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Scientific article analyses teachers and immigrant student’s collaboration and identity work

In 2015, approximately 70,000 children and young people immigrated to Sweden, including 35,000 unaccompanied minors who arrived without any legal guardian. The huge influx of young people has been a challenge for the Swedish school system. In a new scientific article Kaisa Björk, Eva Danielsson & Goran Basic aims to provide new understanding concerning teachers and immigrant students collaboration and identity work in a school context.

Previous research shows that students from various non-Swedish ethnic backgrounds are regarded as a homogeneous group of immigrants. As a result, when teaching these students, schools fail to take individual needs and circumstances into account. Schools do not base their approach on an investigation of each individual students need for support, and newly arrived immigrant students are often excluded from a school’s normal plan for special support.

The study shows a few discursive presentations. The discursive presentarions of disinterested and disrespected teachers, and active and strategic teachers. This paints a rhetorically charged picture of major challenges involved in teachers’ practical work with immigrant students. Implicit in these linguistic discursive representations is the portrayal of school teachers as both incompetent and competent actors, and students as competent actors. In this way, representations concerning school practice become a fundamental dimension in the creation and re-creation of students’ personal identities and teachers’ professional identities. The study provides an indication that recognition of identities is an important dimension for successful collaboration and learning in the school context.

Read the full article here