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  • 1.
    Boström, Lena
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Interactions that Support Children’s Social and Emotional Learning in Preschool.2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Preschool lays the foundations for the first part of a child’s development and learning, should be enjoyable and secure, and should provide pedagogical activities for all children attending. In preschool there are also children with behavioral difficulties who, too often, risk a lack of understanding, stress, and condemnation from preschool teachers as well as peers and parents and thus risk exclusion (Johannesson, 1997). A better adapted approach and activities for these children can create a preschool that includes everyone. Developing abilities in preschool that strongly and robustly support broad control processes, enabling behavioral regulation across cognitive and emotional domains, are described in different scientific disciplines: psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and education (e.g., Collins, 2013, Elsby et al., 2011; Rosenthal & Gatt, 2010; Stier et al., 2012).

    The purpose of this study, as a preschool development project, was to examine an approach and an educational platform in which children’s thoughts, ideas, and opinions play a crucial role in every situation contributing to preschool becoming more open and inclusive for all children. The approach and the educational platform were built on empathetic leadership in preschool, confirmation of all children’s feelings, interaction with children with behavioral difficulties, and solving conflict without scapegoats (Algozzine & Algozzine, 2014).

    The research questions were as follows:

    1. What impact do alternative responses that are engaging and empathetic rather than critical, questioning, designating, and uncomprehending have on the children?

    2. How can preschool teachers act preventively and find solutions to difficult situations that arise in the child’s everyday life at preschool instead of waiting until the conflict arises and only then act?

    3. Which solutions to children’s individual problems could be found through cooperation and dialogue with the actual child in need instead of through “packaged solutions”?

    The theoretical framework ofthis study was the communicative relational perspective (Ahlberg, 2013), which is closely linked tosocio-cultural theory (Säljö, 2000). Withinthe communicative relational perspective, participation,communication, andlearning are viewed as an interlacedtriad that is central to the study ofcommunicative contexts (linguistic and socialcontexts thatsupportand shapeinstitutional activities). How individualsinteract, create meaning, and experience andunderstandtheir situation was also studied.The study hasthereforejoinedan individual perspective witha structuralperspective by assessing schools as social institutions, social practice,the needs of individuals,and conditions.

                          This theoretical framework provides an opportunity to study communication and relationships at different levels and contexts of the activities in preschool. School activities are studied in relation to school organization as well as the individual child. This perspective provides the opportunity to examine a child’s difficulties in relation to the whole school, as well as to the situation in which the difficulty arises. The starting point is the interactions that occur between the child and the surroundings to create knowledge of various communication processes in the school and the school’s meeting with the individual child.

    Other researchers have also claimed that special educational needs are no longer focused on curing or amelioration of the child by interventions based on medicine and educational psychology. Special educational needs are instead viewed as social constructions (Ainscow, 1998; Clark et al., 1998; Skrtic, 1991) rather than as individual shortcomings. These perspectives are characterized mainly in that they move the problem from the individual and focus instead on the product of social processes (Clark et al., 1998; Nilholm, 2006). The communicative relational perspective also focuses on social processes but also relations and interactions (Ahlberg, 2013) that make it possible to view it as an antireductionist theoretical framework (Skidmore 1996).

    Methods and Methodology

    The empirical data for this study comes from a video-ethnographic study in a preschool with 18 children between 1 and 5 years old in which different everyday situations of interactions are studied. Participants were recorded in their natural settings to allow interactional practices to be contextually explored. Video documentation as an ethnographic study of interaction and communication has proven to be particularly valuable for research on interactions with children in schools and preschools (Alexandersson, 2009).

    During the spring semester of 2014, field notes and observations in the form of writing and filming were conducted. Interactions between child and child and between preschool teacher and child were observed to visualize and analyze different approaches. The observations were carried out throughout the whole day at the preschool, both in planned activities as well as in spontaneous play, at routine situations, at meals, during drop-off and pick-up, and indoors and outdoors. The observations were processed in the form of reflection, analysis, and written documentation, and they were also linked to the curriculum and to previous research.

    This has resulted in extensive material consisting of 45 videos and 57 sets of field notes of different interactions, which made possible a return to the empirical basis after new questions were raised as well as reflexivity in the analysis—which is central to ethnographic studies characterized by not being controlled by a specific analytical interest but an openness to what is happening “in situ” (Baszanger & Dodier, 1997). The way this study approaches the field can be described as using the ethnographical methods of video-recording and observations to study interactions in preschool (Silverman, 2006). The videos were analyzed ethnographically (i.e., qualitatively) to generate a set of insights. The video data was coded to provide a detailed second-by-second analysis of the behaviors and results. To gain a deeper understanding of the content of the videos, the field notes also underwent content analysis. This involves quantity contained and examined methodically, with texts interpreted incrementally and data classification for easier identification of patterns and themes. The content analytical model allows finding clear distinctive categories, narrowing them, and making them specific (Ahuvia, 2008). Overall, these empirical materials are the basis of our results.

    Expected Outcomes and Results

    The purpose of this study was to gain more knowledge about how to approach and interact with children with behavior problems in preschools in order to ensure the children’s inclusion, security, self-esteem, and development. The analysis shows that the way in which preschool teachers respond to children in every situation of interaction has an impact on children. An empathetic leader asks the children and makes use of their competencies and experiences in order to develop relationships and interactions within the group. When leadership and empathy go hand in hand, conditions for both group and individual to develop their social skills are created. This is the ability to ‘Learn to LiveTogether’ (Rosenthal & Gatt, 2010).

    Another conclusion is that those preschool teachersgive childrengood opportunitiesto learnabout themselves, interact with others,and gain insightabout their own and others’feelings, needs, and limits in anopen and respectfulclimate (Stier et al., 2012). They becomeengaged andinvolved ineach other and canreflect onwhy theyfeel and reactas they do.Children’swillingness and abilityto cooperate witheach other and withpreschool teachersdeveloped powerfully.Even in interactionindifficult andcontroversial situations, the children oftenswitchedfromdifficult emotionsand resistancetopositive feelings andconstructive action.

    The analysis also shows the impact for children whose surroundingsoften areat odds with, for example,activechildrenreactingwith unexpectedlystrong feelings.To respond to thesechildren’s behaviorwithirritation, criticism, and condemnationwillmake the childfeeloffended, insulted,andleft out.One solution is not toput the blame onthe child,but tofind other ways to deal with the situation. It is alwaysthe preschool teacherwho has theresponsibility for how aconflictdevelops, and their task is togently andrespectfullyguide childrenthrough the conflictso that no oneisoffended. This study is important for teachers in preschool and gives examples of constructive action, particularly for children with behavioral problems.

    Intent of publication: 1. International journal of Inclusive Eduaction,  or 2) International journal of Early Childhood

     

     

    References

    Ahlberg, A. (2013). Specialpedagogik i ideologi, teori och praktik—att bygga broar. Stockholm: Liber.

    Ainscow, M. (1998). Would it work in theory? Arguments for practitioner research and theorising in the special needs field. In C. Clark, A. Dyson, and A. Millward (Eds.), Theorising special education (pp. 123–137). London: Routledge.

    Alexandersson, U. (2009). Sofias situationer för samspel. In A. Ahlberg (Ed.), Specialpedagogisk forskning. En mångfasetterad utmaning (pp. 167–183). Lund: Studentlitteratur.

    Algozzine, K. & Algozzine, B. (2014). Schoolwide prevention and proactive behavior interventions that work. In P. Gardner, J. M. Kauffman, and J. Elliott (Eds.), The Sage handbook of emotional and behavioral difficulties (pp. 55-72). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Ltd.

    Ahuvia, A. (2008). Traditional, interpretative and reception based content analyses: Improving the ability of content analysis to address issues of pragmatic and theoretical concern. In R. Franzosi (Ed.), Content analysis, Vol. 1 (pp. 183–202). London: Sage.

    Baszanger, I., & Dodier, N. (1997). Ethnography. Relating the part to the whole. In D. Silverman (Ed.), Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice (pp. 8–23). London: Sage.

    Clark, C., Dyson, A., & Millward, A. (1998). Theorising special education? Time to move on? In C. Clark, A. Dyson, & A. Millward, (Eds.), Theorising special education (pp. 156–173). London: Routledge.

    Collins, B. (2013). Empowerment of children through circle time: Myth or reality? Irish Educational Studies, 2013, 32(4), 421–436. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2013.854459

    Espy, K. A., Sheffield, T., Wiebe, S., Clark, C., & Moehr, M. (2011). Executive control and dimensions of problem behaviors in preschool children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52(1), 33–46.

    Nilholm, C. (2006). Special education, inclusion and democracy. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 21(4), 431–445.

    Rosenthal, M., & Gatt, L. (2010). “Learning to Live Together”: Training early childhood educators to promote socio-emotional competence of toddlers and preschool

    children. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 18(3), 373–390.

    Skidmore, D. (1996). Towards an integrated theoretical framework for research into special educational needs. European Journal of Special Education, 11(1), 33–47.

    Sandberg, A. (2014). Med sikte på förskolan—barn i behov av stöd. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

    Silverman, D. (2006). Interpretation qualitative data. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

    Skrtic, T. (1991). Behind special education. Denver: Love Publishing Company.

    Stier, J., Tryggvason, M.-T., Sandstrom, M., & Sandberg, A. (2012). Diversity management in preschools using a critical incident approach. Intercultural Education, 34(4), 285–296.

    Säljö, R. (2000). Lärande i praktiken. Ett sociokulturellt perspektiv. Stockholm: Prisma.

  • 2.
    Boström, Lena
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    LESYR: Programvara för taktila läromedel2009Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 3.
    Boström, Lena
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Students’ Need for Structure: The Forgotten Learning Styles Preference2016In: Learning Styles and Strategies: Assessment, Performance and Effectiveness / [ed] Noah Preston, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2016, p. 12-20Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Boström, Lena
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Students’ Need for Structure—the Forgotten Learning Styles Preference2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The need for structure has not been analyzed to any great extent even though previous research has shown its importance for students. The purpose of this study was therefore to identify, describe, and examine the need for structure among teachers and students as well as to understand students’ perceptions of this need. The theoretical framework is based on Dunns´ Learning Styles Model. Data were collected using the learning styles test, Productivity Environmental Preference Survey (PEPS), (n=525) and students’) essays (n=35) on study strategies wherein the concept of need for structure was analyzed. The study found that a) there is a great need for structure among students (54%–68%), b) there is a statistically significant difference between students and teachers (p = 0.001), and c) there are qualitative changes in students’ perceptions of the content concept high preferences for structure. They were divided into the five following categories: need from outside, personality traits, ask for help, make own structure, and consequences. The results indicate the need for enhanced educational strategies and in-depth didactic discussion on the practical educational activities relating to structure and the importance of students themselves to create awareness of the need for structure to become more autonomous.

  • 5. Boström, Lena
    et al.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    Nordin, Britt-Marie
    Methodology for every Learning Style2006Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Adaptation of learning environment for students with ADHD in Swedish secondary school2013Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 7.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Discourses of Including Students with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) in Swedish Mainstream Schools2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    When students’ behaviours cause difficulties for their teachers, themselves, and the rest of the class, teachers often construct inclusion as problematic. The overall aim of this study was to contribute to the understanding of teachers’ discourses regarding inclusion of students with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) in Swedish mainstream schools. The sample of empirical data collected for articles II–IV was derived from focus group interviews of 5–8 mainstream teachers in grades 4–6 in 6 different schools. Article I is a research synthesis on 15 studies that feature the attitudes of teachers from 15 different countries. It frames the entire thesis by examining how teachers perceive students with EBD from other countries, cultures, and times. In this study, neither inclusion nor EBD are said to be so much objectively “real” as socially produced and can be regarded as social constructs. An approach of discourse theory that takes inspiration from Laclau and Mouffe (1985) is applied in articles II–III and is complemented with constructionist thematic analysis. The results revealed that teachers construct meaning and understanding of students in relation to their everyday professional missions in the classroom. Discourses about successfully including students with EBD face problem fixing their meaning as they require new and other types of resources as well as other time distributions, teachers, curricula, and classrooms. The teachers’ discourses revealed a clear gap between policy and practice in the Swedish education system. Discourses that were pragmatic based on everyday reality of the school overpowered the discourses of ensuring equal opportunities for all students and the celebration of diversity. When the wordings of the Swedish steering documents are arbitrary and interpreted differently among various actors within Swedish schools, the teachers feel insecurity, frustration, and inadequacy. Inclusion of students with EBD is a complex and complicated matter that the teachers do not feel competent enough to fully handle. They revealed their frustration with being expected to do something that cannot be done due to practical and economic reasons. When teachers experience failure and dissatisfaction with specific teaching situations, they construct discourses that justify and legitimize that failure. These discourses inevitably have consequences for how the teachers understand and organize their everyday teacher missions.

  • 8.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    How to individualize Swedish secondary high school for students with neuropsychiatric disability?: A question of learning and teaching approaches at all levels.2012Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Inclusive education: Teachers’ understanding of including students with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) in mainstream schools.2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 10.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teachers’ attitudes towards including students with emotional and behavioural difficulties in mainstream school: A systematic research synthesis2018In: International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, ISSN 1694-2493, E-ISSN 1694-2116, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 45-63Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Previous research reviews on teachers'attitudes towards inclusive education have shown that students'types of special educational needs influences teachers'attitudes; these reviews have also indicated that, in terms of the inclusion of various groups, teachers are most negative about including students with behavioural problems. This article is a review of the research on teachers'attitudes towards inclusion with regard to students who have special educational needs. It specifically identifies evidence regarding teachers'attitudes towards the inclusion of students with emotional and behavioural difficulty (EBD). For this review, 15 studies, measuring teachers'attitudes from 15 countries, met the inclusion criteria. The results of this synthesis confirmed that most teachers hold negative attitudes towards the inclusion of students with EBD; however, this was not true in all countries. The results also highlight specific explanations for why teachers hold negative attitudes towards including students with EBD in their classrooms. The implication of this synthesis is that teachers feel that their prerequisites for successfully including students with EBD are not being met; this impracticability is most impactful when the teachers nevertheless try to include these students. 

  • 11.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teacher’s Attitudes towards Inclusion of Pupils with Behavioral Problems in Mainstream School: An International Literature Review.2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teachers’ understanding of Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties (EBD) in Sweden.2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Teachers’ understanding of Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties (EBD) in Sweden.: What is the problem?2017In: Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, ISSN 1903-0002, E-ISSN 1903-6906, Vol. 54, no 05/06, p. 152-166Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties (EBD) is an imprecise term difficult to define because it represents a continuum of behavior that challenges teachers. EBD is a subjectively perceived disorder rather than an objective. The purpose of this article is to contribute to the understanding of how some teachers in mainstream schools construct meaning of EBD. The theoretical framework is Discourse Theory (Laclau & Mouffe, 1985). The findings show that the prevailing discourses about students’ EBD focus on students being disturbing and disrespectful or introverted—and thus deviant. Antagonistic discourses face problems being accepted and are strongly and rapidly dismissed because of their described impossibility and insolubility. This article is a step toward an understanding of what limitations the prevailing discourses have in order to contribute to social change, leading to more equal power relations in schools, and it will also contribute to the international debate about schools categorizing students’ disorders and difficulties.

  • 14.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Why teachers find it difficult to include students with EBD in mainstream classes2018In: International Journal of Inclusive Education, ISSN 1360-3116, E-ISSN 1464-5173, Vol. 22, no 4, p. 441-455Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In Sweden, teachers in mainstream schools show frustration and insecurity about how to organise education for inclusion and diversity. This article contributes to the understanding of how they articulate their view of the advantages and disadvantages of including students with EBD in mainstream classes. To study teachers’ understanding, an approach of discourse theory which takes inspiration from Laclau and Mouffe (1985. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. London: Verso) was applied. The empirical material consisted of 6 focus group interviews and 37 individual interviews based on stimulus texts. According to the results, the prevailing discourses focused on the disadvantages of it. However, they were articulated differently and filled with meaning mainly by three recurring nodal points: (1) problems, (2) dilemmas and (3) impossibility. The advantages of including students with EBD in mainstream classes were only to be found in the antagonistic discourses. They were articulated in different ways but were overpowered by others and therefore failed to fix the meaning. The overall conclusion is that teachers base their understanding on both their experiences and on the policy of the Educational Act, but the pragmatic discourse of the disadvantages was hegemonic to the ideological antagonistic discourse of the advantages.

  • 15.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    Boström, Lena
    Learning Styles as a pedagogical platform2006Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 16.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    Boström, Lena
    Læringsstiler som pædagogiske platform2007In: Læring og læringsstile om unikke og fælles veje i pædagogikken / [ed] Lassen, L., Knop, H-H. & Boström, L., Köpenhamn: Dansk psykologisk Forlag , 2007, p. 44-66Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Boström, Lena
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    What is inclusive didactics?2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 18.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    Boström, Lena
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
    What is Inclusive Didactics?: Teachers´Understanding of Inclusive Didactics for Students with EBD in Swedish Mainstream Schools.2017In: International Education Studies, ISSN 1913-9020, E-ISSN 1913-9039, Vol. 10, no 5, p. 87-99Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Including students with emotional and behavioral difficulties (EBD) in general education is one of teachers’ greatest challenges and make the dilemma of inclusion displays its most difficult side. This article contributes to the understanding of how teachers in Swedish mainstream schools understand the concept of inclusive didactics for students with EBD. This article employs a directed qualitative content analysis supplemented with descriptive statistics related to the categories of inclusive didactics. Didactic theory was the basis of the predefined categories by which the analysis was completed. Empirical data were collected through 6 focus-group interviews and 37 individual follow-up interviews. The findings indicate that three didactic aspects were dominant in teachers’ understanding of inclusive didactics: Student(s), Methods, and Teacher. Less accentuated were Subject, Rhetoric and Interaction. Thus these teachers’ understanding and previous research is not consistent. The overall conclusion is that the concept of inclusive didactics is complex, complicated, and difficult for teachers to relate to. The descriptions are both vague and simplistic and therefore difficult for teachers to implement. This article clearly highlights that teachers often feel frustrated and inadequate, and blame themselves for the students’ deficiency and failure, thus concluding that strategies for distinct descriptions and teacher practices are needed.

  • 19.
    Gidlund, Ulrika
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institution of education.
    Boström, Lena
    Nordin, Britt-Marie
    Parkskolan - Örnsköldsvik.
    Metodik for læringsstiler2007In: Læring og læringsstile om unikke og fælles veje i pædagogikken / [ed] Lassen, L., Knop, HH.& Boström, L., Köpenhamn: Dansk psykologisk Forlag, 2007, 1, p. 67-85Chapter in book (Refereed)
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