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Self-awareness and self-knowledge in professions – Something we are or a skill we learn


En utbildning i personlig utveckling kan öppna nya professionella förhållningssätt i yrket. Det visar Ulla Andréns avhandling, som undersöker vad självmedvetenhet och självkännedom tillför professionella inom olika yrkesfält, som exempelvis lärare och rektorer.


Ulla Andrén


Jan Bengtsson, Silwa Claesson

Disputerat vid

Göteborgs universitet



Titel (eng)

Self-awareness and self-knowledge in professions – Something we are or a skill we learn


Institutionen för didaktik och pedagogisk profession

Self-awareness and self-knowledge in professions – Something we are or a skill we learn

This study explores how issues associated with the professional as a person can be dealt with in professional education. It has been done by exploring what participants learn in a course of personal development with psychosynthesis as a method and investigating whether they use these insights in their profession. Does learning about self actually influence your relation to work in e.g. terms of relational capacity, tact, authenticity and professional judgement?

These are qualities mentioned in theories about professional knowledge and professional person. This competence is often described as something you are, and considered to be a talent and regarded as something that cannot be learned in training. Studies in professional education and professional knowledge most often focus on theories and acquisition of skills and less often on the professional as a human being. However, here the person is important in understanding how professional work is performed. Participants are interviewed and asked to exemplify situations, which they handle differently after the education. Important is which parts of the training that participants experience as most helpful. A phenomenological life-world approach has been used when analysing the interviews and the results are presented in three parts, the first consists of individual portraits describing individual experiences of professional situations.

The second part of the results is a systematization of the portraits in order to create a meaningful structure of the self-awareness and self-knowledge in professions. Three themes were identified, awareness of personal resonances, awareness of points of reference and situational awareness. In the third part of the results, a theoretical analysis was made. The results show that the participants, in the process of gaining self-awareness and self-knowledge, experienced themselves as approaching professional situations in new ways. Moreover, they had gained theories and methods, which they consider as useful in understanding their every-day professional practices. They also show a change in their experience of “who they are” as professionals; this can be seen in the themes “awareness of personal resonance”, “awareness personal point of reference” and in “situational awareness” At the same time, they learn skills from participating in a practice of the training itself. The process of integration was crucial, when theories and skills became integrated in the individual experience. Key aspects of professional development have been highlighted in relation to the professional as a person.

The complexity of the area has is shown, but also the possibility of actively influence the development of self-awareness and self-knowledge through education. This study contributes to actualize processes of personal development in relation to professional development.

Forskningsbevakningen presenteras i samarbete med

forskningsinstitutet Ifous

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