Åldersblandning i skolan : elevers erfarenheter
Sammanfattning: Mixing ages in school classes became more and more common during the last dec-ades of the 20th century. From being a way to organise classes out of necessity they have now come to be something which is implemented on the basis of pedagogical arguments. The aim of this research has been to improve our knowledge of classes where pupils are not of the same age. A study of the pupils’ perspectives has been my main interest. (Age) homogeneous class can been looked upon as a result of the authorities’ deci-sion to have a fixed age for children to start school and their decision that certain courses should be completed within a defined period of time. Terms and the data concerning heterogeneous age groupings are ambiguous and cannot be fully understood without knowledge of national and sometimes even local contexts. Practices within age heterogeneous classes may differ greatly. A great deal of individual work takes place in age heterogeneous classes. Whether the class is non-mixed or mixed-aged does not seem to have a major im-pact on cognitive or non-cognitive abilities among the pupils, but there are suggestions that age heterogeneous classes might be disadvantageous to pupils in problematic situations. I am able to show that more than 30% of pupils in grades 1-3, close to 25% in grades 4-5, about 15% in grade 6 and a couple of percent of Swedish pupils in the later school years are taught in mixed-age groups. My own empirical research focuses on pupils’ experiences. My investigation has a ‘life-world’ oriented approach inspired by phenomenology. Pupils in grades 5 and 6 from three schools in three different socio-economic settings were interviewed. These pupils had experienced both mixed-age and single-age classes. The life-world of pupils seems to be something different from that encompassed by the philosophy about the advantages of mixing the ages in classes. Pupils find it diffi-cult to maintain or create relationships when only a few pupils of the same sex, who have started school at the same time, can be together in a class for a long time. Be-cause of the importance of social relationships almost every pupil in this investigation wished to be in a single-age class during the following year. It is the importance of common experiences rather than age that is central. Pupils stated that having things in common to study in their everyday schoolwork makes it easier to communicate and contributes to stable friendships. In my conclusion I focus on what it means to have relationships and how these are important for human identity. I also try to show how relationships are important in learning situations at school and for pupils’ opportunities to expand their knowledge.
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