Synsätt, teman och strategier : några perspektiv på mångkulturella frågor i skolan i ett praktiknära projekt

Sammanfattning: The chief aim of my thesis is to study and analyse how the multiculturalism of schools is reflected in research and reports in Sweden and in the way in which teachers talk about multicultural issues at school. Part of the work is done in the form of reflecting talks with two groups of teachers in two different schools on issues and situations taken from their own everyday experience. The talks are conducted over two years. One partial aim is therefore to study whether this working method can help teachers to develop their strategies with regard to multicultural issues at school. I describe how the talks develop over two years in an ethnically heterogeneous group of teachers in one of the schools, some areas related to multicultural issues in the school that the teachers find problematic, and how the talks to some extent influence the teachers’ choice of strategies in the school’s practice. Part of the work is an analysis of a talk from each group of teachers and their conceptions of “the immigrant pupil” and her/his parents are focused on. The analytical tool of interpretive repertoires is used to visualise patterns of common points of departure and values in the talks. Also part of the work is an analysis of how research and reports reflect the discourse on multicultural issues from 1980 to 2005. I emphasise some themes and how these change over time. Through the study, parts of the content of the discourse about the multicultural Swedish education are made visible. The discourse contains expressions of a focus on shortcomings and problems that are regarded as linked to pupils, parents and to some extent to teachers with foreign backgrounds. The discourse also contains expressions of seeing differences, chiefly between groups of pupils with foreign and ethnic Swedish backgrounds respectively. By focusing on differences and shortcomings a boundary is at the same time set up between “us” and “them”. The composition of teachers in Swedish schools is relatively homogeneous as regards ethnicity. When, in addition, it is many times teachers that have the responsibility and power to define what are seen as problems and to find solutions in schools’ practice, the problems and solutions are often defined from a majority perspective. It is also from a majority perspective that decisions are made about to what extent, to what degree and in what way minority perspectives should be represented in these contexts. It is a matter of who has the power to define themselves and the others and the others’ shortcomings.