The Process of Finding a Shape: Stabilizing New Research Structures in Swedish Teacher Education, 2000-2007

Apr. 20, 2008

Source: European Educational Research Journal: Volume 7 Number 2, 2008, pages 157-175.

This article explores the development and effects of Swedish post-war policies on the emergence of a research base for teacher education. From 2001 onwards, it is possible to undertake research and postgraduate studies within teacher education in Sweden, which prior to the 2001 reform was not possible.

The article draws on a variety of frameworks to explore relationships between various parts of teacher education and also more widely in the university. These include relations of power, discourse and gender based on the theoretical perspectives of Bourdieu, Foucault, Sarfatti Larson and Connell among others. Policy documents relating to teacher education and research into national, regional and local perspectives were used to explore institutional history, structures and research development in teacher education from 1946 to the present time.

For a micro-level perspective, an interview study was also carried out between 2000 and 2002 with teacher educators and senior managers who from the late 1940s were responsible for teacher education programmes, in and around Umeå, in northern Sweden. A further complementary interview study was carried out with teacher educators and union representatives between 2005 and 2007.

The extended study reveals the emergence of new research areas in teacher education as a multilayered process involving a variety of actors at different levels at Umeå University and elsewhere. The aim of the article is to explore the implications of the new research structures for teacher education in Sweden and also to contribute to current cross-national discourses on the need to establish a research base for teacher education.

Updated: Jun. 11, 2008