Redifining teaching - An activity theoretical study of school practice in Sweden

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The issue of this presentation is how teachers in the Swedish compulsory school have redefined their jobs as a result of new demands that have emerged during the restructuring in the 1990’s. Earlier, the teachers defined their jobs in terms of good teaching, e.g. transforming the subject matter in order to make it accessible. By using activity theory as a perspective for analysing qualitative data, we can see that the commission is now understood to be striving for all students to achieve the grade ‘passed’. This means that teachers try to transform students’ willingness or/and responsibility to do their tasks. This redefined object is planned and carried through by individual forms of teaching methods and by individual trajectories of schooling. What can explain that the object has changed? What are the impacts of the new steering system, new curriculum, new assessment system, the increased emphasis on accountability and marketization and so on? In many cases teachers are described as unwilling to change their practices. By using activity theory, however, it is possible to argue for an interpretation that teachers are eager to both fulfil their commission and to change their practices. The presentation is based upon the results of a longitudinal study of four schools participating during a probation period, initiated by the Swedish government. Schools in this project worked work without the national timetable.


  • Inger Eriksson
  • Marie Jedemark
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences


  • decentralized teaching, student´s own work, self-regulted practice, division of labour
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch
EventFirst ISCAR Conference - Seville, Spain
Duration: 2005 Sep 202005 Sep 25


ConferenceFirst ISCAR Conference

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