23 SES 08 A, School Integration Policies and the Idea of Participation (School Differentiation)
During the last decade many school reforms have been initialized and carried through in Sweden. There is for one thing a new Education act with a strong focus on the individual student´s right to achieve the goals and develop as much as possible. At the same time there is a strong focus on the collective of students, where there is a basic principle enrolled: that the students are to be taught in heterogeneous groups. These and other contemporary regulations can be read in isolation as the system of today. But, they can also be examined from a historical perspective, trying to find patterns over time. The paper aims to visualize one dominating pattern in the Swedish school history – the recurring question of differentiation. In simplified terms this issue consists of two questions that have been answered differently during the last 70 years: how far can the comprehensive school be extended before the pupils need to be divided and by what means will the integrated school be implemented?
In Sweden the discussions of how to create a non-selective education have been one of the dominating educational discussions since the 1940s. This has affected both curriculum reforms and the organizational structure of schooling. The discussions have been difficult to handle because they involves both a pedagogical and political dilemma that has to be handled by the involved actors. These discussions circle around the basic question if a common school for all is possible to combine with other political goals and the school practice. In the paper we use a historical perspective to make the historical path and the handling of the dilemma evident.The theoretical perspective emanates from the Annales school (Braudel 1997) which differs between structures of various velocity, added with a perspective where history writing is seen as something which is created. In the text this is used to link different historical episodes to each other,making the interrelations visible. In Swedish as well as in international contemporary research the focus has in related issues been on inclusion and exclusion. However, this paper tries to broaden the perspective so it will include not only the learners’ perspectives, but also the society´s and the practitioners’ perspective. We believe that the Swedish example can be of use for international researchers interested in countries with similar society structures.
By using examples from the last 70 years of Swedish school reforms we can show that the question of differentiation are given different descriptions which leads to different organizational solutions for dealing with this dilemma. We also show that the dilemma is something that the politicians and the teachers never can solve – only handle.
Braudel, F (1997) Medelhavet och medelhavsvärlden på Filip II:s tid. Furulund: Alhambra Englund, T (1986) Curriculum as a Political Problem. Changing Educational Conceptions with Special Reference to Citizen-ship Education. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Uppsala Studies in Education Lundgren, U P (1972) Frame Factors and the Teaching Process: a contributionto curriculum theory and theory on teaching. Diss. Göteborg: Univ. Marklund, S (1985) Skolsverige 1950-1975. Differentieringsfrågan. Stockholm: Liber/Utbildningsförl. Skott, P (2009) Läroplan i rörelse. Det individuella programmet i möte mellan nationell utbildningspolitik och kommunal genomförandepraktik. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Studies in education.
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