Lotta Björkman

Lotta Björkman

Doctoral Student

PhD student in pedagogy with a focus on inclusive education from a high school students perspective

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Teacher Education


My dissertation project

In 2006, the Act on the Prohibition of Discrimination and Other Injurious Treatment of Children and Students was introduced in Sweden, it was in 2009 replaced by the Discrimination Act (SFS, 2018:800). These changes in the law were followed by the fact that the Education Act (SFS, 2018:800) received new writings about countering abusive treatment and discrimination in accordance with the Discrimination Act. The Swedish school thus has a mission of inclusion that can be described as broad, based on an intersectional perspective on inclusion. That is, inclusion based on how several forms of inequality and discrimination are connected over time and in different contexts.

Research and support material regarding how this broad inclusion mission can be translated into pedagogical practice focuses primarily on how teachers and/or schools behave and act or should behave and act. It is therefore generally not the student who speaks or, for that matter, is heard in the general discussion regarding what inclusion in school can mean in practice. For this reason, this thesis project takes the students' point of departure regarding this assignment. What is it about teaching that makes the student feel treated equally? I'm agreeing with Kiki Messiou External link. who expresses it as: "Listening to children's voices is a manifestation of being inclusive" Messiou (2006, p.9).

Work with inclusion and anti-discrimination in school is often linked to disciplines other than pedagogy, e.g. psychology in the form of ex. classroom leadership, individual psychology or group dynamics. The starting point for this thesis project is, however, that inclusion and anti-discrimination in school must be understood through theories of general didactics. I want to place this work at the core of teaching and as a given but often forgotten goal for didactic reflections and actions. General didactics be said to deal with aspects of teaching and learning that are not linked to specific school subjects. General didactics stands for the knowledge that belongs to teaching itself, such as the professional development of the teacher, the social life of the class and the societal context of the school. General didactics is placed in the continental educational tradition and can also be said to be a didactics for Bildung and democracy. As I see it, general didactics contributes to the soil in which subject knowledge can grow.

In order to understand how equal treatment can be conducted, not in the talk of but in the doing through equal treatment in the didactic practice, an approach needs to be used that goes to the depth of this. An approach that gets past the surface, the formal, what everyone so often in theory completely agrees on, that "of course no student should be discriminated against or violated". An approach that describes what really happens, what is experienced, what results in students actually feeling that they are included. Therefore, my thesis project has a phenomenological approach. The study is carried out in the upper secondary school with upper secondary students. They are at the end of their school years and have had the opportunity to experience inclusion or, for that matter, discrimination in many different ways. They also meet many different teachers in their everyday school life and can therefore compare their experiences, which can make them clearer. High school students are generally assumed to have a broad repertoire of experiences to describe. The hope is that the results of the study is that "Students' experiences can contribute to "a critical edge" and in this way "add a distinctive perspective for developing changes in learning and teaching that go well beyond traditional views of effective practice" (Ainscow & Messiou, 2017, p. 5). The driving force is further to contribute with didactic understanding and didactic concepts regarding teachers' work against discrimination and violations in school, this because teachers' professional language is the didactic.

Norm-critical perspectives

Since the early 2000s, I have in various ways worked to develop the norm-critical perspective, both as a teacher educator and author. I have published a number of books and articles in the field and taught about the concept and its pedagogical implications both in teacher training courses and as a freelance educational consultant. To read more about this work, visit my website External link. (swedish). I am involved in initiating the Nordic, interdisciplinary research network Shifting Grounds External link., which aims to develop and promote the theoretical framework and concepts around norm-critical perspectives in academic work, across disciplines.

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The researcher is not participating in any projects at this moment.