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Primary school teachers’ understanding of emerging conflicts

Conference contribution
Authors Ilse Hakvoort
Agneta Lundström
Kristoffer Larsson
Åke Ingerman
Published in Different horizons: setting directions for phenomenographic research, EARLI Special Interest Group 9, Phenomenography and Variation Theory, Gothenburg 24-26 Aug
Publication year 2016
Published at External relations
Department of Education and Special Education
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Language en
Keywords emerging conflicts, teachers’ understanding
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Pedagogical Work


Conflicts are part of daily school life and often dealt with by teachers. To some extent, democratic societies have encouraged vibrant dialogue in education settings that can lead to heated discussions or avoidance of rules. Our focus is on conflicts that can be negotiated or dealt with through third-party intervention and have not yet escalated. We will present a phenomenographic study on primary schoolteachers’ understanding of emerging conflicts. The interviews had a semi-structured character and questions were formulated around two conflict scenarios that were specifically developed and piloted to describe the phenomenon. Purposive sampling has been used to recruit four public primary schools in the area of Gothenburg and Umeå. From these schools, twenty teachers were interviewed during about an hour. All interviews have been audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. January 2016, the research team started their analyses. The first recursive readings have been conducted and the analytic process will be finalized during the spring 2016. Preliminary insights indicate that teachers understand emerging conflict in several different ways, one of them as an expected part of their daily professional work no matter what happened, another as a threat to the agenda, another one being as a threat to expectations.

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