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  • 1.
    Frelin, Anneli
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Curriculum studies.
    Grannäs, Jan
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Curriculum studies.
    Direct and indirect educational relationships: Developing a typology for the contribution of different categories of school staff in relation to students’ educational experiences2015In: Improving Schools, ISSN 1365-4802, E-ISSN 1475-7583, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 56-68Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 2.
    Frelin, Anneli
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences, Curriculum studies.
    Grannäs, Jan
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences, Curriculum studies.
    Studying relational spaces in secondary school: applying a spatial framework for the study of borderlands and relational work in school improvement processes2014In: Improving Schools, ISSN 1365-4802, E-ISSN 1475-7583, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 135-147Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article introduces a theoretical framework for studying school improvement processes such as making school environments safer. Using concepts from spatial theory, in which distinctions between mental, social and physical space are applied, makes for a multidimensional analysis of processes of change. In a multi-level case study, these were combined with task perception analysis, where all categories of personnel and management in the school were studied. The results indicated the significance of borderlands in the school for helping students, of organizational transgressions aimed at “making things work” and of social spaces created in the borderlands that contributed to the necessary social glue in the school. This theoretical framework offers alternative and fruitful lenses which can enrich studies of school improvement processes. The use of multiple data sources allows for triangulation, which in turn improves the validity and reliability of the results.

  • 3.
    Grannäs, Jan
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science, Curriculum studies.
    Frelin, Anneli
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science, Curriculum studies.
    Spaces of student support: comparing educational environments from two time periods2017In: Improving Schools, ISSN 1365-4802, E-ISSN 1475-7583, Vol. 20, no 2, p. 127-142Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article sets out to explore how and whether the physical, social and conceived conditions in schools facilitate or disrupt support work aimed at improving student learning and preventing social exclusion (cf. Author 1 & Author 2, 2013). This is accomplished by comparing student support practices in the common areas of two newly renovated secondary schools built in two different time periods.

    The focus is on the student support staff’s (exemplified by student welfare officers and school hosts) enactment of support for students’ learning and well-being.This enactment takes place in a designed school environment, where teachers and support staff appropriate spaces for educational purposes in different ways (cf. Stables, 2015). The interview and observational data come from two qualitative case studies. A spatial analysis perspective is used is to investigate the physical, social and conceived aspects of space (Author 1 & Author 2, 2014, 2015). The case schools, located in two municipalities, were originally built in the 1910s (Maple Grove) and the 1960s (Pine Bay). Both schools serve mixed to low SES (socio-economic status) communities and have organized student support functions in the schools’ corridors, cafeterias, recreation areas and other common spaces. These functions include the school host, the student coach and the student welfare officer.

    The ways in which the support staff claim the locales show that they transcend the initial design functionality by appropriating spaces for their everyday practices (Stables, 2015). Their task perception thus delineates a certain professional territory, a task perception that is taking place, so to speak. The results show that this professional territory can vary, even among those in the same profession. The support functions expand their professional territory by being mobile in the school building and thereby creating more and larger surfaces for social interactions with students and other support functions.

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