New research group with a focus on language and literature didactics in educational work
Carina Hermansson, professor at the Department of Educational Work, is the leader of the research group, which has been in place for about a year.
“Through our research and seminar activities, we want to contribute to developing a theoretical understanding of language and literature work in schools, while participating in the development of language and literature teaching.”
The group conducts both practice-oriented and interdisciplinary research, often in collaboration with practicing teachers from pre-school to secondary school. Several projects are already underway, both at the University of Borås and in collaboration with other higher education institutions.
“Most members of the research group teach in teacher training programmes and supervise students writing Master's theses and degree projects. One objective is therefore also to improve the quality of this work.”
Examples of some of the research group’s projects include
Supporting early oral literacy
The project studies children's ability to understand and produce narratives at an early age. The skills are studied before and after two different language promotion approaches in pre-school. Educators' work with children is jointly evaluated by researchers and participating pre-school teachers. The children's linguistic abilities are mapped several times during the project, both in pre-school and later in reception class (föreskoleklass).
“We want to contribute knowledge about successful approaches to children's language development in preschool and thus lay the foundation for the literacy development of all children when they start school. It fundamentally has to do with democracy and citizenship,” said Peter Andersson Lilja, Project Leader and Associate Professor of Swedish. In addition, the project aims to test two different teaching ideals that are often presented as opposites in language learning research.
The project: Supporting early oral literacy
Professional education in times of change
In Sweden, linguistic heterogeneity has never been greater than it is today – but how does Swedish education prepare students for work in linguistically diverse environments? This project is about just that, developing methods for teaching linguistic diversity at the University of Borås's professional education programmes. The project is internally funded through the Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Development Fund and initially focuses on teacher training.
"Our goal is for the University of Borås to prepare its students, whether they attend the university's police, nursing, or librarianship programmes, for future work in linguistically heterogeneous environments," said Carina Hermansson, Project Leader and Professor of Language Teaching and Learning.
The project: Professional education in times of change
Writing as nourishment for democracy
Researchers and primary school teachers are working together to develop specific teaching methods that support students to use writing as a tool to make their voices heard and to participate in society through their writing. What is known as Participatory Writing Instruction enables students to develop into writing individuals so that they can meet the writing demands and challenges of everyday life, but also trains students to communicate in a way that is appropriate to their everyday life and to make their voice heard in society.
“It is important to be willing and able to write – so that you can function well as a full-fledged writer in today's society. Here, we want to highlight the importance of how the school can be a place where children and young people, by learning the noble art of writing in all its aspects, live and learn democracy," said Carina Hermansson, a researcher and one of the project’s researchers.
The project: Writing as nourishment for democracy
Drawing to learn and learning to draw in primary school science education
In the project, primary school teachers, researchers in literacy and science education, and visual educators work together to develop teaching activities where students are asked to practically investigate science concepts and then draw how they understand this concept. The teachers try out the activities in their respective classrooms while the researchers document what happens.
"It is so interesting and rewarding to work with teachers to develop a practical repertoire for teaching about and through drawing in science and to explore and evaluate children's drawing as a sign of learning in science," said Carina Hermansson, one of the project’s researchers.
The project: Drawing to learn and learning to draw in primary school science education