Managing the unmanageable: curriculum challenges and teacher strategies in multicultural preschools in Sweden
In its political ambitions and pedagogical spirit to address an increasingly diverse population,the Swedish national curriculum for the preschool contains contradictory or even conflictinggoals. On the one hand, the curriculum stipulates openness to, tolerance for and appreciationof cultural, ethnic, religious and social differences, and respect for the unique background ofchildren. On the other hand, it stresses universal human rights and the fundamental values ofSwedish society. How preschool teachers work with and make sense of such contradictory oreven conflicting goals in everyday practice is the focus of this text. The research questions are:(1) How do preschool teachers describe the challenges they face in their daily work when theyattempt to honour the stipulations of the curriculum? (2) Which strategies do they describe asusing to manage these challenges? The empirical material consists of 14 focus groupinterviews with 41 preschool teachers from two highly ethnically and culturally diverse urbanareas of metropolitan Stockholm. Results suggest that there are a number of recurringpreschool situations where cultural and religious differences lead to dilemmas and potentialfriction between children, preschool teachers and parents. Results also show that the preschoolcurriculum provides little guidance and instead the preschool teachers must develop their ownstrategies to handle children’s and parents’ expectations and demands, for instance by usingthe children as cultural intermediaries. Overall, the preschool teachers adopt strategies thatenable them to avoid “difficult” situations, which in effect risks placing the challenges on theshoulders of the children.
Författare: Jonas Stier och Margareta Sandström
Sidan publicerades 2018-12-04 11:18 av Susanne Sawander
Sidan uppdaterades 2018-12-05 12:23 av Susanne Sawander