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The need of substitute teachers in preschool in Sweden

Conference contribution
Authors Rauni Karlsson
Airi Bigsten
Published in 29th EECERA Annual conference, Thessaloniki, Greece 20th – 23rd August
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Keywords Preschool teacher professionalisation, Temporary substitute teachers, Web-interviews, Professional knowledge, Practical knowledge
Subject categories Pedagogical Work, Educational Sciences


The overall aim is to explore the preschool teachers' experiences about the relationship between their profession and the temporary substitute teachers' competence in the everyday activities when replacing an absent teacher. In Sweden preschools are facing major challenges primarily concerning personnel with applicable skills. The preschool teaching profession is developing with the support of the curriculum implementation (Vallberg Roth, 2010). An important part of the profession is developing knowledge within one's own practice (Carlgren, 2009). Taguma, Litjens and Makowiecki (OECD iLibrary, 2012/2013) show that quality of preschool is dependent on staff training. Preschool teacher vocation has not always been considered as a profession (Englund, 1995), and questioned if regarded as a profession or not. Systematic theory, authorization, professional autonomy and self-controlled professional ethics forms the basis for a profession (Colnerud & Granström, 2018). The study is placed within a qualitative paradigm (Bryman, 2004) and the methodology is hermeneutics. Data was collected by conducting web-interviews with preschool teachers. By e-mail preschool teachers received information about ethical principles such as, the opportunity to withdraw at any time and that they would be anonymized. The study shows a paradox regarding the expectations of the substitutes. They are expected to possess a basic practical preschool pedagogical professional knowledge and a basic level of preschool education knowledge. Depending on whether the regular staff find substitutes having above mentioned knowledges or not, the substitutes will be perceived as either an asset or a burden. These results can contribute to continued research within the field of teachers' professionalisation.

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