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Managing the unmanageable: curriculum challenges and teacher strategies in multicultural preschools in Sweden
Högskolan Dalarna.
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8707-5157
2018 (English)In: Journal of Intercultural Communication, ISSN 1404-1634, E-ISSN 1404-1634, no 48Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In its political ambitions and pedagogical spirit to address an increasingly diverse population,the Swedish national curriculum for the preschool contains contradictory or even conflictinggoals. On the one hand, the curriculum stipulates openness to, tolerance for and appreciationof cultural, ethnic, religious and social differences, and respect for the unique background ofchildren. On the other hand, it stresses universal human rights and the fundamental values ofSwedish society. How preschool teachers work with and make sense of such contradictory oreven conflicting goals in everyday practice is the focus of this text. The research questions are:(1) How do preschool teachers describe the challenges they face in their daily work when theyattempt to honour the stipulations of the curriculum? (2) Which strategies do they describe asusing to manage these challenges? The empirical material consists of 14 focus groupinterviews with 41 preschool teachers from two highly ethnically and culturally diverse urbanareas of metropolitan Stockholm. Results suggest that there are a number of recurringpreschool situations where cultural and religious differences lead to dilemmas and potentialfriction between children, preschool teachers and parents. Results also show that the preschoolcurriculum provides little guidance and instead the preschool teachers must develop their ownstrategies to handle children’s and parents’ expectations and demands, for instance by usingthe children as cultural intermediaries. Overall, the preschool teachers adopt strategies thatenable them to avoid “difficult” situations, which in effect risks placing the challenges on theshoulders of the children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. no 48
Keywords [en]
Sweden, multicultural preschools, curriculum, preschool teacher strategies
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41463OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-41463DiVA, id: diva2:1267002
Available from: 2018-11-30 Created: 2018-11-30 Last updated: 2018-12-05Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf