik: En ämnesdidaktisk och läroplansteoretisk studie av svenskämnena och fyra gymnasielärares svenskundervisning efter gymnasiereformen 1994
Umeå University, Faculty of Teacher Education, Department of Teacher Education in Swedish and Social Sciences.
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Swedish as a school subject has long been debated in Sweden, and ideas concerning its content, role and function in school and society have varied greatly throughout the years. In 1994, there was an upper secondary school reform which resulted in a partial revision of the Swedish subject, including its introduction within a new course and grading system. The Swedish A and B courses became obligatory for all upper secondary students. Other courses in Swedish became largely optional.

This study consists of two levels – a rhetorical and practical level. The rhetorical level deals with understandings and ideas of the Swedish subject and instruction as they are expressed in curricula and course syllabi, as well as with the understandings and ideas expressed by the four teachers in the study. In addition, the external and internal frame factors which underlie this rhetoric are considered. The practical level concerns the four teachers’ concrete Swedish instruction, i.e. the aims and goals, content and working methods which underlie their teaching, as well as the factors which influence, limit and facilitate it.

The aim of the study is to attempt to describe, analyse and understand the role and function of the Swedish subject after the upper secondary school reform of 1994. What ideas do the four teachers express regarding the role and function of the Swedish subject in upper secondary school and society after 1994, and how should these ideas and reasons be interpreted and understood from a more comprehensive, general perspective? How do the teachers represent the Swedish subject in their teaching, i.e. how is their knowledge of subject didactics expressed? These are two central questions in the study. A third central question concerns notions of society and the good citizen implied in the chosen views of the Swedish subject.

The study has two theoretical starting points: subject didactics and curriculum theory. Shulman’s concepts of pedagogical content knowledge and transformation are central to the subject didactics drawn upon here, while frame factor theory and Bernstein’s concepts of “classification” and “framing” are central to the curriculum-theoretical perspective. The perspective of subject didactics deals with the relation between teacher and content, while the curriculum-theoretical perspective deals with the relation between content, individual and society.

This study shows that the teachers’ knowledge of subject didactics is vague.The teachers’ transformation of content in teaching resides to a high degree in an adaptation to the students; the focus is thus not on a transformation and content analysis of the Swedish subject. Further, the teachers have an instrumental approach to the steering documents. A common characteristic among the four teachers, and in Swedish instruction generally, is that a large degree of responsibility is placed on the individual student for their literary and language development. Collective meetings were very infrequent in the teaching of the four teachers in the study.

This study discerns four teacher codes which reflect understandings and ideas of school and education, formed by previous and current material and sociocultural conditions and which the individual teacher has encountered, adopted and reshaped into his/her own. These four teacher codes can be described as closeness and hierarchy, tradition and renewal, vision and reality and the individual and the collective. The teacher codes reveal that the four teachers have relatively similar teaching strategies, whereas their teaching aims, goals and content diverge significantly.

Viewed from the perspective of curriculum theory, it is evident that the teachers emphasise the individual student over the collective. It is a matter of developing one’s thought and personality and of fostering the students to be individual, active members of society. However, this active member of society does not appear to be aware and critically active, but rather a loyal and obedient member of society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Svenska och samhällsvetenskapliga ämnen , 2008. , 330 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar inom den Nationella Forskarskolan i Pedagogiskt Arbete, ISSN 1653-6894 ; 14Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 24
Keyword [en]
School subject Swedish, upper secondary school, pedagogical content knowledge, transformation, frame factors, curriculum theory, classification, framing, citizenship, society, rhetoric and practise
National Category
Pedagogical Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1841ISBN: 978-91-7264-634-6OAI: diva2:142173
Public defence
2008-10-10, Föreläsningssal 4, Högskolan, Högskolan Dalarna, Falun, 10:00
Available from: 2008-09-19 Created: 2008-09-19 Last updated: 2013-07-31Bibliographically approved

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