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Voices of special educators in Sweden: a total-population study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. Högskolan Dalarna. (PS)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4793-871X
Mälardalens högskola. (REDDI, PS)
2015 (English)In: Educational research (Windsor. Print), ISSN 0013-1881, E-ISSN 1469-5847, Vol. 57, no 3, 287-304 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: There are two occupational groups in Sweden that are expected to have

significant impact on educational work related to children in need of special support.

These two groups are special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) and special

education teachers. In this paper, we use the collective name ‘special educators’ to

refer to both groups. Special educators are expected to have specific knowledge

regarding the identification of, and work with, school difficulties. However, there is

noticeably little research concerning these occupational groups. This study was

undertaken in order to further our knowledge about special educators’ work.

Purpose: The overall purpose of the present paper is to provide a first overview of

special educators’ work. The paper investigates these special educators’ perceptions

of their occupational role, of their preparedness for the role and of how their role is

practised. The paper also illuminates questions about SENCOs’ and special education

teachers’ knowledge and values as well as the grounds for the occupational groups

to claim special expertise related to the identification of, and work with, school difficulties.

Design and method: A questionnaire was sent out in 2012 to all SENCOs and special

education teachers in Sweden who received their degree from 2001 onwards and

in accordance with the Swedish examination acts of 2001, 2007 and 2008

(N = 4252, 75% response rate).

Results: According to the results, special educators state that they are well prepared

to work with some tasks, such as counselling, leading development work and teaching

children/pupils individually or in groups. Concurrently, there are tasks that the

groups are educated for (e.g. school-development work), which they seldom practise

in their daily work.

Conclusions: Primarily using reasoning concerning jurisdictional control, we discuss

SENCOs’ and special education teachers’ authority to claim special expertise in relation

to certain kinds of work, clients and knowledge and thus, their chances of gaining

full jurisdictional control in the field of special education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2015. Vol. 57, no 3, 287-304 p.
Keyword [en]
special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs); special education, teachers; special educators; occupational role; profession; jurisdictional control
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-304126DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2015.1056642OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-304126DiVA: diva2:1010220
Speciella yrken? Ett projekt om speicallärares och specialpedagogers utbildning och arbete
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-10-03 Last updated: 2016-10-03

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