Unspoken truths about aesthetics in Swedish schools
Sammanfattning: Unspoken truths - about aesthetics in Swedish compulsory schools is a licentiate level thesis which investigates aesthetics in the Swedish compulsory school. The aim of the thesis is to recreate aesthetics as expressed in current curricula as well as in teachers' reflections. This is being done by use of a combination of interviews of teachers and studies of theories and curricular texts. Theoretically the study is based in John Dewey's pragmatist heritage supported by theories from Wittgenstein's theories concerning text, critical discourse analysis method and Bourdieu's theories about art and society.The results show that the term aesthetics, which is frequently used in both juridical documents as well as in daily speech, is being used in a variety of ways. The word aesthetics is being used in thirteen out of the 23 syllabuses for the Swedish compulsory schools as well as in the general curriculum (Lpo94). The first part of the study consisted of an investigation of syllabuses and the curriculum. Eight different meanings of aesthetics were identified: Aesthetics as a tool for value and judgment, aesthetics as a skill, aesthetics as experience, aesthetics as a way of expressing oneself, aesthetics as a certain kind of knowledge, aesthetics as a secondary tool for learning other skills/subjects, aesthetics as a way to describe a subject and aesthetics as existentialistic value for human beings. The conclusion was that curriculum and syllabuses provided little guidance in how to interpret aesthetics for teachers. Consequently the next phase became an investigation into how teachers reflect upon aesthetics.In the second part of the study teachers were interviewed about aesthetics in school, both in a group and individually. Six teachers from six different subjects and three different schools were interviewed. To open up for the teachers own reflections a fairly inductive group interview was performed. This was later on complemented by individual interviews. The interviews showed that the teachers wanted to work more aesthetically. They expressed frustration over the fact that it was difficult to apply teaching methods to facilitate aesthetics. Despite this they were not able to define aesthetics. However they were eager to discuss and reflect upon different aspect of aesthetics in school and when the material is seen as a whole, they actually show a versatile understanding of aesthetics as being a constantly changing phenomenon which is fundamental for human existence.The thesis ends with speculations regarding consequences of this study. One way forwards is to view learning as communication and change from a view of language as verbal to a multimodal and multiliterate view of communication.
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