I samband med NERA-konferensen i Oslo, 15-17 mars, presenterade Kim Wickman och Gerd Pettersson ett paper med titeln: What is a good learning environment, for whom and how is it understood from a norm critical perspective?
What is a good learning environment, for whom and how is it understood from a norm critical perspective?
Kim Wickman, Gerd Pettersson Department of Education, Umeå University, Sweden
The aim of this interview study is to increase the knowledge of problematic school attendance by focusing on discourses contributing to this phenomenon in Swedish compulsory school, grade 7-9. Further to identify what helps special educational support teams to challenge such discourses to promote an accessible learning environment for all students. Six special educational teams attended in focus group interviews. The teams provide support to students who, for various reasons, find it difficult to complete their schooling. Rarely the students are supported in the regular learning environment and mostly in a smaller group of students and in another part of the school building. Analytic tools of norm critical pedagogy and Foucauldian discourse analysis were applied to examine how norms, power and social categorizations were constructed, reproduced, and challenged, among the interviewees. Preliminary results indicate that stereotypical ideas about students and their school performance impact on the special educational support team's ability to work for an accessible learning environment and a school that is a safe and meaningful place. Regardless, teaching in an alternative learning environment or not, dominant discourses need to be challenged through a critical approach among the team members. Such discourses are characterized mainly by notions and expectations that the regular learning environment is primarily for successful and study-motivated students and limits the opportunity for those who were once excluded to return.