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Publications (10 of 20) Show all publications
Poromaa Isling, P., Ahlström, B., Leo, U., Larsson, M. & Rantala, A. (2024). Exploring schools as controversial spaces: Variations in content and impact on leadership practices. In: NERA 2024: Abstract Book. Paper presented at NERA Conference 2024; Adventures of Education: Desires, Encounters and Differences. Malmö, Sweden, March 6-8, 2024 (pp. 292-292).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring schools as controversial spaces: Variations in content and impact on leadership practices
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2024 (English)In: NERA 2024: Abstract Book, 2024, p. 292-292Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research topic/aim: School is often described as mirror that in its pedagogical practice and content captures or reflects societal challenges and opportunities (Johansson, 2015). Therefore, societal questions aligned with tension usually find their way into the classroom and the discussions that take place here between teachers and pupils in teaching situations. In educational research these so-called controversial issues are a well-known field of study and have been so for several years (Larsson & Lindström, 2020). In this study we want to learn more about how school staff, and especially principals, handles issues that are seen as controversial in school.

Our aim is to explore schools as sites for controversial spaces (CS) and we are interested to see what impact these have on school- and leadership practice. The main questions for this investigation are as follows: (1) What are the differences and similarities of CS depending on school context? (2) How does the content of CS influence leadership practices?

Theoretical framework: Our study draws on the theoretical concept of controversial spaces to capture how different controversial issues affect principal's leadership (Rantala et al, in press).  

Methodological design: In total, a set of 26 in-depth, loosely structured interviews with principals in pre-school, primary school, and upper secondary school. The overarching theme of the interviews was the impact and consequences of controversial issues on leadership and school practice, and the collected data were subjected to a conventional content analysis (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005).  

Expected conclusions/findings: Preliminary findings suggest that schools’ controversial spaces are aligned with urgent or low-pressure content depending on schools’ socioeconomic composition. Principals in socially vulnerable areas deals with urgent controversial spaces exemplified through issues such as gang crime, drugs, racism. Hence, the space is filled with issues that demand a leadership that instantaneously takes actions. Here leadership must communicate and interact with actors outside of school, for example the police, social welfare, or the pupils’ guardians.  

In contrast, principals in well-situated school contexts act within controversial spaces constituted by issues that are less imperative, for example sustainability. Principals that lead in these schools tend to solve these issues in-house in communication with staff and pupils, hence the controversial space of school is primarily an internal affair. 

The possibility of agency (focused on students'/children's learning and teaching) for the principal thus differs depending on the context. The more social unrest, less room for principal to advocate their agency directed to pedagogical enhancement.  

Relevance to Nordic educational research: This study has relevance for contemporary Nordic educational research as it contributes with theoretical concepts to understand and analyze controversial issues that principals deal with in all Nordic countries.

National Category
Pedagogy Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-222313 (URN)
Conference
NERA Conference 2024; Adventures of Education: Desires, Encounters and Differences. Malmö, Sweden, March 6-8, 2024
Available from: 2024-03-13 Created: 2024-03-13 Last updated: 2024-07-02Bibliographically approved
Larsson, M., Rantala, A., Leo, U., Ahlström, B. & Poromaa Isling, P. (2023). Controversial issues for principals in Sweden: an exploratory approach. In: ECER 2023 Programme: . Paper presented at ECER 2023, European Educational Research Association; The Value of Diversity in Education and Educational Research, Glasgow, UK, August 22-25, 2023.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Controversial issues for principals in Sweden: an exploratory approach
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2023 (English)In: ECER 2023 Programme, 2023Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Controversial issues (CI) are a part of everyday life in schools’, inside and outside the classroom. How principals understand and manage these issues are therefore an interesting topic of inquiry. In this paper we set out to examine, from the theoretical standpoint of agency, principals understanding of what a CI is and how they can and cannot be managed. CIs has been a recurring topic in the educational literature for the last four decades (Hand & Levinson 2012; Anders & Shudak 2016) and in a globalised world characterized by polarisation and mediatisation the need for schools to handle CI has potentially become increasingly salient (Larsson & Lindström 2020). However, what is perceived as a controversial issue differs between contexts and can change rapidly.

The primary focus in the literature concerning CIs is teachers and teaching situations. This paper takes another point of departure focusing on principals and how they understand and manage CIs. Even though CIs are present outside formal teaching situations at the school, research on principals’ understandings and management of CIs are scarce and seldomly explicitly addressed. In addition, international educational policy discussions have underscored the importance that principals (not just teachers) manage and develop strategies in relation to CIs (Council of Europe, 2017). The aim of this paper is to explore how principals understand and manage CIs, more specifically the following research questions are applied:

What do school leaders understand as controversial issues in the Swedish education system?How and why do school leaders manage controversial issues in the Swedish education system?To categorize and analyse what principals understand as CIs (RQ1) the literature on what constitutes a CI is invoked. There is an ongoing debate on what criteria should be applied to deem something a CI (cf. Anders and Shudak, 2012). This debate differentiates between behavioural, political, epistemic, social, and theoretical criteria for defining an issue as controversial. However, this debate is primarily grounded in the question what teachers should (and should not) teach as a controversial issue which means that several of the criteria are unapplicable in principals professional practice. Based on the literature and the specific professional practice of principals’ we apply the following definition: a controversial issue is any issue that creates opposition or disputes at an organisational or societal level in schools and pre-schools.

In order to analyse how principals manage CIs (RQ2) we build on Emirbayer and Miche’s (1998) conceptualisation of agency as well as Eteläpelto et al (2013) conceptualisation of professional agency. Emirbayer and Miche’s (1998, p. 953) argue that agency should be seen as ‘temporally embedded process of social engagement’ informed by and directed towards the past, future, and present. This is complemented by Eteläpelto et al’s (2013) understanding of professional agency, which is dependent on professional knowledge and competencies as well as specific conditions of the workplace. Taken together, we understand professional agency as a dynamic concept rooted in temporal dimensions that emerges in relation to socio-cultural conditions of the workplace and professional identity, knowledge, and experience.

Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used: The empirical part of the study is made up of 29 interviews with principals in Sweden. In the selection process we elected a heterogenous sample aiming for maximal variation among the principals (Ritchie & Lewis, 2013). This process started with identifying central categories of principals to make sure that the sample would include principals in different contexts and with different prerequisites. This, in turn, allows our mapping of principals’ understanding of controversial issues to include several different points of view. The categories used in the selection process was: including both men and women (gender); principals working in schools from different education stages (education stage): whether the school was placed in a central or rural setting (city-countryside) and whether the principal was experienced or novel (professional experience).

Since the research on principals understanding of CIs is limited, we elected an exploratory approach to make sure that we did not steer the principals’ understandings of what a CI is for a principal. However, to provide some sort of guidance we presented the respondents with the following generic definition of a CI in the beginning of all interviews: by controversial issues we mean issues that arouse strong feelings and/or divide opinion in schools, communities, and society. After the respondents was asked to give a brief professional background, the respondents were invited to bring up the most pressing controversial issue in their role as a principal. To each controversial issue a set of follow up questions were asked including: “why is this a controversial issue; who are involved; who are affected; how do you manage this issue?”. After the respondent had brought up their most pressing CIs questions intended to help to broaden the respondents’ perspective was applied. These questions entailed aspects such as: previously encountered controversial issues; controversial issues regarding teaching situations, norms and values, or connected to the larger society or the immediate community.

To answer the first research question the answers from the respondents were categorised thematically. First, any issues brought up by the respondents that fell outside our broad definition of CI were sifted out. After that the controversial issues were thematically organised into specific topics (religion, sustainability, racism, LGBTQI etc) and types of controversial issue (social, political, behavioural etc.). To answer the second research question the respondents answers to how they handle and manage controversial issues were analysed through the concept of professional agency as depicted above.

Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings: Preliminary results concerning the first research question show that themes concerning segregation, racism, LGBTQI and religion are recurring examples the principals give of CIs. Apparent difference can be found between the different categories of principals. For example, pre-school principals deal with CIs concerning the relation with parents claims to a larger extent than other principals. In addition, several issues brought up by the principals are not deemed controversial given the definition applied in this paper. The most salient of these issues are interpersonal issues between principals and teachers or other school staff. When these issues are not clearly connected to an organizational and/or a societal level they were not deemed a controversial issue.

Preliminary results concerning the second research questions show that how principals relate to and understand social-temporal aspects of their professional work influences how they perceive the CI at hand and have consequences for how they manage the CI. For example, how the principal understands racial tensions at his or her school influences whether s/he manages the issue proactively or simply deals with the issue as it flares up. Even though this paper is a first step in mapping and understanding CIs for principals more research is needed to provide a better understanding of how principals understand and manages controversial issues.

References: 

Anders, P. & Shudak. (2016) Criteria for Controversy: A Theoretic Approach. Thresholds in Education, 39(1), 20–30.

Council of Europe (2017) Managing controversy – Developing a strategy for handling controversy and teaching controversial issues in schools. A self-reflection toll for school leaders and senior managers.

Emirbayer, M. & Mische, A. (1998) What is agency? American journal of Sociology, 103, 962-1023.

Eteläpelto, A., Vähäsantanen, K., Hökkä, P. and Susanna Paloniemi, S. (2013) What is agency? Conceptualizing professional agency at work, Educational Research Review, 10, 45-65.

Hand, M. & Levinson, R. (2012) Discussing controversial issues in the classroom. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(6), 614-629.

Larsson, A. & Lindström, N. (2020) Controversial societal issues in education: Explorations of moral, critical and didactical implications. Acta Didactica Norden, 14(4), 1-6.

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., McNaughton Nicholls, C. and Ormston, R. (2013) Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. SAGE.

National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational leadership
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-216751 (URN)
Conference
ECER 2023, European Educational Research Association; The Value of Diversity in Education and Educational Research, Glasgow, UK, August 22-25, 2023
Available from: 2023-11-15 Created: 2023-11-15 Last updated: 2024-07-02Bibliographically approved
Rantala, A., Ahlström, B., Leo, U., Larsson, M. & Poromaa Isling, P. (2023). Controversial issues in preschool principals’ leadership. In: ECER 2023 Programme: . Paper presented at ECER 2023: European Educational Research Association; The Value of Diversity in Education and Educational Research, Glasgow, UK, August 22-25, 2023.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Controversial issues in preschool principals’ leadership
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2023 (English)In: ECER 2023 Programme, 2023Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper highlights the concept of controversial issues in preschool principals’ everyday practice. Controversial issues are something that teachers and principals have to address more frequently in schools and preschools in recent years (Council of Europe, 2017). One explanation for this development might be, according to the Council of Europe, that teachers and principals are working in a rapidly changing global environment. For instance, we have had a worldwide pandemic, conflicts in the surrounding world that increase migration, an ongoing climate crisis and a fast technological development that create insecurities. This development calls for a readiness capacity on the organizational level but also a leadership that is sensitive and able to identify controversial issues that arise in preschools today and tomorrow.

When reviewing research on controversial issues in preschools and schools it is evident that the main focus is directed toward teachers and their practice, i. e. on how they teach in relation to topics that are perceived as controversial in an educational setting (see e.g. Bautista, isco & Quaye, 2018; Sætra, 2019). Further, research on how controversial issues are perceived and dealt with from a principal’s perspective is scarce. The concept of controversial issues is not easily defined and there is no uniform definition of the concept. In this study we use a definition that controversial issues are all issues that create tension or disputes on an organizational and/or societal level such as, for example, segregation, migration, equality, religion, sexuality and gender which may be difficult to know how to handle and/or respond to (Council of Europe, 2017).

As described above, controversial issues are topics that is difficult to handle and sometimes there are no easy solutions or clear paths for the principal in order to deal with or in the process of deciding what to do. In other words, these issues could be described as professional dilemmas for the principals. A dilemma can be defined as a situation where values, obligations and/or commitments collide or conflict and there is, for the involved actors, no obvious right way to do or act (Honig, 1994, 1996). In order to describe and understand these professional dilemmas the concept of dilemmatic spaces is used. A dilemmic space can be understood as a landscape of interactions between different actors within a specific social setting and where frictions in relation to societal and professional norms and values manifest (Olsson, 2022). Through the concept of dilemmatic space, actors, norms, values and action patterns can be framed which can affect how principals are positioned or position themselves, which in turn affects their leadership practice. In this paper we understand the concept of dilemmatic space as being relational and dialectic (Fransson & Grannäs, 2013). This means that not only people are positioned based on their standpoints and their moral positioning but also in relation to various norms, values, patterns of action, decisions, rules, roles and functions are related and positioned in relation to each other, and these positions creates a space, an area where dilemmas might occur that principals have to deal with (Fransson, 2012; Fransson & Grannäs, 2013).

The aim of this study, which has an exploratory point of departure, is to analyze the controversial issues and discuss in relation to dilemmatic spaces. This is done by focusing on which issues preschool principals experience and articulate as controversial in their practice. Further, why these issues are perceived as controversial and how the principals are affected by them and how they position themselves or become positioned and what space they can operate in when trying to deal with them.

Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources UsedThis study is part of a larger project, CVIL (ControVersial Issues in Leadership), that aim to study controversial issues in Swedish (K-12) principals’ everyday practice. Within the project’s first stage 29 interviews with principals were conducted, seven of these were with preschool principals and are used as the data set in this paper. The interviews were semi-structured (Bryman 2012) and the principals within the study were from different contexts (in relation to socio economic context, rural/urban settings etc.). In addition, some of the interviewed principals had worked as leaders for some time and others were relatively new in their position. Five researchers, connected to the project, conducted semi-structured interviews. The two main questions in the interview guide were: Which controversial issues are most important to you right now as principal, and what are the controversial issues that you have had in the past?, Each main question was followed by probing questions such as: Why was it a controversial issue for you?, How did you handle this issue?, Who was involved?, Who was affected by it?. In what way, and so on, Each interview lasted between one to two hours

All interviews have been recorded and transcribed verbatime. The data was analyzed using content analysis (Berg 2001, Creswell, 2007) with a focus to identify dilemmatic spaces in the light of the principals' perception of controversial issues.Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or FindingsOur preliminary analysis consists of four themes: controversial issues in relation to traditions, norms and values, laws and regulations and local political demands. The first theme, conflicting norms regarding traditions, highlights dilemmas derived from frictions on how to celebrate holidays at the preschools and if all children should or are allowed (by the parents) to participate in these celebrations. These dilemmas can be related to both religious and cultural traditions.  The second theme, conflicting norms and values tend to be a theme which is made visible when the principals describe that ideological beliefs clash between teachers and parents regarding for example the preschool´s participation in activities to support everyone´s equal value such as participating in a pride festival.  

The third theme emerges when professional norms are challenged by laws and regulations or national or local goals and assignments. One of the principals describe that the Swedish National Agency for Education promotes concepts such as evidence-based education which this principal believes is not compatible with her view on how to teach children. The law that requires all abusive treatment between children to be reported is also triggering tensions, as principals believe that this law carries a risk of young children being labeled as victims or perpetrators. The fourth and final theme is when local political demands become a controversial issue for a principal. One example of this is a political initiative focusing a reading and writing guarantee for 5- and 6-year-old children which this principal think is an unreasonable demand on all children, and teachers.  

These results are discussed in relation to dilemmatic spaces that emerges and affects the principal’s need to position him or herself in favor of one side or somewhere in between, even if the principal wish to be able to take a different position.ReferencesBautista, N., Misco, T., & Quaye, S. J. (2018). Early childhood open-mindedness: An investigation into preservice teachers’ capacity to address controversial issues. Journal of Teacher Education, 69(2), 154-168.  

Berg, B.L., 2001. Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Bryman, Alan (2012). Social research methods. 4. ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Fransson, G. (2012). Professionalisering eller deprofessionalisering? Positioneringar och samspel i ett dilemmatic space. I C. Gustafsson & G. Fransson (red.). Kvalificerad som lärare? Om professionell utveckling, mentorskap och bedömning med sikte på lärarlegitimation. Gävle University Press.  

Fransson, G., & Grannäs, J. (2013). Dilemmatic spaces in educational contexts–towards a conceptual framework for dilemmas in teachers work. Teachers and Teaching, 19(1), 4-17.

Honig, B. (1993). Difference, Dilemmas, and the Politics of Home. Social Research. Vol. 61, no 3.

Sætra, E. (2019). Teaching Controversial Issues: A Pragmatic View of the Criterion Debate. Journal of  Philosophy of Education, 53(2), s. 323–339. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9752.12361

Wiman, Lena (2019). Att vara chef i förskolan - villkor, drivkrafter och uttryck. I K. Malmberg & A. Arnqvist (red.). Ledning i förskola - villkor och uttryck. Malmö: Gleerups.

National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-216765 (URN)
Conference
ECER 2023: European Educational Research Association; The Value of Diversity in Education and Educational Research, Glasgow, UK, August 22-25, 2023
Available from: 2023-11-15 Created: 2023-11-15 Last updated: 2024-07-02Bibliographically approved
Larsson, M., Ahlström, B., Rantala, A., Leo, U. & Poromaa Isling, P. (2023). Mapping controversial issues among Swedish principals. In: : . Paper presented at NERA Conference 2023; Digitalization and Technologies in Education – Opportunities and Challenges, Oslo, Norway, March 15-17, 2023.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mapping controversial issues among Swedish principals
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2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Controversial issues (CI) are a recurring part of everyday life in schools’, inside and outside the classroom. How principals understand and manage these issues are therefore an interesting topic of inquiry. In this paper we set out to examine, from the theoretical standpoint of agency, principals understanding of what a CI is and how they can and cannot be managed. CI has been a recurring topic in the educational literature for the last four decades (Hand & Levinson 2012; Anders & Shudak 2016) and in a globalised world characterized by polarisation and mediatisation the need for schools to handle CI has potentially become increasingly salient (Larsson & Lindström 2020). However, what is perceived as a controversial issue differs between contexts and can change rapidly. In order to analyse how principals manage CI we build on Emirbayer and Miche’s (1998, p. 953) conceptualisation of agency. They argue that agency should be seen as ‘temporally embedded process of social engagement’ informed by and directed towards the past, future, and present.

The primary focus in the literature concerning CI is teachers and teaching situations. This paper takes another point of departure focusing on principals’ and how they understand and manage CI. Even though CI are present outside formal teaching situations at the school, research on principals’ understandings and management of CI are scarce or lacking. In addition, international educational policy discussions have underscored the importance that principals manage and develop strategies in relation to CI. The aim of this paper is to explore how principals understand and manage CI.

To be able to investigate how principals understand and manage CI a definition, sensitive to principals’ practice, must be put forward. Since this is lacking in the literature the first step is to provide a conceptualization of CI, based on the ongoing scientific debate, but from a principal’s perspective. The empirical part is made up of interviews with 29 principals in the Swedish education system, who are asked about what CI they are confronted with and how they manage these issues.

The analysis was conducted in two steps. First, the CI articulated by the principals were thematically organized to provide an overview of what CI are prevalent. Second, the principals’ description of how they managed CI was analysed through the lens of Emirbayer and Misches (1998) depiction of agency. Preliminary results show that themes concerning segregation, racism, hbtqi and religion are recurring. In addition, how principals relate to and understand their past, future, and present with regards to the CI at hand have consequences for how they manage the CI.

Anders, P. & Shudak, N. (2016) Criteria for Controversy: A Theoretic Approach. Thresholds in Education, 39(1), 20–30.

Emirbayer, M. & Mische, A. (1998) What is agency? American journal of Sociology, 103, 962-1023.

Hand, M. & Levinson, R. (2012) Discussing controversial issues in the classroom. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(6), 614-629.

Larsson, A. & Lindström, N. (2020) Controversial societal issues in education: Explorations of moral, critical and didactical implications. Acta Didactica Norden, 14(4), 1-6.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
educational leadership
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-216768 (URN)
Conference
NERA Conference 2023; Digitalization and Technologies in Education – Opportunities and Challenges, Oslo, Norway, March 15-17, 2023
Available from: 2023-11-15 Created: 2023-11-15 Last updated: 2024-07-02Bibliographically approved
Rantala, A. & Heikkilä, M. (2023). The gap between juridical and pedagogical discourses concerning preventing and countering abusive treatment in preschool policy documents. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 31(5), 811-825
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The gap between juridical and pedagogical discourses concerning preventing and countering abusive treatment in preschool policy documents
2023 (English)In: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, ISSN 1350-293X, E-ISSN 1752-1807, Vol. 31, no 5, p. 811-825Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The basic idea of a Swedish preschool is that it is a place where children can learn and experience growth in a variety of areas, not least in the social area. According to the Education Act all preschools must annually document and evaluate planned work to prevent and remedy abusive treatment. The aim of this article is to analyse if and how the discursive gap between the juridical and pedagogical assignments given to preschools in national policy documents becomes visible in local policy plans concerning the prevention and remedy of abusive treatment. The empirical material consists of 89 documents. The result makes it clear that the juridical and pedagogical discourses contain a gap in local policy plans, making it unclear whether a juridical perspective or a pedagogical perspective on abusive treatment is to be used when preventing and remedying abusive treatment in practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
Children, juridical discourse, pedagogical discourse, earlychildhood education, abusive treatment, conflict
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-206824 (URN)10.1080/1350293x.2023.2201712 (DOI)000973523700001 ()2-s2.0-85153214934 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-04-18 Created: 2023-04-18 Last updated: 2023-10-23
Rantala, A. & Heikkilä, M. (2022). För vem finns planer att motverka kränkningar och diskriminering i förskolan?. Nordic Studies in Education, 42(2), 194-210
Open this publication in new window or tab >>För vem finns planer att motverka kränkningar och diskriminering i förskolan?
2022 (Swedish)In: Nordic Studies in Education, ISSN 1891-5914, E-ISSN 1891-5949, Vol. 42, no 2, p. 194-210Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim is to discuss in what ways annually written plans regarding preschool could support the work to counteract abusive treatment and discrimination. The empirical material consists of 89 documents. The result shows three different forms of plans; rendering-, descriptive- and analysis-based plans where the former completely lack of contextual anchoring. The results are discussed in relation to Ball’s concepts performativity and fabrications. This article discusses how performative control, including ability to measure, evaluate and compare preschools, can influence the teachers to fabricate the content. This study can give further knowledge of how these plans can be understood and for whom they are written.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk, 2022
Keywords
abusive treatment, discrimination, fabrications, performativity
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-195677 (URN)10.23865/nse.v42.3342 (DOI)2-s2.0-85136870801 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-06-02 Created: 2022-06-02 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
Svedberg, G. & Rantala, A. (2022). Kollegialt lärande i förskolan (1ed.). In: Annelie Nielsen; Mikaela Nyroos (Ed.), En förskola för alla: specialpedagogik, inkludering och likvärdighet (pp. 179-193). Stockholm: Liber
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kollegialt lärande i förskolan
2022 (Swedish)In: En förskola för alla: specialpedagogik, inkludering och likvärdighet / [ed] Annelie Nielsen; Mikaela Nyroos, Stockholm: Liber, 2022, 1, p. 179-193Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Liber, 2022 Edition: 1
Keywords
handledning, professionella gemenskaper, förskola för alla
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-192488 (URN)9789147141487 (ISBN)
Available from: 2022-03-23 Created: 2022-03-23 Last updated: 2023-03-07Bibliographically approved
Heikkilä, M., Hellman, A., Rantala, A., Furu, A.-C. & Lillvist, A. (2022). Teachers' understanding of children's needs in the time of coronavirus: norms on children among Finnish and Swedish ECEC teachers. In: Anette Hellman, Susanne Garvis (Ed.), Local childhoods in global times: (pp. 188-207). Bristol, UK: Intellect Ltd.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers' understanding of children's needs in the time of coronavirus: norms on children among Finnish and Swedish ECEC teachers
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2022 (English)In: Local childhoods in global times / [ed] Anette Hellman, Susanne Garvis, Bristol, UK: Intellect Ltd., 2022, p. 188-207Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bristol, UK: Intellect Ltd., 2022
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-200940 (URN)9781789386073 (ISBN)
Available from: 2022-11-10 Created: 2022-11-10 Last updated: 2022-11-25Bibliographically approved
Sundström, J., Hjelmér, C. & Rantala, A. (2021). Att borga för likvärdighet?: Kommunala tjänstemäns iscensättande av en ny läroplan för förskolan. In: Per-Olof Erixon, Anna Martín Bylund och Jakob Cromdal (Ed.), Per-Olof Erixon; Anna Martin Bylund; Jakob Cromdal (Ed.), Ämnet som blev: rapporter från den fjärde nationella konferensen i pedagogiskt arbete. Paper presented at Den fjärde nationella konferensen i pedagogiskt arbete, Umeå universitet, 19-20 augusti, 2019 (pp. 111-124). Umeå: Umeå universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att borga för likvärdighet?: Kommunala tjänstemäns iscensättande av en ny läroplan för förskolan
2021 (Swedish)In: Ämnet som blev: rapporter från den fjärde nationella konferensen i pedagogiskt arbete / [ed] Per-Olof Erixon; Anna Martin Bylund; Jakob Cromdal, Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2021, p. 111-124Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [sv]

Detta kapitel handlar om hur, med vilket innehåll och med vilka resurser en ny läroplan för förskolan iscensätts av kommunala tjänstemän i arbetet med rektorerna i en svensk kommun. Studien genomförs som en fallstudie med intervjuer och observationer. Genom ett policy enactmentperspektiv i enlighet med Braun, Ball, Maguire och Hoskins analyseras olika kontextuella dimensioner i studien: situerad, extern, professionell och materiell kontext. Resultatet visar värdet av att kunna använda en redan inarbetad organisation med regelbundna träffar med samtliga kommunala rektorer för förskolan. Förändringar i förskolans nya läroplan tas emot positivt av de kommunala tjänstemännen, och Skolverket framstår som den externa kontext som de visar stor tilltro till. Tjänstemännens egen professionserfarenhet från iscensättande av tidigare läroplaner ligger till grund för att de nu vill borga för likvärdighet mellan förskolor genom att ge samma information och material till samtliga rektorer. I detta arbete utgår de från arbetssätt och en del material som tillhandahålls av Skolverket. Det läroplansinnehåll som framför allt framställs som grundläggande och särskilt utmanande i studien är undervisning och förskollärares utökade pedagogiska ansvar. Genom ingående och praxisnära studier över tid bidrar detta kapitel till forskningsfältet i pedagogiskt arbete med kunskap om huvudmannanivån i förskolan.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2021
Series
Tilde: rapporter från Institutionen för estetiska ämnen ; 3
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-187252 (URN)978-91-7855-604-5 (ISBN)978-91-7855-603-8 (ISBN)
Conference
Den fjärde nationella konferensen i pedagogiskt arbete, Umeå universitet, 19-20 augusti, 2019
Available from: 2021-09-06 Created: 2021-09-06 Last updated: 2023-03-07Bibliographically approved
Rantala, A. & Heikkilä, M. (2021). Boundaries Between Conflicts and Abusive Treatments in Preschool Practices?. In: ECER Programmes: . Paper presented at ECER 2021, online via Geneva, Switzerland, Septer 6-10, 2021.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Boundaries Between Conflicts and Abusive Treatments in Preschool Practices?
2021 (English)In: ECER Programmes, 2021Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

According to the Swedish School Act (SFS, 2010: 800), preschools, as well as other educational providers, have an assignment to work actively to prevent discrimination and harassment. It is every child’s right to be in a school context which is safe and without any form of discrimination or harassment. Every preschool in Sweden have an obligation to make an annual planning in which preventive and remedial work shall be described. According to the School Act, the abusive treatments that are discovered must be reported to the principal without that the action being valued.

Teachers need to be able to identify behavior that can be seen as abusive treatments. It is also necessary to distinguish abusive treatments from other social interactions such as conflicts.

The purpose of this study is to increase the knowledge of how formulated plans to counter abusive treatments can act as a support in preschool practice, and support teacher in making this distinction.

Previous research concerning the area of ​​abusive treatments in preschool is limited. One reason for that may be that preschool children are not seen capable of performing abusive treatments (Kirves & Sananiemi, 2012). Nevertheless, researchers show that this can still happen in preschool (e.g. Camodeca, Caravita & Coppola 2015; Helgeland & Lund, 2016; Kirves & Sananiemi, 2012; Repo & Sajaniemi, 2015; Söderström & Löfdahl, 2017). Another reason for the lack of research may be that the concept is rooted in a school context and is difficult to contextualize in a preschool context (Söderström & Löfdahl, 2017).

The fact that there are conflicts between children is made visible by different researchers, (e.g. Hellman, 2010; Rantala, 2015; Söderström & Löfdahl, 2017). Conflicts can be described in different ways, for example through exclusion (Löfdahl, 2014), but also that children fights and kicks (Hellman, 2010). Research shows that adults position themselves differently in conflict situations between children (e.g., Rantala, 2016; Ribaeus, 2014), which affects what responsibility children receive in the resolution of the conflict. Adults' views of children's conflicts also appear to be influenced by the gender of the children. For example, it is described that boys' lack of self-control, aggressiveness, outgoing behavior and violence has been normalized (Eidevald, 2009; Hellman, 2010).

The results of the study reveal how abusive treatments are defined, described and exemplified in in quite similar ways. Many of the definitions, descriptions and exemplifications consistent with formulations in laws and other government documents.

In most plans, abusive treatments are defined as conduct that violates a child's dignity. In some plans, the term is defined as an abuse or violation of its equivalence. In other plans the definition is linked to an imbalance in relationships or in power relations between individuals. In some plans, abusive treatments are described as an expression of power and repression.

Abusive treatments are described as being both tangible, visible, more or less obvious but also hidden and subtle. It is described that they can be performed both physically (eg. punches, kicks), verbally (e.g. threats, slander, nickname, gibberish), psychosocial (eg. spreading rumors, grimaces) and by text and the image (e.g. chat, sms, mms, drawings, notes).

In several plans, abusive treatments are described as it can affect both children and adults and both children and adults can perform such acts. In most plans it is said that it is the individual who decides whether he or she feels exposed or not, which then determines whether the behavior should be regarded as an abusive treatment or not. However, some plans describe that if adults give children a justified dismissal, it is not abusive treatments even if the child experience it that way.

Method: In order to achieve the aim of the study and answer the research question, annually written plans to counteract abusive treatments has been collected and analysed. The data collection was performed by visiting all the 294 Swedish municipalities' websites. On the website pages that presented preschools the plans were searched for and the first five preschools’ websites were visited. The choice of documents was based on a criterion-based selection with two criteria. The first was that the document would be named Plan for counteract abusive treatments or that the content would be the same. The second criterion was that the document should be valid at the time of data collection (spring 2019). The material, which consists of 89 plans from the same number of Swedish municipalities, have been analyzed with qualitative content analysis (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007) based on how abusive treatments are defined, described and exemplified. The concepts of abusive treatment and conflicts have guided the initial coding of the plans. The next step of the analysis was to find patterns in the plans following the first step. The next step was to link this to a theoretizarion of juridical- and didactic logic which was a result of the second step. This will be presented further.

Expected Outcomes: The plans define, describe and exemplify abusive treatments based on a juridical logic. However, how this is separated from everyday conflicts is not clear and needs to be further discussed. For example, the plans describe that physical abusive treatments may be that children are fighting. In previous research this can be termed as a conflict (e.g. Hellman, 2010). The boundary between abusive treatments and conflicts is not clear. It is also possible to consider whether the boundary is drawn differently depending on the gender of children. Can the normalizing picture of boys' conflicts (Eidevald, 2009; Hellman, 2010) affect their behaviors to be seen more as conflicts while girls who act in similar ways are seen as abusive treatments? The result also makes it clear that it is the individual's experience that decides whether the behavior should be seen as an abusive treatment or not. This may not be problematic if children can talk about their experience (Söderström & Löfdahl, 2017). However, children, especially young children, in preschool may have more difficulty with verbally conveying their experiences. Monks and Smith (2006) also describe that young children have a more one-dimensional understanding of the concept of bullying which could also may apply to the concept of abusive treatments. If children cannot communicate or understand what is ok to be exposed to, it may be up to the teachers in the preschool to interpret the children's experiences. By not having a clear definition of what should be seen as abusive treatments that can be distinguished from other social interactions in preschool practice such as conflicts, it can be problematic to decide when acts should be reported or not. Writing plans for the work to counteract abusive treatments could be effective, but with a mission that is contextualized in another context can be complex.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-187484 (URN)
Conference
ECER 2021, online via Geneva, Switzerland, Septer 6-10, 2021
Available from: 2021-09-13 Created: 2021-09-13 Last updated: 2023-03-07Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-3006-1720

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