Lärarinnor utvecklar sin praktik : en studie av åtta utvecklingsarbeten på lågstadiet

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of development projects carried out by teachers within the Swedish 9-year compulsory school. The study concentrates on the everyday classroom work of the teachers, firstly when there were extra funds to use for the development projects, and secondly, when the funding had expired. Eight projects at the primary level were selected. Each project was visited three times during the first year. A follow up was made three years later. Data were collected by way of interviews, questionnaires and observations.The projects had different aims, contents and organization. Some projects changed or developed their aims and contents in the course of the project period, while others kept their original direction. Differences in the development of project activities were found to be related to such factors as the amount of personal support given by headmasters and colleagues, and on whose initiative a project was started, whether by the authorities or by the teachers themselves. Within the framework of the projects, the teachers often instigated relevant in-service training, developed new forms of cooperation, sought to integrate school subjects and tried new pedagogic practices. When financial support was terminated, the new ideas and the new practices were incorporated in the changed every day way of working.The project work tended to make the teachers feel more harmonious and whole, in that the activities tended to tie the teacher's personality and career more firmly together. Besides this personal development, the teachers felt that the project work enhanced more and closer cooperation in the schools. The teachers emphasized that it had become very important for them to collaborate, and that they felt they were no longer left alone with the responsibilities and problems in the classroom. The projects led to more committed pedagogical discussions in the staff- rooms resulting in a claim for more knowledge. The project teachers often invited lecturers and arranged other forms of in-service training.The results of the study are discussed in relation to theories of school development, teacher work and career as well as to gender theories.