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Lärares ledarskap som möjliggörande och begränsande i mötet med ’alla’ barn: En deltagarorienterad studie
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Teachers’ leadership as enabling and limiting in interactions with ‘all’ children : A participatory-oriented study (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to, based on teachers’ experiences, describe and analyse meanings of teachers’ leadership in general, and in relation to children in need of special support in particular. The study was carried out within the tradition of participatory-oriented research, a research circle. The dialogues in the circle were based on the participants’ questions, experiences, interests, and knowledge. The circle included a researcher and nine teachers from the following types of schools: preschool, preschool class, compulsory school, and compulsory school for pupils with learning disabilities.

The study is based on an understanding of leadership as a relational practice. Leadership is practised in the interaction between teacher and child. Both parties exert influence over the practice of leadership. A central assumption in the study is that knowledge can develop through and in interactions between people, that knowledge and power are connected, and that knowledge and actions are intertwined. Another central assumption is that learning is a complex phenomenon.

In the analysis of the research circle’s dialogues, the following meanings of teachers’ leadership emerge: to facilitate learning and discipline, and to promote different interests. The practice of leadership involves teachers handling complex situations in their interactions with ‘all’ children, i.e. children in need of special support and children without such needs. Leadership is practised between teachers and children, and the teachers have to consider the group of children as a collective in relation to the individual children. At the same time, the teachers have to consider their intentions versus what happens during the interactions. In addition, the teachers have to pay heed to the fact that their own actions and the children’s actions influence one another. Finally, the teachers have to consider the individual child’s ‘best interest’ in relation to the requirements of the policy documents. Furthermore, the results indicate that the practice of leadership is perceived as both unpredictable and, to some extent, predictable at the same time, which adds to the complexity of leadership. The teachers cannot know for sure what the children understand or if the children’s actions facilitate learning. However, the teachers can make certain assumptions about how to practice leadership in order to facilitate learning and discipline in children with different needs. The meanings of leadership were expressed in different ways in the circle’s dialogues; both as enabling and limiting in interactions with children in need of special support. One of the study’s conclusions is that leadership seems to be particularly complex in interactions with children in need of special support.

The research circle’s dialogues served to promote a democratic knowledge process. The dialogues were characterised by respect for the participants’ different opinions; however, this does not mean that they were free from power structures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Specialpedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet , 2016. , 200 p.
Keyword [en]
teachers’ leadership, special education, children in special needs, children in different needs, complexity, tensions, learning, discipline, interests, participatory-oriented research, research circle, dialogues, democratic knowledge processes
Keyword [sv]
lärares ledarskap, specialpedagogik, barn i behov av särskilt stöd, barn i olika behov, komplexitet, spänningar, lärande, dsiciplinering, intressen, deltagarorienterad forskning, forskningscirkel, dialoger, demokratiska kunskapsprocesser
National Category
Research subject
Special Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128408ISBN: 978-91-7649-393-9OAI: diva2:951032
Public defence
2016-09-23, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska muséet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-08-31 Created: 2016-03-26 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved

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