19 SES 10 B, Professional Skills, Policies and Practice in Education
Declining results in international comparative studies of Swedish schoolchildren has since the early 2000th been the fuel in both the media debate about a school in crisis as well as in the intensive reforming of the Swedish education system that has taken place in recent years. This reforming is also part of a global reforming of education based on a market-oriented tradition of ideas (Ball, 2003). In the debate has the relationship between teachers' skills and student achievement been portrayed as a particularly important factor in relation to pupils achievements, and claims has been made about teachers lack of competence which in turn has pushed for reforms aimed at tightening the requirements on teachers' skills. Stricter requirements for the teaching profession has been the stated goal with several reforms such as in the introduction of a new teacher education (Prop. 2009/10: 89), the introduction of teacher certification (Prop. 2010/11:20, 2010) as well as with the reform that allows for career paths for particularly skilled teachers the so-called Career Services for Teachers (CST) reform (Prop. 2012/13:136, 2013). This reform has introduced a new category of teachers, the so called first teachers (förstelärare) (Alvunger, 2016).
The (CST) reform (Prop. 2012/13:136, 2013) that was launched in the Swedish school in autumn 2013 is thus part of the all time most comprehensive package of reforms directed at the Swedish education system. The reform is based on the idea that a more differentiated wage distribution in the teaching staff whereby specifically skilled teachers are rewarded will imply that these teachers should spread their expertise to other teachers, which in turn will raise the education and school quality. Education quality is in this way defined in terms of increased effectiveness and thus follow the same tradition of marked-oriented ideas through its focus on measuring the quality in terms of performance (Promemoria U2012/4904/S, 2012). This logic, however, is not unproblematic, which also state office's (Statskontoret, 2016) evaluation points out. The reform rests heavily on the importance of professional skills, while there are no clear definitions of what qualities you talk about. Furthermore, although meta-analyses of research pointing to a link between the importance of teachers for student learning, this is by no means a simple relationship which many studies have also shown (Kane et al., 2011; Strong et al., 2011). Kane et al. (2011) argues, for example, that even in studies showing correlation between skills and increase student performance (of which their study is an example), there are ambiguities that the criteria for what is termed as professional skills vary between studies. In other words, it appears that the reform is based on a rather uncertain reasoning which raises many questions. The paper deals with questions about how professional skills are described as well as how these skills is addressed at a number of conferences organized for teachers who have been appointed to first teacher. This paper is based on the following question:
What skills are included in talk about professional skills and how are they related to the duties as first teacher?
The theoretical underpinning for this study is taken from the sociological theories, in which the school as a public institution is regarded as a complex organization governed by actors at different levels with different and often competing interest and power positions. In this research we are using Bernstein's theoretical explanation of the pedagogic device that describes the process that occurs when educational policies are interpreted and reformulated to finally be realized in educational practices (Singh, 2002; Bernstein, 2000)
Alvunger D. (2016) Vocational teachers taking the lead: VET teachers and the career services for teachers reform in Sweden. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training 6: 32-52. Ball SJ. (2003) The teacher's soul and the terrors of perfomativity. In: Ball SJ (ed) Education Policy and Social Class The selected work of Stephen J. Ball. Abingdon: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 143-156. Beach D. (2010) Identifying and comparing Scandinavian ethnography: comparisons and influences. Ethnography & Education 5: 49-63 Bernstein B. (2000) Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: theory, research, critique, Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Kane TJ, Taylor ES, Tyler JH, et al. (2011) Identifying Effective Classroom Practices Using Student Achievement Data. Journal of Human Resources 46: 587-613. Promemoria U2012/4904/S. (2012) Karriärvägar m.m i fråga om lärare i skolväsendet, Regeringskansliet. Prop. 2010/11:20. (2010) Legitimation för lärare och förskollärare, Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartemented. Prop. 2012/13:136. (2013) Karriärvägar för lärare i skolväsendet m.m., Regeringskansliet, Stockholm Utbildningsdepartementet. Singh P. (2002) Pedagogising Knowledge: Bernstein's theory of the pedagogic device. BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION 23: 571 - 582. Statskontoret. (2016) Uppföljning av karriärstegsreformen för lärare. Delrapport 2. Stockholm: Statskontoret. Strong M, Gargani J and Hacifazlioğlu Ö. (2011) Do We Know a Successful Teacher When We See One? Experiments in the Identification of Effective Teachers. Journal of Teacher Education 62: 367-382. Stronge JH, Ward TJ and Grant LW. (2011) What Makes Good Teachers Good? A Cross-Case Analysis of the Connection Between Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement. Journal of Teacher Education 62: 339-355.
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