Blå Serie 35 – Abstracts
Knowledge ‘at work’ in school – with a special view to teachers’ and school pedagogues’ engagement in inclusion issues
by Line Lerche Mørck, Jens Hansen Lund, Michael Lyhne and Maj Sofie Rasmussen
The present issue concerns how knowledge can be ‘at work’ or come ‘into play’ in school’s educational practices to develop the school. The issue focuses primarily on the knowledge that is relevant about managing issues concerning the inclusion of children and young people in marginal positions. The issue communicates knowled-ge from the three sub-projects that have been carried out under a joint headline:
“Recontextualisation of knowledge on (dis)engagement and inclusion”.
The three sub-projects have been completed by associate professor and PhD Jens Hansen Lund, PhD Maj Sofie Rasmussen, Professor Line Lerche Mørck, and MA’s in Educational Psychology Mikkel Østergaard and Michael Lyhne. The sub-projects were performed in collaboration with a total of nine teachers, a preschool teacher and two parents divided between three schools. The overall project is co-financed by the Danish Ph.D. Council, School of Education, Aarhus University and VIA Univer-sity College.
The purpose of the projects is to study different processes of recontextualisation of research knowledge, i.e. to investigate how recontextualisation can be arranged as processes of reflection, discussion and/or the joint production of forms of ‘recon-textualised knowledge’, that support the development of practice to promote inclu-sion and engagement in school.
This article introduces the thematic issue by illustrating how we use the concept of recontextualisation processes to understand transformation processes as part of the research-based development work in primary and lower secondary school. The article starts with examples of knowledge and references from research and school practice, which has been “at work” in and across the three sub-projects. Additional-ly, the present article frames the other articles of this thematic issue by describing how the overall project’s practice/knowledge-processes took shape, and by giving examples of how processes of recontextualisation were organised across the sub-projects. Finally, the present article provides a preview of our findings which are communicated more thoroughly in the subsequent articles.
Recontextualisation of research knowledge in teachers’ practices
By Jens H. Lund, Associate Professor, PhD, VIA, Knowledge Centre for Effective Practice and Maj Sofie Rasmussen, PhD in school research and education consul-tant at Rambøll Management Consulting
The article discusses how to theoretically describe the encounter between genera-lised research knowledge on the one hand and the teacher’s practice on the other in a nuanced way. Thus, the aim is not to identify concrete problems and their possi-ble solutions. Instead, the article assumes that a nuanced use of concepts and a the-oretical perspective on practice-related problems contribute to the very solution of those problems. The article draws on the results of six months of close cooperation with three 10th grade teachers. The cooperation aimed at developing and contribu-ting to conceptual nuances of general concepts that characterise the issue of tea-chers’ use of research knowledge, e.g. concepts such as research-based practice, re-mediation and recontextualisation.
Nuances of these conceptions of teachers’ experiences with research knowledge are presented in the article in the form of categories and models. The models and the associated categories are based on close empirical descriptions of the processes in which research knowledge can approach and be recontextualised in the school’s practice.
We present two models in the article; one model which focuses on the teacher’s encounter with research knowledge at the individual level, and another that focu-ses on the teacher’s encounter with research knowledge at a contextual level.
As an example of research knowledge, Maj Sofie Rasmussen’s PhD project ‘Passi-on and (dis)engagement among young people in lower secondary school’ (Rasmus-sen, 2017) was employed. The project investigates potential transcending and mar-ginalising processes in and across various learning spaces in the lower secondary school (9th grade) in the Swedish NGO and Fryshuset school in Stockholm.
The concept of recontextualisation processes is used as a theoretically unifying concept for the teachers’ knowledge transforming work and is unfolded theoretically using the theory of complexity and sociology of knowledge. Furthermore, we apply a multi-faceted perspective on knowledge, which implies a focus on the simultaneity of teachers’ use of several types of knowledge: research knowledge, basic educatio-nal-didactic knowledge, which is theoretical-philosophical, as well as local contextu-al experience-based knowledge.
The life conduct list in primary school – ‘Just in time’-knowledge expan-ding practice
By Line Lerche Mørck, Professor DPU, AU & Mikkel Østergaard, MA in Educatio-nal Psychology, at the time a school pedagogue, now a crime prevention employee. The article conveys the process through which a development project in the first ye-ars of Danish primary school provided space for expansive learning through recon-textualisation of the life conduct list, which is a social pedagogical approach. The life conduct list (abbreviated: LCL) was originally developed by Line Lerche Mørck and a former biker-gang member Martin Chr. Celosse-Andersen. The prototype was a sample of and a model for how to understand, summarise, prioritise, coordinate and document continuity and changes in a gang exit candidate’s daily life (see www.lifeconductlist.dk, Mørck & Celosse-Andersen 2016). The written life conduct list is organised as two separate lists, first a ‘list of positives’ and then a ‘develop-ment list,’ where both lists include elaborations for action possibilities. The article illustrates how LCL was recontextualised from gang exit processes into early school life. Children’s life conduct lists were co-produced with the child and reflected with teachers and parents in learning laboratories, thus creating new ‘just-in-time’-knowledge in collaboration with the individual child. ‘Just in time’ knowledge con-sists of concrete and practice-oriented descriptions of situations that have their ba-sis in the child’s first-person perspective of both what is experienced as meaningful in school and everyday life, and what is experienced as difficult and problematic.
An example of a meaningful experience described by a boy, Viggo, on his ‘list of positive’ is getting to school early enough to play ball with the other children in the gym before the scheduled school day starts. An example of one of the experienced problems on Viggo’s ‘development list’ deals with “feelings of overwhelming confusi-on in school,” supplemented with a description of how the adults can help open up for alternatives in such a situation. This co-produced knowledge is documented in a life conduct list for the purpose of moving beyond frustration, sadness, dilemmas and contradictions, thereby expanding the conditions for the child’s development.
The new story: From disadvantaged school to a school with high professio-nalism and well-being for all students
By Michael Lyhne, school consultant, teacher and MA in Educational Psychology. In this preface to the following two articles, I focus on the meeting with a disadvan-taged school in inner Nørrebro in Copenhagen and the school’s “new story.” It is about the work of teachers and school leaders to change the position of the school from “socially disadvantaged “ to a school of “high professionalism and well-being for all students.” At the same time, this “new story” places the school in a cross-sec-tion between the school’s historical position as socially disadvantaged and the school’s reproduction of social discourses about increased “professionalism” and “in-clusion” in primary school. Initially, a series of perspectives are presented on the discourses “learning” and “inclusion” that have been dominant in the school area in recent decades. These perspectives have been chosen because in the research pro-ject I identified that they help to motivate but also lock the teachers’ practices. He-reafter the project’s theoretical anchorage and research ambition are presented, in-cluding excerpts from the conversation with the school leader. A conversation show-ing signs of how these discourses constitute new demands and expectations that the school places on the teachers. The following two articles show examples of how the discourses mentioned, requirements and expectations affect teachers’ work and how they go a long way into the teachers’ teaching practices and have an impact on both the teachers’ and students’ participation in the teaching. Lastly, I reflect on the project´s potential as practice development and my access to the school as the sub-ject of the research project (Lyhne, 2015), initially revealing a contradiction bet-ween the “new story” of the school and the project’s research ambition.
Increased student professionalism as exclusion mechanism – and experi-mentation with “smooth room” and more open tasks
By Michael Lyhne, school consultant, teacher and MA in Educational Psychology. This article is based on a social-practical theoretical understanding of inclusion where the focus is shifted from inclusion or exclusion to understanding inclusion as transient processes where through changes in the teaching structures the teacher tries to improve the students’ participation and learning opportunities in the tea-ching (Kristensen & Mørck, 2011). The article is aimed at teachers, pedagogues, school leaders and PPR psychologists with the purpose of inspiring the parties to bring new knowledge into the work of transcending educational dilemmas in practi-ce. The article analyses some examples of how a joint venture (Mørck & Nissen, 2005) can be established between the teacher’s experience from practice and know-ledge from relevant research on vulnerable children´s learning, leading to new edu-cational and didactic practices in teaching. The process itself starts with analyses of the teacher’s gradual change of his practice ideology (Mørck, 2006), which is under-stood as the teacher’s thinking and acting in practice, and the teacher’s develop-mental needs in relation to better dealing with students in difficult educational si-tuations in the classroom. The new ways of action create movements in practice where the teacher moves from “closed assignments” aimed at qualifying students for the forthcoming national math tests – towards more “open assignments” focu-sing on the creation of more meaningful teaching for students without lowering academic expectations for students.
“Why is he never professionally active despite specially adapted tasks and a computer?” – an experiment with moving workshops in teaching
By Michael Lyhne, school consultant, teacher and MA in Educational Psychology. The article shows how the teacher’s dialogue with a boy diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) creates a new basis for planning teaching courses in the 4th grade. The dialogue helps inspire the teacher to organise the teaching in a new way that turns out to increase the whole class’ commitment while promoting the teacher’s ability to provide special support to the students who need it. The article is aimed at teachers, pedagogues, school leaders and PPR psychologists with the purpose of inspiring the parties to bring new knowledge into the work of transcen-ding educational dilemmas in practice. The article analyses how the teacher incor-porates the students’ perspective on own participation and learning opportunities – thus exceeding the tendency for students in difficulty, and the efforts towards them in primary school, to be assessed and determined by the school professionals alone. In the article, we follow the teacher’s process, where the teacher’s experiences from practice, through work on recontextualising knowledge from research on disadvantaged young people’s experiences of their participation in schools, meet in a joint venture (Mørck & Nissen, 2005). In this m eeting, new pedagogical and didactic ap-proaches will be created in the teaching. At the same time, it challenges the catego-risation: That only the socially and professionally challenged pupils need special help. The article shows examples of how experimentation with recontextualisation of research knowledge, based on disadvantaged students, contributes to the so-cal-led academically strong students’ participation and learning opportunities in pri-mary school.