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A “Deleterious” Driver: The “First Teacher” Reform in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Ian Hardy
Karin Rönnerman
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research
ISSN 0031-3831
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Language en
Keywords Educational policy, educational reform, “First teachers”, “förstelärare”, teacher professional learning
Subject categories Pedagogy, Pedagogical Work


This article investigates the implementation of the “förstelärare” or “First teacher” reform in Sweden. We draw upon the insights of a superintendent, union official, principal, three First teachers, and two of their colleagues in one school, and recent literature on career development reform. We employ Michael Fullan’s overview of the “right” and “wrong” drivers of educational reform to analyse the extent to which the First Teacher initiative cultivated productive “professional capital.” The research reveals: how broader national policy aims were in clear tension with municipal-wide school development, and school-level development efforts; the perverse effects of a strong focus upon salary on professional conduct; and how an emphasis upon teachers’ roles per se undermined the espoused policy focus on enhancing teaching. The research cautions against the problematic effects of the initiative on more profession-oriented prerogatives, and how more external, “deleterious,” drivers of reform militate against more productive professional capital.

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