Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Where does time go?: teaching and time use from the perspective of teachers
Umeå University, Faculty of Teacher Education, Department of Child and Youth education, Special Education and Counselling. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2008 (English)In: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, ISSN 1354-0602, E-ISSN 1470-1278, Vol. 14, no 1, 17-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the last three decades Swedish education has undergone radical decentralisation involving increased school autonomy. One aspect of this change is the gradual weakening of the state regulation of teaching time. Thus, Sweden is somewhat of an extreme in the EU. This is accentuated by a five-year experiment, where 900 compulsory schools were allowed more freedom in the allocation of school hours. Thirty teachers from three compulsory schools participating in the experiment were interviewed and team meetings observed during a two-year period. The article explores and analyses changes in time-distribution, classification and framing of the curricula and teachers' work in the three teams and their classes, and analyses teachers' experiences of the changes. A major trend towards weakened classification and framing was found. A majority of the teachers were positive to more flexible time use, teamwork and cross-disciplinary studies. However, despite the experiment a majority still felt inhibited by the national time schedule and too little time for development work. Variations between the three cases are discussed in terms of different team cultures. The school characterised by development-oriented culture had changed their work and teaching most.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge Taylor & Francis , 2008. Vol. 14, no 1, 17-33 p.
Keyword [en]
change, teacher autonomy, teacher work, time allocation, time use
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4986DOI: 10.1080/13540600701837616OAI: diva2:144318
Schools without National Time Schedules
Swedish Research Council
Acknowledgements:The study is part of an ongoing project, Schools without National Time Schedules, financed by the Swedish Ministry of Education. The author also acknowledges comments by project leader Professor Lisbeth Lundahl and project participant FD Linda Rönnberg.Available from: 2012-04-25 Created: 2006-03-14 Last updated: 2012-04-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Tid till förfogande: Förändrad användning och fördelning av undervisningstid i grundskolans senare år?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tid till förfogande: Förändrad användning och fördelning av undervisningstid i grundskolans senare år?
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Time as a recourse in school : Practising flexible time allocation and time use
Abstract [en]

The Swedish education system has undergone decentralisation and deregulation since the late 1970s. The 1999 parliamentary resolution for a 5-year experiment of increased school autonomy in time allocation, was a late step in this development. Approximately 900 compulsory schools in 79 municipalities no longer had to adhere to the regulation of the national time schedule.

The overall aim of this thesis is to describe and analyse changes of time allocation and time use in schools during the experiment. The analysis has the theories and research by Basil Bernstein and Michael Fullan as the point of departure. Framing and classification, educational change and teachers’ work culture are some of the key concepts. The results from interviews with 32 local directors formed the basis of selection of three participating municipalities and schools in the longitudinal study. The sample included both municipalities participating and some not participating in the experiment. The schools had varying motives for participating, and different initial time allocation strategies and procedures. However, they all shared an ambition to strengthen curriculum and school development. Pupils, teachers and head teachers from three classes and teacher teams in the three schools were interviewed and observed over a period of two years. Documents on time use and policies from the three schools were analysed.

No dramatic changes were observed. Changes rarely meant a redistribution of time between contents/subjects or pupils. Instead they were predominantly about weakened boundaries between subjects and teachers, increased teacher control over the work and giving pupils more influence over their own learning situation. So called open lessons, when pupils were allowed to choose what, where and how to study, cross-disciplinary studies and subject-integrated teamwork facilitated this. A majority of pupils and teachers appreciated the increased freedom and control over their work. Some teachers, however, tended to be more hesitant, pointing to risks of work overload and lowered academic achievement. Both teachers and pupils doubted that all pupils could manage highly autonomous studies, and agreed that some needed more structure and help from the teachers. Teachers in practical and aesthetic subjects were often constrained from engaging in cross-disciplinary studies and teamwork. Having one’s teaching assignment divided between many different classes and even schools, and lack of premises were commonly mentioned obstacles.

Committed head teachers and well-functioning teacher teams were significant factors were commonly in the observed development process. Also, active support from the municipality and network-participation were contributing factors. Attention is drawn to the fact that it is not possible to relate the observed changes exclusively to the time schedule experiment. They were feasible within the existing, flexible frames of the national time schedule. Furthermore, a number of other changes occurred parallel to the experiment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Barn- och ungdomspedagogik, specialpedagogik och vägledning, 2006. 51 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 6
School autonomy, time allocation, time use, pupil influence, pupil individualisation, teacher work, change.
National Category
Pedagogical Work
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-724 (URN)91-7264-007-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-04-07, Sal 213h, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2006-03-14 Created: 2006-03-14 Last updated: 2010-02-01Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Nyroos, Mikaela
By organisation
Department of Child and Youth education, Special Education and CounsellingDepartment of applied educational scienceDepartment of Education
In the same journal
Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice
Pedagogical Work

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 63 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link