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Voices of special educators in Sweden: a total-population study
Mälardalen University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1905-5154
Dalarna University.
Malmö University.
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) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

There are two occupational groups in Sweden that are expected to havesignificant impact on educational work related to children in need of special support.These two groups are special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) and specialeducation teachers. In this paper, we use the collective name‘special educators’torefer to both groups. Special educators are expected to have specific knowledgeregarding the identification of, and work with, school difficulties. However, there isnoticeably little research concerning these occupational groups. This study wasundertaken in order to further our knowledge about special educators’work.Purpose:The overall purpose of the present paper is to provide afirst overview ofspecial educators’work. The paper investigates these special educators’perceptionsof their occupational role, of their preparedness for the role and of how their role ispractised. The paper also illuminates questions about SENCOs’and special educationteachers’knowledge and values as well as the grounds for the occupational groupsto claim special expertise related to the identification of, and work with, school diffi-culties.Design and method:A questionnaire was sent out in 2012 toallSENCOs and spe-cial education teachers in Sweden who received their degree from 2001 onwards andin 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 preparedto work with some tasks, such as counselling, leading development work and teach-ing children/pupils individually or in groups. Concurrently, there are tasks that thegroups are educated for (e.g. school-development work), which they seldom practisein their daily work.Conclusions:Primarily using reasoning concerning jurisdictional control, we discussSENCOs’and special education teachers’authority to claim special expertise in rela-tion to certain kinds of work, clients and knowledge and thus, their chances of gain-ing full jurisdictional control in thefield of special education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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
Educational Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-40918DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2015OAI: diva2:913643
Available from: 2016-03-22 Created: 2016-03-03 Last updated: 2016-03-22Bibliographically approved

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