A school for the deviant: A study of teaching- and learning practices and the formation of identity in special classes

Research project
Inactive research
Project size
Project period
2012 - 2017
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg


Short description

The project is about how schools deal with diversity between children when organizing teaching and learning practices.

About the project

The general background of the project is an interest in how schools deal with diversity between children when organizing teaching and learning practices. At present, neuropsychiatric diagnosis, as for example ADHD or Aspergers are used widely in schools as categories for classifying pupils and their difficulties in school, for organizing teaching and learning opportunities, and for the distribution of economic and other kinds of resources.

On a public and political level, these segregating solutions will have consequences for the idea of a school for all, but it will also have a decisive influence on children’s identity, learning and development. However, there is yet very little research on how the schools are dealt with this kind of difficulties in the learning practices in the classroom. The proposed project is supposed to be a contribution to an increased knowledge on this topic.

Aim of the project

The overall aim of the project is to explore how schools deal with diversity between children when organizing teaching and learning practices. Focus for the project concerns what happens when the children are placed in a special teaching group, i.e. a group arranged for children assigned with the diagnosis ADHD. More precisely, the questions in focus are

a) How many of these groups exist in Sweden today?

b) What kind of education is offered to the children?

c) How is the pedagogical strategy chosen motivated by different actors (teachers, special teachers, psychologists etc

d) What kind of communicating and organising the schoolday, methods for examining learning and so on are established in this context?

e) What do teachers expect from the pupils? and

f) how are children made aware of their diagnosis and what consequences does this have for identity formation?

The empirical work will consist of three different projects - a survey study where the frequency of this segregating practices are in focus and two studies of ethnografical observations and recordings within classrooms specifically organized for these groups of pupils. Here the focus will be both on the physical, social and pedagogical arrangements in the classrooms as well as on the interaction between pupils and between pupils and teachers.

Research Programme

Platform for Research in Inclusive education and School development (PRIS)

Project Participants

Eva Hjörne, Professor, Project Coordinator, University of Gothenburg

Ann-Carita Evaldsson, Professor, Uppsala University

Claes Nilholm, Professor, Uppsala University

Johanna Svahn, PhD stud, Uppsala University

Johan Malmqvist, Dr, Jönköping University