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2019-12-12 08:27

Invoices to shed light on teacher skills development


Teachers are today awash in offers regarding skills development. At the same time, studies show that these offers are sometimes lacking when it comes to quality and relevance. Researchers at the University of Borås will now study the market for teacher skills development and they have chosen a somewhat different method; they will study invoices from three strategically selected municipalities.

The newly created project "Invoices, continuing education, and research" is to receive almost 6 million Swedish crowns from the Swedish Research Council. Anita Norlund, Professor of Educational Work, is research leader for the project.   

Anita Norlund

"We want to find out what skills development opportunities teachers are offered, who has power when it comes to skills development, and its relevance to teachers' professional learning," she explains.

"On social media, teachers themselves have also begun to question the skills development opportunities they receive and are offered.”

Desire to create a greater understanding

Anita Norlund believes that it is important to examine how teachers are offered skills development, given that many teachers leave the profession.

"Teachers are now awash in offers from different actors and studies have shown that the skills development opportunities on offer can lack scientific basis and relevance to teachers.

The project runs until December 2023. Researchers Lill Langelotz, Magnus Levinsson, and Dennis Beach are also involved in the project.  Read more

This may have an unfavourable effect on the social sustainability of teachers. Moreover, the fact that many actors have commercial interests and are expensive can be unfavourable to the economic sustainability of municipalities.

To investigate what kind of skills development teachers have received, the researchers will request invoices from three strategically selected municipalities. This was an idea that emerged by chance when the research team discussed that perhaps they could "follow the money."

"In educational science, studies are more commonly based on, for example, policy decisions at the macro level and that then leads to studies at the microlevel, such as interviews with teachers. But this study will be somewhat the opposite, in which we start with real numbers to discover the names of the actors and clear information about what kind of training has been commissioned," she explains.

Open to the results

Based on the findings, the researchers will interview those who commissioned the trainings regarding their thoughts on the choice and interview teachers about their impressions of the educational programmes. Towards the end, the research group will map skills development by deploying players who offer skills development in a network to see if there are particularly powerful actors who are prominent.

"As a side effect, we hope that teachers will be able to ask more critical questions and that there will be a constructive discussion among those who choose skills devlopment training programmes at schools," concludes Anita Norlund.

Read more 

On Anita Norlund

Educational work

Text: Linda Rydh/Anna Kjellsson

Translation: Eva Medin

Photo: Mostphotos/Suss Wilén