Förutsättningar för elevinflytande i grundsärskolan : Tillit, lyhördhet och vilja

Sammanfattning: The curricula that defines special needs education in Swedish grammar schools states that students with intellectual disabilities should be given the possibility to participate in the planning and shaping of teaching and learning activities. The purpose of the study is to examine conditions regarding special needs students’ influence and how this influence is mediated. The focus of the study is subject based classroom situations. The method for collecting data has been observations. The empirical data consists of around 16 hours of video recordings, in addition to field notes. The observations took place in two special schools and all together 10 pupils, 5 teachers, and two student assistants participated. The theoretical framework is based on sociocultural theory with a specific focus on mediation. By using the theoretical terms object and subject positioning, the study also focuses on how teachers and students position themselves and each other. The results show that the students with intellectual disabilities are given opportunities for influence, but not very frequently.  The most important mediating factors to promote influence are the teachers´ trust in the students´ abilities and skills, and the teacher’s keen responsiveness to the students’ expressed personal will. Influence is mediated both through the possibilities of participation that teachers offer, and the teachers’ affirmation of the students’ requests. Furthermore, the study shows that students are more likely to gain influence in one-to-one meetings with the teacher, where the focus is on the student’s individual interests and preferences. In order to provide increased levels of influence to all students with intellectual disabilities, teachers need to plan the education with focus on democratic processes.