Linnaeus Knowledge Environment: Education in change

There is a risk that decreasing knowledge levels among Swedish pupils will result in negative consequences for the individual pupil as well as for higher education, research and Swedish competitiveness globally. The aim of the knowledge environment Education in change is to meet this societal challenge – to safeguard, and strengthen, Sweden’s position as a knowledge nation.

Our society is facing great challenges within a number of different fields. Meeting these societal challenges with knowledge in creative environments that integrate education, research, and collaboration – knowledge environments – is something that permeates Linnaeus University’s vision and work.

Seven of the university’s knowledge environments have been appointed Linnaeus Knowledge Environment. These focus on the fields of education, materials, democracy, water, digitalisation, environment, and health. They all work interdisciplinary and link together subjects, departments, and faculties in order to get a broad take on the societal challenges within each field.

Societal challenge: Education in change

It cannot have escaped anyone that the Swedish school is one of the areas that are in focus in the Swedish societal debate. The shortage of teachers, unqualified teachers, the work environment, and the Swedish results in the international PISA surveys are some of the problems that are being debated.

The vision of the knowledge environment Education in change is to strengthen the university’s ability to meet the societal challenge to achieve improved knowledge results in the Swedish school and education system that is presented by the government as a prioritised area in the research bill Knowledge in collaboration – for social challenges and strengthened competitiveness (prop 2016/17:50).

In the societal debate, the question of knowledge results is often treated in a simplified and uniform manner. However, the challenge is both extensive and multi-facetted. Therefore, we take on this challenge in its entirety, comprised of three different aspects:

  • As a question of knowledge results (content)
  • As a political question (context)
  • As a democratic question (structure)

We do this by both gathering existing knowledge and by producing new knowledge that is relevant to research, practice, and decision-makers. The knowledge environment has a broad take on the question of school’s knowledge results and relates this to aspects of content, context, and structure. In this way, Education in change contributes to putting focus on the question of school’s knowledge results as a combined challenge, while also contributing with useful and realistic knowledge based on the prominent research that is characteristic of the environment.

Learn more about our research, courses and programmes, and collaboration below.

Research conference, 14–16 Oct

Apple flowers

In 14–16 October 2020, the research conference Teachers Matter – but How? is arranged at Linnaeus University in Växjö. The conference focuses on new ways of exploring teaching and learning activities in different forms of teaching groups. The most important thing is how to gain new knowledge about the teaching conditions in preschool, school and university, and promote quality in the teaching process:

  • With what basic concepts and from what perspectives can we increase our knowledge?
  • What methodologies have the potential to break new ground in research in understanding teaching and learning?
  • How can we contribute to discussions about today's teaching with a focus on performance without disappearing into instrumentalism?

Read more at the conference's webpage.

Current

Research

The knowledge environment Education in change conducts extensive research within all aspects of the societal challenge. Our research covers, among other things:

  • Education reforms
  • Teachers’ work, teaching, and learning (didactics)
  • Subject didactics
  • Practice-related research in collaboration with schools, municipalities, institutions, and authorities
  • Inclusion and exclusion processes
  • Reading and writing difficulties/dyslexia
  • School development and school leadership as well as teachers’ and school leaders’ continuing professional development (national programme for professionals)

Research is conducted in the form of both externally-funded projects and practice-related research in close collaboration with external actors. Examples of the latter are evaluation research and common work with method development. The breadth of our research environments and research groups creates good conditions for handling current topics on an interdisciplinary level.

In addition to research, our research groups are responsible for the quality of content and the research basis of the associated courses and programmes. This applies primarily for the teacher education, but also for other courses and programmes. The research groups also have extensive experience of collaboration with municipalities and authorities.

Education

The Board of Teacher Education has a special responsibility for education as one part of the knowledge environment Education in change. However, all faculties have an important role to play in the implementation of the teaching and in supporting and implementing the work with quality development on the teacher education programmes. This work is carried out via programme councils.

Through working methods like, for instance, business-integrated education and independent projects linked to current research topics within the research groups working with educational science, didactics and subject didactics, students develop approaches and acquire tools to promote children’s and pupils’ development and learning. In this way, they are given the conditions to contribute to improved knowledge results for pupils.

Collaboration

The knowledge environment Education in change takes part in a number of collaboration projects with the Swedish National Agency for Education. Some examples are, training initiatives by the agency’s members of staff, work to develop the Swedish school’s curricula and syllabi, continuing professional development modules for active teachers, and development of working methods for meeting pupils with special needs. We are also engaged in extensive collaborations with municipalities and schools in the form of evaluation research, continuing professional development initiatives, and common development work.

An important channel for collaboration are the networks that are linked to the teacher education that gather teacher trainers, researchers, and active teachers. The objectives of these networks are:

  • To increase the quality within first-cycle courses and study programmes through continuing professional development of teacher trainers active on the teacher education.
  • To spread knowledge about education and research of relevance to the teacher education.
  • To contribute to the development of active teachers’ knowledge within their respective subject areas.