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  • 1.
    Göransson, Kerstin
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
    Malmqvist, Johan
    Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, Högskolan i Jönköping.
    Nilholm, Claes
    Fakulteten för lärande och samhälle, Malmö högskola.
    Local school ideologies and inclusion: the case of Swedish independent schools2013In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 28, no 1, p. 49-63Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper reports on the development of a framework for the classification of local school ideologies in relation to inclusion that provides a tool for classifying the general educational direction as well as work with pupils in need of special support of individual schools. The framework defines different aspects of local school ideology in terms of values related to the societal level, school level and individual level of the education system. The paper also reports on a study exploring variations among Swedish independent schools, concerning local school ideology using the framework as a theoretical tool. In this qualitative analysis, eight schools were selected from results of a questionnaire to all Swedish independent schools (return rate 79.5%) for further analysis based on interviews with different categories of school personnel, parents and pupils. Five different patterns of local school ideologies were found more or less in line with values of inclusion, e.g. the holistic-inclusive and the market-oriented-exclusive. Results are discussed in relation to the multiple and sometimes competing objectives that every school has to deal with and make priorities between. Implications for pupils in need of special support in a school system rapidly undergoing marketisation are finally discussed.

  • 2.
    Göransson, Kerstin
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilholm, C.
    Malmö University,.
    A continuing need for conceptual analysis into research on inclusive education: Response to commentators2014In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 295-296Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Göransson, Kerstin
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Nilholm, Claes
    Malmö University, Sweden.
    Conceptual diversities and empirical shortcomings - a critical analysis of research on inclusive education2014In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 265-280Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this paper is to critically analyse research about inclusive education. Prior reviews and the outcome of a recent search of databases are analysed with regard to (a) how inclusion is defined and (b) what empirical knowledge there is regarding factors that make schools and classrooms more inclusive. Our point of departure is that we regard inclusion as an idea about what school systems, schools and classrooms should accomplish, and as such, an expression of an educational philosophy. Four different understandings of inclusive education were found: (a) inclusion as the placement of pupils with disabilities in mainstream classrooms, (b) inclusion as meeting the social/academic needs of pupils with disabilities, (c) inclusion as meeting the social/academic needs of all pupils and (d) inclusion as creation of communities. Under a strict definition of inclusive education, hardly any research was found which reliably identified factors that give rise to inclusive processes. The outcome of our analyses are discussed from the perspective that different understandings of inclusion should be seen, to a large extent, as expressions of different views of what schools should accomplish. We also propose that some of the adherents to inclusion as creation of communities can be placed in the grand educational tradition reaching back to Dewey that tries to establish new ideals for school systems in a society in which individualism is perhaps the main ideology. The main conclusions are that the operative meaning of inclusion in reviews and empirical research should be much more clearly defined and that new types of studies are needed.

  • 4.
    Hellblom-Thibblin, Tina
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Challenges and dilemmas – a conceptual approach to children’s diversity in school2018In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 33, no 1, p. 1-15Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this article is to discuss and problematise issues related to conceptual approaches to differences among children in the world of school education. The article is based on results from a Swedish study on categorisation of schoolchildren’s ‘problems’ from a historical perspective. Its central questions are: ‘What concepts are used to formulate children’s various educational needs, and how can these concepts be understood?’ Supported by an ecological analysis model, complex situations in the categorisation and problem-solving process are clarified. Using terminology to refer to pupils’ diverse abilities and needs involves aspects of categorising. An understanding of how this works may bring more profound knowledge of obstacles to children’s learning. The categorisation process illustrates effects both at individual level and more generally. Categorisation may be regarded as a useful practice for understanding children’s differences better, and thereby finding the best ways of responding to them. However, categorisation based on abilities and needs also adds a challenge to the important idea of inclusion. The article discusses categorisation as a basis for educational problem-solving and the implications of categorising children’s varying abilities and experience of school education. The theoretical premises enhance understanding of the dynamic nature of terminology usage, and thus future prospects of meeting challenges that may arise, in schools.

  • 5.
    Lillvist, Anne
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Wilder, Jenny
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Valued and performed or not?: Teachers' ratings of transition activities for young children with learning disability2017In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 32, no 3, p. 422-436Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Stakeholder collaboration has been identified as a facilitator for positive transition outcomes for all children, and especially for children in need of special support. However, the type and extent of stakeholder collaboration have shown to be related to teachers' view of their transition practises. Thus, this study set out to examine the transition activities reported by 253 teachers in Compulsory School for Students with Learning Disabilities in Sweden. The purpose was to study the type of transition activities performed and how important teachers regarded these activities to be. The results show that overall teachers are engaged in transition activities that can be described as mainly traditional, as they do not differ from transition activities carried out in other educational settings. The results also show that untraditional transition activities, such as home visits and joint parent meetings with preschools, are viewed as important, but rarely executed. The results are discussed from an ecological systems perspective, emphasising the interconnectedness of individuals and their environment. Focus is given to individualised transition processes and developmentally appropriate transition activities for young children with learning disability.

  • 6.
    Lindqvist, Gunilla
    et al.
    Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden.
    Nilholm, Claes
    Jönköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Almqvist, Lena
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare.
    Wetso, Gun-Marie
    Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden.
    Different agendas?: The views of different occupational groups on special needs education2011In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 143-157Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of the present paper is to investigate how different occupational groups explain why children have problems in school, how they believe schools should help these children and the role they believe that special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) should have in such work. A questionnaire was distributed to all teaching and support staff in a Swedish municipality (N=1297). As a result, 938 persons (72.5%) answered the questionnaire. The answers given by (a) preschool teachers (b) teacher assistants (c) SENCOs (d) special teachers (e) class teachers and (f) subject teachers were compared. Several interesting patterns emerged from the data indicating that the occupational groups to a large extent have different ideas concerning how the school should work with children in need of special support. The SENCOs were, for example, the only group that believed that they should be involved in school development. The outcome of the study is discussed in relation to the notion of inclusive education.

  • 7.
    Magnússon, Gunnlaugur
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Representations of special support: Independent schools’ descriptions of special educational provision2016In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, ISSN 0885-6257, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 155-170Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    An important argument for the introduction of school choice in Sweden, was that independent schools would be a source for innovation. But do independent schools follow traditional patterns of special education, or do they aim for alternative organisational solutions, approaching inclusive education? Here, results from a total population questionnaire of the Swedish independent schools (N = 686; response rate = 79%) are presented. Four hundred written responses to two open-ended questions were received. The responses covered topics such as resource allocation, school descriptions and good practice. Themes and categories were condensed using qualitative content analysis and the results are theorised in terms of special educational perspectives and inclusive education. Results show examples of alternative and inclusive approaches, as well as examples of traditional understanding and organisation of special support within the field. The idea of market competition as a force of innovation is not supported in this material. Marketing and niching of schools can contribute to a less inclusive education system. More research that is both large scale and contextual is needed to understand further how schools cope with contradicting educational ideals and policy when competing for pupils.

  • 8.
    Magnússon, Gunnlaugur
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Göransson, Kerstin
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Perimeters of, and challenges to, the jurisdiction of Swedish special educators: an exploration of free text responsesIn: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591XArticle in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Special needs educators (SNEs) have important roles in many education systems. However, their roles are often poorly defined, and differ greatly both between and within education systems. Studies show that SNEs have diverse tasks, have problems defining their jurisdiction, and approach special support with different perspectives than other professions. Here, the aim is to explore what Swedish SNEs express regarding their occupational role and jurisdiction, utilising 676 free text responses to an open question in a total population survey. The results illustrate that SNEs often have to take on tasks they do not view as appropriate and that they often experience misunderstanding from head teachers and colleagues about their roles and tasks, and that they risk being replaced by other professions. Some explanations can be found in vague legal definitions of their jurisdiction and the necessity of adaption to the local school context. The results are interpreted using Abbott’s theory of jurisdiction and Evetts’ distinctions of professionalisation and professionalism. The study confirms results from prior research to a high degree but adds further nuance and dimensions to them with formulations from active professionals.

  • 9.
    Olsson, Sylvia
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    Dag, Munir
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    Kullberg, Christian
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    Deaf and hard-of-hearing adolescents' experiences of inclusion and exclusion in mainstream and special schools in Sweden2018In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 33, no 4, p. 495-509Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines the question of which school environment - special or mainstream school - is more favourable for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Sweden, when it comes to their well-being, and their social and academic inclusion. The aim is threefold: first to compare the well-being of adolescents who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and have additional disabilities, and who have no disabilities; second to compare the adolescents from the two deaf and hard-of-hearing groups and their experiences of inclusion and exclusion in school; and third to ascertain if any gender differences exist between the two groups of deaf and hard-of-hearing students concerning their experiences of inclusion and exclusion. A total of 7865 adolescents (13-18 years of age) answered a total survey about the life and health of young people in a county in Sweden. The results show that both boys and girls in the hard-of-hearing groups rated their well-being lower and were less satisfied with their lives than pupils without disabilities. They also show that the hard-of-hearing boys and girls attending special school were more satisfied with their lives and to a greater extent felt included both socially and academically than students in mainstream school.

  • 10.
    Sandberg, Gunilla
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Different children's perspectives on their learning environment2017In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 32, no 2, p. 191-203Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article reports and discusses findings from an ethnographic case study, aiming to gain a deeper understanding of how different children perceive their learning environment in the first grade of primary school, with regard to social as well as academic aspects. The theoretical framework is based on an interactional perspective, where children’s learning and development are considered to take place in a dynamic and ecological system. The reported results are based on interviews with 16 children, and observed teaching situations during the first year of primary school. Research among children demands special ethical considerations, such as how to avoid questions and interest from the researcher affecting the position of children being vulnerable in some way. The findings show that, within a group of children, facing a similar learning environment, there are significant differences between the experiences expressed. The findings presented support the importance of listening to children when planning educational settings. Listening to and taking into account the children’s different voices is an essential part of research and education that strives for inclusion, learning and well-being of all children

  • 11.
    Sandberg, Gunilla
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Hellblom-Thibblin, Tina
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Garpelin, Anders
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Teacher’s perspective on how to promote children’s learning in reading and writing2015In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 30, no 4, p. 505-517Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the study is to deepen the understanding of teacher’s perspective on how to promote all children’s learning in reading and writing in grade 1 of primary school. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in a Swedish context with 18 primary school teachers, representing a large collective experience from working as teachers in grade 1. The result shows there is a lack of sharing information and experiences, between preschool class and grade 1, concerning reading and writing activities and instructions. The teachers’ perspectives on reading and writing instruction can be described as pluralistic, in the sense that each teacher refers to several strategies and approaches to promote learning and development related to reading and writing. The variation of children appears to give meaning to the work of the teachers in the study, though it also is associated with challenges e.g. the experience of being alone and not sufficient to support children’s different abilities, experiences and needs. According to teachers in the study, the additional support in schools is more remedial than preventive since the resources are mainly invested in older students.

  • 12.
    Sandström Kjellin, Margareta
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, Department of Social Sciences.
    Wennerström, Katrin
    Mälardalen University, Department of Social Sciences.
    Classroom Activities and Engagement for Children with Reading and Writing Difficulties2006In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 21, no 2, p. 187-200Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A multiple case study is reported aiming at comparing the degree of taking part and being engaged in classroom activities for children with and without reading and writing difficulties. Observations are made of 23 pupils with reading and writing difficulties (seven with a diagnosis of dyslexia), and 23 pupils in a control group; the observations concern accessibility to, taking part in, engagement and received help in classroom activities. The result is discussed in relation to the two goals in Swedish schools: 'goals to ttain' and 'goals to aim for'. A conclusion is that the two goals for the instruction in Swedish language involve a dilemma for teachers, since all children are expected to reach the 'goals to attain', while instruction is expected to be directed towards 'goals to aim for'.

  • 13.
    Wilder, Jenny
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Magnusson, L.
    Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden .
    Hanson, E.
    Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden; University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
    Professionals’ and parents’ shared learning in blended learning networks related to communication and augmentative and alternative communication for people with severe disabilities2015In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 30, no 3, p. 367-383Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    People with severe disabilities (SD) communicate in complex ways, and their teachers, parents and other involved professionals find it difficult to gain knowledge and share their experiences regarding the person with SD’s communication methods. The purpose of this study is to contribute to our understanding of how parents and professionals share learning about communication and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for people with SD by participating in blended learning networks (BLNs). Thirty-six parents and professionals participated in online web-based BLNs according to a prepared format; four groups were formed, and all of the groups participated in four discussion sessions and an evaluation session. Detailed minutes from the 16 BLN sessions, an evaluation session and course evaluation data were thematically analysed. The theoretical frameworks were different perspectives on disability within communication research and special education research, and theories about shared learning in networks. The analyses revealed themes that focused on communication partners’ knowledge, attitudes and strategies regarding communicating with people with SD; the importance and power of using multimodal AAC; and the universality, user-friendliness and empowering aspects of iPads and apps. The findings suggest that participants perceive communication and AAC with people with SD from relational, dialogical and interactional perspectives, whereas the categorical perspective was less pronounced. In accordance with other professional competence research, the use of online web-based BLNs with mixed groups that was described in this paper yielded positive evaluations from the participants. The opportunity for meeting others involved in caring for people with SD, the actual blended groups and the sharing of technology and AAC experiences in particular were highlighted.

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