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Direct and indirect educational relationships: Developing a typology for the contribution of different categories of school staff in relation to students’ educational experiences
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences. (STORIES)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1871-4488
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences. (STORIES)
2015 (English)In: Improving Schools, ISSN 1365-4802, E-ISSN 1475-7583, Vol. 18, no 1, 56-68 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents results from a research project exploring the relational interplay between school staff and students, its functions and complexity in the secondary school context. School relationships (between students and different kinds of staff) are more or less indirectly related to educational content: subject matter as well as norms and values. In the teacher–student relationship, the teaching and learning of subject matter largely defines the relationship, whereas for school support staff, the relationship to such content is fairly distant. However, they all have in common that these assigned functions are created for the purpose of enabling the education of our youth. In this article, a case study from a secondary school is used to develop a typology for understanding the relevance that content may have in these different types of relationships. We also explore the sometimes unpredictable ways in which content can emerge as relevant. A year-long case study was conducted during the 2012–2013 school year at a secondary school that had recently been renovated and in which work had been done to improve the educational environment. Multiple data sources were used, including document analysis, mapping, contextual observations and interviews. Official statistics, newspaper articles and school quality reports were used to contextualize the case. In this article, interviews with different categories of school staff and students formed the main source of data. The different assigned functions of the staff were categorized as: educators, education professionals (e.g. counsellors) and education support professionals (e.g. caretakers). Although the latter were often indirectly connected to content, they could also have relevance through the relationships that they developed with students. Here, there is a point in separating the staff´s assigned function as officially described and their relation to students as played out in practice. Two examples illustrate how members of staff diverge somewhat from their assigned functions in informal places and spaces to facilitate the educational experience of the students. It is argued that in a school for all students, this flexibility in school relationships can improve students’ relations to content and school success.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015. Vol. 18, no 1, 56-68 p.
Keyword [en]
democracy, norms and values, school ecology, school relationships, school staff, subject matter
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-16598DOI: 10.1177/1365480214562124Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84924785966OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-16598DiVA: diva2:715083
Funder
AFA Insurance, 110145
Available from: 2014-04-30 Created: 2014-04-30 Last updated: 2015-07-08Bibliographically approved

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Frelin, AnneliGrannäs, Jan
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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
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Language
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