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Professional border territory negotiations between teachers and social pedagogues – a case study
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science, Curriculum studies. (STORIES)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1871-4488
La Trobe University, Australia.
2018 (English)In: NERA 2018 - 46th Congress: Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges: Abstracts, 2018, p. 424-Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In response to a growing teacher shortage in most Nordic countries, and calls to “let teachers be teachers”, other professional groups with varying backgrounds and training are being introduced in schools. This measure is expected to let teachers focus primarily on core tasks, for example teaching and grading, and leave more peripheral tasks to members of other professional groups. In everyday practices, such changes in their professional work environment entails, to some extent, professional boundary negotiations. This paper examines such negotiations in a case study, in order to trace some emerging professional boundaries and potential boundary crossings between teachers and so called social pedagogues.

Professions provide important services to the society based on discretionary work that requires university based training and licensing (e.g. Evetts, 2009). In Sweden, focus has been placed on formal grading as the most apparent task over which only teachers have jurisdiction, which is also in line with an increased focus on accountability in schools (Englund & Solbrekke, 2015). Professional action in education has been analysed using the concept of professional territory, which consists of the school staff's conceived task perception, the social transactionand the appropriated physical space where interaction takes place (Grannäs & Frelin, 2017).

A case study was conducted in a newly built primary school (grades F-6). The staff teams consisted of three teachers and one social pedagogue responsible for around 90 students. The social pedagogues had occupational training although not a university degree. Three school visits and four interviews with two primary teachers and two social pedagogues were conducted. For this paper, interviews with a teacher and a social pedagogue working in the same team were analysed with attention to instances of negotiation and blurred boundaries, here conceptualized as professional border territories.

Preliminary results: In the first year in operation of the school, the teachers and social pedagogues have had to negotiate continuously, as situations have emerged in the professional territory. This regards for example the matter of who should “check in” the students in the department in the morning. The time and place just before classes start can thus be viewed as one professional border territory. Another such territory is during seat work, when the social pedagogue tried to steer clear of helping students with their work and tend to matters of order. A third is during emergent conflicts, where the person who was present first, either the teacher or the social pedagogue, attended to the matter even if this was the social pedagogue’s task. When new professional groups enter schools their potential contribution to the educational environment, along with the risks that may ensue for educational relationships, need investigation.

References:

Englund, Tomas, & Solbrekke, Tone Dyrdal. (2015). Om innebörder i lärarprofessionalism. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, 20(3-4), 168-194.

Evetts, Julia. (2009). New Professionalism and New Public Management: Changes, Continuities and Consequences. Comparative Sociology, 8(2), 247-266. doi: 10.1163/156913309x421655

Grannäs, Jan, & Frelin, Anneli. (2017). Spaces of student support -comparing educational environments from two time periods. Improving schools, 20(2), 127-142

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. p. 424-
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25795OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25795DiVA, id: diva2:1165906
Conference
NERA 2018, 46th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), 8-10 March 2018, Oslo, Norway
Available from: 2017-12-14 Created: 2017-12-14 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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