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Liminal spaces and temporary places: Dilemmas in education for newly arrived pupils
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics. Mälardalens högskola. (SOS-ED)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7423-2419
2019 (Swedish)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The topic of this paper is to outline dilemmas in education for newly arrived pupils. Over the past 5 years, Swedish authorities, schools and researchers have tried to navigate the field of educating newly arrived pupils, and a lot of attention has been paid to receiving these students in the best way. Sweden saw a big rise in the number of refugees during 2014 and 2015, which meant that many schools received many newly arrived pupils during a short period of time. This also meant that many schools had to give the reception of these pupils more attention than had perhaps been the case before.

 

In policy texts about education for newly arrived pupils, discourse seems to suggest that education for these pupils pose a number of problems, which can be solved by performing a number of steps correctly. In this presentation, I put forth the idea that alongside with the actual and well-known problems in the process of receiving newly arrived pupils, a number of dilemmas also arise to which there are no easy solutions. The dilemmas can be sorted into three different categories; organisational (e.g. should the pupils start in a group with other newly arrived pupils or should they be integrated from day one?), pedagogical (e.g. how to support and encourage a pupil while also having to fail that same pupil?) and social (e.g. should pupils be allowed to socialise with whom they want, even if it leads to segregation?).

 

The theoretical framework of the presentation is the concept of liminality, which can be understood as any “betwixt or between” situation, and as applicable in both space and time (Turner, 1967; Thomassen, 2009). The concept contains three areas; type of subjects, temporality and spatiality. Each area holds different dimensions which can function together in a variety of ways. The analysis in this presentation will make us of all three areas, and examines the dilemmas in relation to when they arise, where they arise and who they affect. Methodologically, the material used has been accumulated during several research projects, development projects and courses for teachers, of which I have been a part. Thus, there is no one methodological design, but rather a combination of methods including interviews with teachers, observations, group interviews with teachers, and reflections written by teachers and principals.

 

The expected conclusions point to a shift being needed in how we view schooling for newly arrived pupils, from solving problems to dealing with dilemmas, and what that would entail for school practice. The analysis aims to offer ways of understanding and handling the dilemmas, and how the dilemmas set conditions for the spaces and places the pupils inhabit. This paper is relevant to Nordic educational research in that it makes a contribution to the research field of education for newly arrived pupils and in broader sense deals with issues concerning justice and equality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Newly arrived students, liminality, dilemmas
National Category
Educational Sciences Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-44776OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-44776DiVA, id: diva2:1334423
Conference
Nordic Educational Research Association, 2019, Uppsala, Sweden
Available from: 2019-07-02 Created: 2019-07-02 Last updated: 2019-08-13Bibliographically approved

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