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Wahlström, N., Alvunger, D., Schmidt, C., Sundberg, D. & Vogt, B. (2019). Coding scheme for analysing classroom discourse and conceptualisations of knowledge. In: Wahlström, Ninni (Ed.), Classroom research: Methodology, categories and coding (pp. 39-43). Växjö: Linnaeus University Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coding scheme for analysing classroom discourse and conceptualisations of knowledge
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2019 (English)In: Classroom research: Methodology, categories and coding / [ed] Wahlström, Ninni, Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2019, , p. 44p. 39-43Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2019. p. 44
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-89729 (URN)978-91-89081-04-8 (ISBN)
Projects
Att utforska de svårfångade olikheterna – likvärdighet och kunskapssegregation i undervisningsprocesser
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2019-10-18 Created: 2019-10-18 Last updated: 2019-10-18Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. (2019). To catch the forms of knowledge in teaching. In: Wahlström, Ninni (Ed.), Classroom research: Methodology, categories and coding (pp. 22-30). Växjö: Linnaeus University Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To catch the forms of knowledge in teaching
2019 (English)In: Classroom research: Methodology, categories and coding / [ed] Wahlström, Ninni, Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2019, , p. 44p. 22-30Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2019. p. 44
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-89728 (URN)978-91-89081-04-8 (ISBN)
Projects
Att utforska de svårfångade olikheterna – likvärdighet och kunskapssegregation i undervisningsprocesser
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2019-10-18 Created: 2019-10-18 Last updated: 2019-10-18Bibliographically approved
Adolfsson, C.-H. & Alvunger, D. (2018). A study on policy pressures and power dynamics in the changing landscape of local school governance. In: : . Paper presented at European Conference of Educational Research (ECER) in Bolzano, 3 – 7 September.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A study on policy pressures and power dynamics in the changing landscape of local school governance
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim with this paper is to explore local school governance in the Swedish schooling system by focusing on the local authority and principals through a lens of neo-institutional theory. The study is conducted against a backdrop of current trends in global and national educational policy where it in the Swedish context is possible to identify two major shifts:

 

  • new ways of how the state seeks to control the schools’ outcomes at the expense of the local authorities room for exercise of power– a ‘re-centralisation’
  • the emergence of a new dynamic between the local authority and principals.

 

In the early 1990s, the Swedish school system was decentralised and the municipalities were given authority for the governing of the schools. A new goal- and outcome-based quality system was introduced that put the municipalities in Sweden in a new position. However, during the last decades transnational organisations and associations such as the OECD and the EU have gained greater influence over education policy (Robertson & Dale, 2015). New policy spaces have emerged that transcend, but also converge within, national borders (Sassen, 2006). Accountability, standardisation and increased student results stand out as important ingredients in current global reform agendas (Wahlström & Sundberg, 2017a; Anderson-Levitt, 2008). In Sweden, declining student achievement in PISA has made policy-makers inclined to be informed by policy solutions from the OECD (Wahlström, 2017). Paired with a strong focus on student achievement, the notion of a school system in a state of crisis grew. Altogether, this have spurred an intensive critique against the decentralised schooling system and triggered a trend of ‘re-centralisation’ in Sweden, meaning a shift towards a more state-regulated governing of the school system (Wahlström & Sundberg, 2017; Adolfsson, 2013) . The government has introduced several reforms and incentives that involves the local management of schools. These include, for instance, a new national curriculum for the compulsory and the upper secondary schooling, a School Inspectorate for auditing and monitoring schools; A reformed Education Act emphasising the local authority’s responsibility for equity and student achievement, and strengthening the principals’ authority; Professional development programmes; and new specialist functions in school (Alvunger, 2015; Adolfsson & Alvunger, 2017). These policy movements have altogether challenged the relations between the state, the local authorities and the schools in Sweden. In light of these changes and with reference to the presented aim of this paper, we ask ourselves the following research questions:

  • How do representatives of the local authority experience and respond to the pressure and influence from the state through the focus on equity and the improvement of student results in national educational policy discourse?
  • What strategies do the local authority employ for governing the schools in the municipality?
  • In what ways do principals respond to the tension in the ‘dual’ governance from the state and the local authority?

 

The paper draws on a ‘classical’ theoretical and methodological framework of curriculum theory (i.e. the frame-factor theory), with its different levels of analysis – the societal/ideological level, the programmatic level; and the school/classroom level (Lundgren, 1972). When it comes to the more specific analysis of the consequences of the changed conditions of governing and exercise of control at the local policy level, a neo-institutional theoretical perspective will be used (Scott, 2008). From this perspective, three dimensions can be highlighted regarding how institutions seek to control and affect other institutions, respond to external pressure and seek legitimacy: regulative (rules and sanctions for legitimacy), normative (evaluation and moral legitimacy), and cognitive-cultural/discursive (shared conceptions and frames of meaning-making (2008).

 

Methods and material

 

This paper has a mixed-method design, where the research design aims at preserving the complexity and deepening the perspective of the research questions being addressed while at the same time obtaining different, but complementary data on the same phenomenon (Cresswell, 2010; Cresswell and Clark, 2007). The study of local governance with the local authority and principals is conducted in three steps. The first of the research questions, i.e. how representatives of the local authority experience and respond to policy pressure from the state, will be answered by using secondary data from a project that investigated the municipalities as policy actors in light of the implementation of the new national curriculum for compulsory schooling in Sweden (Wahlström & Sundberg, 2017). It includes a survey (n= 727) and interviews with representatives from local authorities in Sweden. The two remaining sets of research questions, comprising local authorities’ strategies for governing schools and principals’ responses, will be answered through a case study of a large municipality in southern Sweden (135 000 inhabitants) using a survey (n=61; response rate 62 %) to principals and 4 semi-structured focus-group interviews with principals and representatives of the local authority. The survey consisted of questions about experiences of the subsequent organisation, governing structures, the communication of aims between different levels, collaborative structures and arenas, professional development, curriculum support and the role of functions for school development. The quantitative data was then analysed and used for asking follow-up and questions in the interviews, targeting specific items regarding experiences of expectations from the institutional environment, policy pressures, governing structures and strategies to cope with certain arrangements in the environment. The interviews thus provided complementary qualitative data and gave a richer description of the principals’ views.

 

Expected outcomes

 

Representatives from the local authority emphasise that the national governance of schools to a higher extent and in a more explicit way is directed towards the schools as units as a result the recent educational reforms. They claim that the autonomy of principals following the Education act has created greater clarity. Meanwhile, it has impeded their agency in matters concerning enactment of government policy and curriculum. In combination with the emphasis on local authorities as being responsible for quality assurance, allocating resources for equity and student achievement, the local authorities’ ability to control internal processes of schools has decreased significantly. It seems that local authorities’ space for regulative sanctions and mechanisms has been weakened. In order to compensate, local authorities apply strategies of soft governance for controlling the schools. These strategies are characterised by normative and cognitive/discursive dimension and may be comprised by one or a combination of the following:

  • Re-structuring the organisation and controlling communication
  • Use expert teachers to monitor and control internal professional development/school improvement efforts of schools
  • Competition through rewarding schools which comply to reforms, show best practice and have high-performing students
  • Standardisation measures to ensure greater coherence and compliance

 

The principals describe a more generous space for action with the Education act, but they also experience a higher degree of pressure to improve student achievement and goal attainment, both from the local authority and from the state. This pressure is expressed in different ways. The local authority presents comparisons of results between schools which triggers competition. The principals are bound to report results or other statistical data on request, which in turn may cause a negative pressure from their teachers. In addition, principals describe how a lot of resources in terms of time and money are invested to ‘pass’ inspections from the national agency.

 

References

Adolfsson, C-H. (2013). Kunskapsfrågan – En läroplansteoretisk studie om gymnasieskolans reformer mellan 1960-talet och 2010-talet [The question of knowledge – a curriculum study of the Swedish upper secondary school reforms between the 1960s and 2010s]. Dissertation, Linnaeus University.

 

Adolfsson, C-H., & Alvunger, D. (2017). The nested systems of local school development : Understanding improved interaction and capacities in the different sub-systems of schools. Improving Schools. 20. 195-208.

 

Alvunger, D. (2015).
Towards new forms of educational leadership? The local implementation of förstelärare in Swedish schools.
Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 1(3), 55–66.

 

Anderson-Levitt, K. M. (2008). Globalization and curriculum. In: M. F. Connelly (Ed.), The Sage handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 349–368). London: Sage Publications.

Creswell, J. W. (2010). Mapping the developing landscape of mixed methods research. In A. Tashakkori, & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Sage handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research (pp. 45–68). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods. London: SAGE.

Lundgren, U.P. (1972). Frame factors and the teaching process: A contribution to curriculum theory and theory of teaching. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.

 

Robertson, S., & Dale, R. (2015). Towards a ‘critical cultural political economy’ account of the globalising of education, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 13(1), 149–170, DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2014.967502

Sassen, S. (2006). Territory, authority, rights: From medieval to global assemblages. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Scott, W. (2008). Approaching Adulthood: The Maturing of Institutional Theory. Theory and Society, 37(5), 427-442.

Wahlström, N., & Sundberg, D. (2017). Transnational curriculum standards and classroom practices. The new meaning of teaching. New York, NY: Routledge.

Wahlström, N. (2017). The travelling reform agenda: The Swedish case through the lens of OECD. In N. Wahlström, & D. Sundberg (Eds.), Transnational curriculum standards and classroom practices. The new meaning of teaching (pp. 15–30). New York, NY: Routledge.

 

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-79626 (URN)
Conference
European Conference of Educational Research (ECER) in Bolzano, 3 – 7 September
Available from: 2019-01-18 Created: 2019-01-18 Last updated: 2019-02-12Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. & Wahlström, N. (2018). Den evidensbaserade skolan: en introduktion. In: Daniel Alvunger & Ninni Wahlström (Ed.), Den evidensbaserade skolan: Svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik (pp. 9-30). Natur och kultur
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Den evidensbaserade skolan: en introduktion
2018 (Swedish)In: Den evidensbaserade skolan: Svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik / [ed] Daniel Alvunger & Ninni Wahlström, Natur och kultur, 2018, p. 9-30Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Natur och kultur, 2018
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-79263 (URN)9789127817616 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-12-18 Created: 2018-12-18 Last updated: 2018-12-18Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. & Wahlström, N. (Eds.). (2018). Den evidensbaserade skolan: svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik. Natur och kultur
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Den evidensbaserade skolan: svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik
2018 (Swedish)Collection (editor) (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Natur och kultur, 2018. p. 231
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71730 (URN)9789127817616 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-03-21 Created: 2018-03-21 Last updated: 2018-12-18Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. & Grahn Johansson, V. (2018). Exploring recontextualization of didactic ability and vocational teacher students’ professional learning through video analysis. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 8(3), 36-56
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring recontextualization of didactic ability and vocational teacher students’ professional learning through video analysis
2018 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, ISSN 2242-458X, E-ISSN 2242-458X, Vol. 8, no 3, p. 36-56Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores how vocational teacher education (VTE) students experience professional learning through the use of video analysis, their reflection among peers and their meaning-making of the ‘didactic ability’ concept during the beginning of their education. The empirical data consists of an online survey and semi-structured interviews with five vocational teacher education students. Bernstein’s concept of ‘pedagogic discourse’ and a conceptual framework of recontextualisation in vocational education and training developed by Evans, Guile and Harris guide the research. The findings strongly support observations from previous research that emphasise that the use of video promotes and supports teacher students’ professional growth. The VTE students develop a new understanding of how to organise content and to analytically handle the relationship between theoretical aspects and professional action. The emerging meanings of didactic ability are a new discursive understanding of work-knowledge and the teaching content, as well as a strategic structuring of the content for sense-making, transcending the theory and practice divide through visual artefacts and practical tasks and the ability to use different teaching strategies. Language, actions, content and meanings in terms of workplace codes tend to ‘move’ and to be recontextualised from the school’s pedagogic discourse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education, General Didactics; Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-79108 (URN)10.3384/njvet.2242-458X.188336 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-12-06 Created: 2018-12-06 Last updated: 2019-07-09Bibliographically approved
Wahlström, N., Alvunger, D. & Wermke, W. (2018). Living in an era of comparisons: comparative research on policy, curriculum and teaching. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 50(5), 587-594
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Living in an era of comparisons: comparative research on policy, curriculum and teaching
2018 (English)In: Journal of Curriculum Studies, ISSN 0022-0272, E-ISSN 1366-5839, Vol. 50, no 5, p. 587-594Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The articles in this special issue include different perspectives on comparativepolicy studies with an aim to understand transnational educationpolicies in relation to the logic of national educational systems andto grasp the ongoing reframing of teacher identity and teaching as aresult of the policy activities of ‘new’ and coordinated internationalactors. This special issue aims to contribute to a continued qualifiedinvestigation in curriculum issues at the various levels within the publiceducation system, as well as in the international policy movements,affecting public education differently in different nations. A ‘comparativecurriculum research’ inspired by theories and methods from comparativeeducation might be helpful in this endeavour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon-on-Thames: Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
Comparative research, educational policy, curriculum research, classroom research, ethnographic research
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education; Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77937 (URN)10.1080/00220272.2018.1502814 (DOI)2-s2.0-85052887146 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-09-22 Created: 2018-09-22 Last updated: 2019-04-03Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. & Wahlström, N. (2018). Lärarutbildningens forskningsbasering. In: Daniel Alvunger & Ninni Wahlström (Ed.), Den evidensbaserade skolan: Svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik (pp. 101-134). Natur och kultur
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lärarutbildningens forskningsbasering
2018 (Swedish)In: Den evidensbaserade skolan: Svensk skola i skärningspunkten mellan forskning och praktik / [ed] Daniel Alvunger & Ninni Wahlström, Natur och kultur, 2018, p. 101-134Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Natur och kultur, 2018
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71731 (URN)9789127817616 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-03-21 Created: 2018-03-21 Last updated: 2018-12-18Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. & Wahlström, N. (2018). Research-based teacher education? Exploring the meaning potentials of Swedish teacher education. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 24(4), 332-349
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Research-based teacher education? Exploring the meaning potentials of Swedish teacher education
2018 (English)In: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, ISSN 1354-0602, E-ISSN 1470-1278, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 332-349Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, we explore the meaning potentials of teacher education in terms of the significance of a research-based approach and the different pedagogic identities that such an approach implies. The study’s aim is to examine the important factors for education to be considered research-based and to identify and analyse the research base of teacher education in Sweden. The results from the analysis of a large number of course documents and from a survey administered to teachers and students in four teacher education programmes indicate that the emerging potential meaning is that teacher education is generally a strongly framed professional education with a relatively weak and adapted research base. The analysis of the classification and framing of disciplinary content and pedagogy in the Swedish teacher education curriculum points at different pedagogic identities emerging from the different meaning potentials that are made available to the students. We argue that a thorough understanding of research-based teacher education needs to be grounded in both course content and its research base as well as other possible pedagogical aspects of research-based education; the education as a whole must be included in the concept of research-based education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018
Keywords
Teacher education, research-based education, pedagogic discourse, pedagogic identity, meaning potentials
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-68994 (URN)10.1080/13540602.2017.1403315 (DOI)000428866700002 ()2-s2.0-85034840550 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-11-25 Created: 2017-11-25 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Alvunger, D. (2018). Teachers’ curriculum agency in teaching a standards-based curriculum. Curriculum Journal, 29(4), 479-498
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers’ curriculum agency in teaching a standards-based curriculum
2018 (English)In: Curriculum Journal, ISSN 0958-5176, E-ISSN 1469-3704, Vol. 29, no 4, p. 479-498Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 2011, Sweden introduced explicit standards for the curriculum used in compulsory schooling through the implementation of ‘knowledge requirements’ that align content, abilities and assessment criteria. This article explores and analyses social science teachers’ curriculum agency through a theoretical framework comprised of ‘teacher agency’ and Bernstein’s concepts of ‘pedagogic device’, ‘hierarchical knowledge structure’ and ‘horizontal knowledge structure’. Teachers’ curriculum agency, in recontextualisation of the curriculum, is described and understood through three different ‘spaces’: a collective space, an individual space and an interactive space in the classroom. The curriculum and time are important for the possibilities of agency – the teachers state that the new knowledge requirements compel them to include and assess a lot of content in each ‘curriculum task’. It is possible to identify a recontextualisation process of ‘borrowing’ and combining content from curriculum tasks across the different subjects. This process is explained by the horizontal knowledge structure and ‘weak grammar’ of the social sciences. Abilities, on the other hand, stand out as elements of a hierarchical knowledge structure in which a discursive space is opened for knowledge to transcend contexts and provides opportunities for meaning-making. The space gives teachers room for action and for integrating disciplinary content.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
curriculum, curriculum theory, secondary teachers, subject knowledge, content
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77060 (URN)10.1080/09585176.2018.1486721 (DOI)000469997000004 ()2-s2.0-85050677721 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-08-06 Created: 2018-08-06 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-4243-2496

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