07 SES 07 A, Displaced, Minority and Recently Immigrated Teachers
Due to the unprecedented numbers of refugees that have arrived in recent years, many countries in Europe took initiatives to different integration activities to shorten immigrated adults time from arrival to work. In 2015, as part of a new labour market policy, the Swedish government launched Snabbspåret, a fast-track professional development programme for recently immigrated teachers. There are similar education programmes for immigrated academics in for example Austria and Germany (Fabio 2018).
Snabbspåret (hereafter the Fast-track) is an agreement between the government, the social partners and the Swedish association of local authorities and regions. This political measure has two objectives: to shorten recently immigrated teachers’ path to establish themselves in schools and preschools, and, to counter shortage of labour in schools (SOU 2016:35). Participation in the Fast-track is not sufficient for full-time employee as a teacher since this requires a teacher certification.
The overall aim of this paper is to examine what signifies immigrated teachers’ professional integration into the Swedish school system. The more precise purpose is to study how policy about the Fast-track for recently immigrated teachers is enacted at a local level at Stockholm University.
The research questions are:
- What is the problems and solutions of recently immigrated teachers represented to be in policy?
- How is policy about the Fast-track programme for recently immigrated teachers enacted at a local level?
- What challenges and possibilities can we identify in immigrated teachers’ initial phase of professional integration?
In order to discuss how policy is enacted by diverse actors in the fast-track programme (e.g. educators, supervisors and the immigrated teachers), we synthesize two theoretically relevant frameworks, namely policy enactment and theories of the profession and professionalism. Firstly, we consider policy texts as the articulation of a particular discourse on immigrant teachers’ knowledge and competences (Ball, 1993; Simons & Kelchtermans, 2008). In line with Maguire, Braun and Ball (2015, p. 3), we start from the assumption that policy enactments co-exist with informal and undocumented policy practices. In other words, policy (including curriculum) is regarded as a discursive strategy which is enacted in specific contexts (school) and re-enacted through discursive and material practices in daily work. Thus, policy enactment is an ongoing process that implies interplay between various actors in different locations (Ball, Maguire & Braun, 2012). Secondly, in order to contribute to a discussion of immigrated teachers’ professional integration we use theories of the profession and professionalism, which highlights the need of control, autonomy and legitimacy as central aspects for professional action (Evetts 2013; Freidson 2001).
Research about education initiatives for immigrants mainly focus low educated persons. To a limited extent, there are research focusing immigrated academics e. g. within the healthcare sector (Batalova & Lowell 2007). Several studies about immigrated teachers focus on the obstacle of language skills and the challenges to transform teacher identity and voice (see, for example, Beynone, Ilieva & Dichupa 2004; Bigestans 2015; Colliander, 2018; Sandlund 2010). In Canada, where there exists a fast track for immigrant teachers, the importance of integrating immigrant teachers into the new school system is emphasized on the basis that the teachers could be role models in multicultural school and society (Schmidt, Young & Mandzuk 2010).
This paper sets out to widen the scope of educational research about migration by investigating how policy of immigrated teachers is enacted in the initial phase of entering into a new school system.
As mentioned above, the local case concerns the Fast-track programme for recently immigrated teachers at Stockholm University. Our case concerns a group of immigrated teachers who started their participation in the programme in December 2016. This group involved about 60 recently immigrated teachers, most of them from Syria. The study’s empirical data consist of policy texts concerning the Fast-track programme for recently immigrated teachers, observations and focus group interviews. The focus groups cover one interview with teachers at the Fast-track at Stockholm University, one with supervisors from internships in schools and five interviews with immigrated teachers. Each focus group consisted of 3-5 participations. Focus group interviews allowed us to explore attitudes, norms, experiences and ideas expressed in the professional narratives emerging in the interviews (Bloor et al. 2001). In analysing the interviews we paid attention to the participants’ utterance concerning challenges and possibilities in their process of professional integration. We applied a thematic analysis by discerning similarities, discrepancy and tensions. The policy analysis attends to the work of discourse and technologies in producing subjects (immigrant teacher) (Bacchi, 2012). This means that we trace discursive practices; how they connect to diverse mechanisms and knowledge. In analysing the policy texts we used Carol Bacchi’s (2012) method of problematisation. Policy texts here involve state public reports, memorandums, local school policy, local policy texts and the curriculum in the Fast-track (c. f. Government Offices 2015; SOU 2016; Stockholm University 2017; Swedish Public Employment Service 2017). Following Bacchi’s (2012) analytical questions of how problems in policy are represented, we ask questions about assumptions of the immigrated teacher, how policy solutions are articulated and what is left unproblematic. Observations were conducted during lessons and their internships in schools and provided us an understanding of how collective actions relate to institutional conditions in the school practice (Czarniawska, 2007). The observations, both at the university and the workplace part of the Fast-track, has mainly contributed to our understanding of how policy about immigrated teachers’ professional integration was enacted. Through the observations of the internship at schools, we were able to study how pupils and other teachers related to the immigrated teachers and how pedagogical opportunities and challenges were expressed in practice. Not least, we were able to gain a more nuanced understanding of the narratives that emerged in the focus group interviews.
Our study indicates that policy about the Fast-track in Sweden is shaped by social regularities within the context of integration of recently immigrated people in which the ‘education is integration’ discourse play a significant role. In most texts, immigrated teachers are described as potential resources in school. The policy analysis indicates that the solution to the problem with immigrant teachers’ integration in much concerns immigrated pupils in the Swedish school, which these teachers are assumed to support. Although immigrated teachers are addressed as professionals who should be integrated into the teaching profession (hence obtaining a teacher certification), our analysis shows that it is primarily in the role of teaching assistants that they are expected to work. This expectation was enacted by some supervisors in the local school by tasks given to the immigrated teachers, by referring to lack of skills, primarily language skills in Swedish, but also issues related to appropriate professional behaviour. The study shows that the process of professional integration largely becomes a responsibility of the individual immigrant teacher. In this process, the ability to master the Swedish language play an important role. However, the study demonstrates that it is of equal importance to master norms and values in school. Enactment is not simply a reproduction of policy but interpreted through local policy, local school culture and by assumptions about teacher professionalism. The role of being a teaching assistant was enacted by some of the immigrated teachers, but mainly as a way to continue to work in school. Others refused this option and enrolled to further education for immigrated teachers to attain teacher certification. The study highlights the importance of studying the interplay between policy of immigrant teachers’ establishment in a new school system and enactments and re-enactments in practices by local actors.
Bacchi, C. (2012). Why study problematizations? Making politics visible. Open Journal of Political Science, 2(1), 1–8. Ball, C. (1993). What is policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes. Discourse, 13(2), 10–17. Beynon,J., Ilieva, R. & Dichupa, M. (2004) Re‐credentialling experiences of immigrant teachers: negotiating institutional structures, professional identities and pedagogy, Teachers and Teaching, 10:4, 429-444 Bigestans, A. (2015). Utmaningar och möjligheter för utländska lärare som återinträder i yrkeslivet i svensk skola. Stockholm University Bloor, M. (red.) (2001). Focus Groups in Social Research. London: SAGE Colliander 2018. Being and Becoming a Teacher in Initial Literacy and Second Language Education for Adults. Linköping University Czarniawska, B. (2007). Shadowing and other techniques for doing fieldwork in modern societies. Malmö: Liber. Evetts, J. (2013). Professionalism: Value and ideology. Current Sociology, 61(5-6). Fabio D. (2018). Challenges and Opportunities in Education for Refugees in Europe. Rotterdam: Brill/Sense. Freidson, E. (2001). Professionalism the third logic. University of Chicago Press. Government Offices (2015). Överenskomna insatser med anledning av flyktingkrisen [Agreed efforts due to the refugee crisis] https://www.regeringen.se/regeringens-politik/overenskommelsen-insatser-med-anledning-av-flyktingkrisen/ 2018-05-31 Maguire, M., Braun, A. and Ball, S. (2015) ‘Where you stand depends on where you sit’: the social construction of policy enactments in the (English) secondary school’ Discourse, Vol. 36(4), 485-499. Sandlund M. (2010) Lärare med utländsk bakgrund: sju yrkeslivsberättelser om möten med nya skolsammanhang. Linköping University Simons, M. & Kelchtermans, G. 2008. Teacher professionalism in Flemish policy on teacher education: a critical analysis of the Decree on teacher education (2006) in Flanders, Belgium. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 14(4), 283–294. SOU (2016). Utredningen om utbildning för nyanlända. Vägen in till det svenska skolväsendet. [The Investigation on Education for Newly Arrived Immigrants. The road to the Swedish school system]. Swedish Government Official Reports Stockholm University 2017. Särskilda främjande- och utvecklingsinsatser i syfte att påskynda nyanländas etablering på arbetsmarknaden inom ramen för snabbspår för nyanlända lärare och förskollärare [Special development initiatives aimed at speeding up recently immigrateds’ establishment in the labour market within the framework of the Fast track for recently immigrated teachers and preschool teachers]. Stockholm University: Section for assignment coordination Swedish Public Employment Service 2017. Arbetsförmedlingens nulägesbedömning av arbetet med snabbspår [The Swedish Public Employment Service’ current assessment of the status of the work with the Fast track].
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