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Teachers’ understandings of emerging conflicts

Journal article
Authors Ilse Hakvoort
Kristoffer Larsson
Agneta Lundström
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research
ISSN 0031-3831
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Language en
Keywords emerging conflicts, primary school teachers, phenomenography, teachers’ understandings
Subject categories Pedagogy, Pedagogical Work


Scholars in the field of conflict resolution in schools theoretically argued that minor distractions and disturbances are conflicts. In the present study, we refer to them as emerging conflicts. The study has been carried out within the phenomenographic research tradition and used semi-structured interviews. We addressed the professionals – the teachers – who deal with emerging conflicts every day, investigating their different ways of understanding an emerging conflict. The 9 different ways we found make the collective and shared understandings of emerging conflicts visible and form a professional language with which to discuss these kinds of conflicts. These nine could be divided into three groups, the social practice of the classroom, something that stems from outside the classroom, and something that characterises all human interaction. The awareness of the existing understandings could further be discussed in relation to what is actually taught in teacher education in Sweden.

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