25 SES 06, Teaching and Children’s Rights
In Sweden, as in many other Western countries, claims for better student’s achievements in school have been raised in political as well as in public debates. This has been followed by a strong emphasis on documentation of students’ knowledge and development, evaluation and assessment in schools (Apple, 2006) All with the intention to increase student’s achievement in international tests as e.g. PISA and TIMMS, which have become important tools for showing success or fail among nations. In short, all this has led to new policy documents for Swedish schools, calling for higher and more detailed knowledge requirements in each subject and a new grading system, that, for instance, implying grading of students in year 6, instead of year 8, as earlier. This has, in turn, highlighted questions related to teaching in general and especially teaching in specific subjects and its connections to assessments and grading. Furthermore, it has drawn attention to many researchers, especially from educational research fields, one example is didactic, a research field which in the Nordic tradition relates to “the art of teaching”, comprising activities and relations linked to planning, implementation and evaluation of teaching (Broman & Samuelsson, 2011). In this tradition “the didactical triangle” is essential, focusing three objects and their interrelation, the teacher, the child and the content. Other central aspects of didactic in this tradition are illustrated and appear through three main interrogatives; teaching involves many choices regarding content (what) and designs (how), and the motives behind the choices need to be revealed and discussed (why) (Hultman, 2011). In this presentation, the didactical central aspects and questions are connected to the special subject/ field of knowledge - human rights or more specifically children’s rights.
From a broad perspective children’s rights didactic concerns the interplay between teachers planned activities (teaching) as planning, implementing and evaluating knowledge about children’s rights, and children’s learning as right holders and practitioners of children’s rights. In the Swedish primary school context, children’s rights mostly appear in the subject “samhällskunskap” (social studies or civics). This paper will present Swedish middle school teachers and their planned activities when teaching children’s rights within the subject of “samhällskunskap”. The purpose of the paper is to examine and illuminate in what ways the content of children’s rights is manifested in teachers planned activities in middle school during a time when new policy documents are implemented. The different choices teachers need to be doing in their planned activities have an effect on what content is offered to students and by that it opens for discussions about what is possible to learn for the students.
The theoretical framework is drawn from the sociology of childhood (James & James, 2004) using analytical tools from a didactical theoretical perspective ( Klafki, 1997, , Hultman, 2011, Uljens, 1997)
Apple, M.W. 2006. Educating the ‘right’ way. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge. Broman, A. & Samuelsson, J. (2011). Introduktion Nordidactica 2011:1: Ett aktivt men outvecklat forskningsfält. Nordidactica - Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education (1), i-iv. Hultman,G.,2011, Antropologisk didaktik, Noteringar om didaktik som situerad praktik. I Didaktisk Tidskrift, Vol 20,No 2,2011,s.69-83 James, A. & James, A,L. (2004) Constructing childhood: Theory, policy, and social practice. New York: Palgrave Macmillian Klafki, W. (1997) Kritisk-konstruktiv didaktik. I. Uljens, red, Didaktik –teori, reflektion och praktik Uljens, M. (Red.) (1997). Didaktik: Teori, reflektion och praktik. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
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