Kompetensutveckling som styrning : Om statliga insatser för lärares kompetensutveckling och hur de förhandlas i lärares lokala praktik

Sammanfattning: Teachers’ professional development (PD) is currently promoted as an important element of the pursuit of improved school results by researchers, politicians, and international organizations. Policy actors argue that the quality of teaching is the factor within school systems with the greatest significance for students’ learning outcomes, and that PD is an important instrument for enhancing such quality. Teachers’ PD has also become a higher priority among policy makers due to decentralization reforms that have deprived states of many of the policy measures previously available to them. However, teachers’ PD has rarely been investigated as a policy instrument. This is unfortunate for several reasons, including that surrounding governance structures are important for the effects of PD, and that most of the PD in which teachers partake is initiated by actors such as states, municipalities, or school leadership. Based on these arguments, the aim of this thesis is to develop knowledge about how teachers’ PD functions as an instrument for governing teachers’ work. The dissertation explores this issue through a comparative investigation of state initiatives for teachers’ PD in Sweden during the period 1991-2015. The dissertation devotes special attention to one intervention, the Literacy Boost (in Swedish Läslyftet), by also investigating its enactment at six schools during the 2015/16 academic year. The thesis shows that the Swedish state’s spending for teachers’ PD and school development increased significantly during the investigated period, especially after 2007, and, likewise, that teachers’ participation in PD increased. Moreover, article I shows that school agencies, since 1991, increased their engagement in teachers’ PD, that PD prescriptions became more detailed, and that evaluations of local enactment were used in more comprehensive ways. Based on the local enactment of the Literacy Boost, articles II and III illuminated the difficulty of translating external and cross-curricular messages to teachers’ local practice. While the PD model’s form of governance effectively induced teachers to discuss and enact instructions in the PD material, enactments took the form of additional activities rather than being made coherent with teachers’ present subject teaching. Thus, articles II and III indicated that, in order for PD messages to contribute to teaching, governance should be more specific to teachers’ present practice. Lastly, the dissertation illuminates a paradox regarding state-initiated PD in decentralized school systems. Although decentralization increases the state’s incentives to engage in teachers’ PD, the state’s ability to adapt PD initiatives to local needs is limited by the principles of decentralization.