Lisbeth Johnsson, 1997: Who's researching and teaching at the university? A gender perspective /Vem forskar och undervisar på högskolan? Ett könspers-pektiv/. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, Vol 2, No 2, Pp 81-94. Stockholm. ISSN 1401-6788.
This article aims at two things. Firstly it gives a review of Swedish studies on the balance of women and men at universities and university colleges, with special reference to the social sciences. Secondly it discusses what kind of explanations have been used to understand the situation in Swedish higher education and to what extent Swedish studies have adopted the type of explanations that focus on individual capabilities, the "deficiency syn-drome", in contrast to other more structural types of explanations. Further, I'm also interested in if, and in what way, the concept of gender has entered into these academic discussions.
Slightly less than 30% of all researchers and lecturers are women, seen across all disciplines. For full professors we find only some 8% women. Today there is hardly no dispute on these statistics since most researchers and politicians agree that there should be a higher representation of women throughout the entire university system in Sweden. This argument being based on the amount of undergraduate and graduate students in the preceeding decades.
In 1995 the Swedish government stated that the situation was unacceptable and that earlier efforts to increase female participation in research and education had been inefficient. The problematic in the government bill is posed in terms of utility and quality (we can't miss the competence of women) and democracy/justice (scarce resources have to be allocated in a fair manner). Further there are arguments of an uneven distribution of power between the sexes when trying to explain the lack of women in higher education.
Critical studies on the few women and the many men may, according to a Norwegian researcher (Sørhaug 1991), be located on three different levels. A first level concerns the amount of women and men across all disciplines but also the sexual division of labour among the disciplines. In addition there are strong hierarchies within each discipline. How come that the same patterns appear in all industrialized countries? A second level problematizes the dominance of the male perspective in the actual research processes. How come that knowledge about women has had that low priority? Do women and men search in different directions with respect to research issues and methods? A third level is about meta theoretical issues - do women and men produce different knowledge and theories of knowledge? The studies made in Sweden are with few exceptions to be located on the first level.
With a few exceptions most researchers agree that women are somehow treated in an unfair way, but there are many divergent views on whether this should be regarded as pure discrimination or unintended male behaviour due to tradition. Further, if discrimination is accepted as a "fact", there are several ways of how to explain it.
The individual oriented, in my view traditional and not very fruitful explanations, are based on the search for the "missing" characteristics, features, abilities, endowments etc in women. The male academic is posed as the norm. In my findings there are still several authors arguing along these lines. But there are also other authors putting forward arguments based on the assumptions that power asymmetries also operate in the various university organizations.
There are very few studies with a gender perspective made at under graduate levels (grundnivå). Statistics show that young women and men apply to higher education in very traditional ways and several interpretations tend to carry the message that young women choose the "wrong" paths. Women are "lost" for research careers but we don't know why.
In the early eighties several studies were made on young research students and their attitudes towards research. Most studies showed that women were less satisfied with their situation than their male collegues.
As to the subject of tutoring, some studies have been made and they seem to point in the same direction. Women do not have the same access to their tutors as men have. It was not until the late eighties that studies were made on persons with doctoral exams. In 1988, in Göteborg Sweden, there was only a handful of women that recieved a position after their exam. Today, almost ten years later, the situation is slowly changing.
Further, the late eighties was the period when structural explanations made their entrance in the Swedish studies of "Academia". When a Norwegian researcher, Elisabeth FŸrst (1988), thoroughly questioned Academia as a gender neutral system, a row erupted in Norway, followed by a smaller row in Sweden. She had shown that male academics had a tendency to underestimate, diminish or disregard the qualifications of female applicants to higher positions.
With some years delay similar questions were posed in the Swedish context and several authors have produced studies indicating that we have the same kind of problems in Sweden. There was and is a discrimination of women built into the higher education system. Women do not get positions or research money in proportion to their numbers and qualifications. So far there is only one Swedish study rejecting these lines of reasoning. There is no discrimination but any possible unfair treatment will be built away with assistance of social engineering (Riis & Lindberg 1995, Riis 1996).
My conclusion is that during the last decade several studies have emerged which focus on structural explanations, either at the organizational level or the societal level (the national system for higher education). However, these still coexist with explanations of individual capabilities. Further, the term gender has only slowly entered the Swedish discussion of women and men in the universities and university colleges. Mainly it has been mentioned with regard to women.
According to my opinion it is necessary to use the concept of "gender" as a relational concept. 'Women' and 'Men' are social constructs and the relation between men and women is socially established through economical, political and institutional practices. Therefore it is also a prerequisite to use some kind of structural explanation. The use of Gender demands this.
It might be debatable but by now it is high time to systematically relate the "few" women in science to the "many" men in science, the "lack of women" in Academia to the "abundance" of men in Academia. Further it might be fruitful to reflect upon the ever changing constructions of "Femalenesses" and "malenesses" within the organizations (departments, universities etc), regardless of who is the carrier of these properties.
Lisbeth Johnsson, Department of Feminist Studies, Göteborg University, Box 215, S-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden.
Gunnel Colnerud, 1997: An impossible comparison/En omöjlig jämförelse/. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, Vol 2, No 2, Pp 95-104. Stockholm. ISSN 1401-6788.
The aim of this article is to compare two articles representing two totally different discourses, a cognitive one and a discourse that can be named "late teacher thinking". In fact, the comparison may seem somewhat improper and, indeed, impossible. The two articles were published in 1995 in two journals important for research involving teachers and teaching - Educa-tional Researcher and Teachers and Teaching.
The articles both deal with criteria of good teaching. In their article "A Prototype View of Expert Teaching", Sternberg & Horvath (1995) investigate the characteristics of an expert teacher. At the same time, van Manen expresses the importance of pedagogical tact, by which he means a kind of expertise, even if that term might seem strange in his article. The parallel reading of these articles initially gives a picture of two incompatible ways of dealing with the one and same problem - the research contribution to the knowledge of what good teaching is and how it develops.
Both articles prescribe and discuss ideals of teaching. However, they use different concepts for naming it. Sternberg & Horvath suggest a reconcep-tualization of teaching expertise, referring to the great hope and faith addressed to the school in the American politics. If the school in the USA is supposed to be the centre of development and skill as hoped, the teachers must be effectively trained, the authors claim. The expert prototype is sculptured by the work of previous researchers (Shulman, Polanyi, Schön) more than by research carried out by the authors themselves. They present three main categories of skills of an expert teacher: knowledge, efficiency and insight. There are thirteen subcategories, e.g. explicit, practical knowledge, executive control, selective encoding. They stress the organisation of memory and describe tacit knowledge and insight as if they were instrumental skills and refer to a test that measures tacit knowledge. They summarise the expert teacher as one who solves problem effectively, in a shorter time and with less effort than a non expert.
In contrast to Steinberg & Horvath, van Manen states that teaching is not only governed by principles of effectiveness but also by special normative, ethical or affective considerations. He examines the role of reflection in the interaction between teacher and pupil. van Manen adds the concepts of pedagogical tact and tactful action to name the pedagogical/didactic skill that enables the teacher to know the right thing to do in the interactive teaching. Tact can neither be reduced to some kind of intellectual knowledge base nor some set of skills that mediates between theory and practice (p. 43). Tact could be defined as a thin Kingly acting (p. 44).
van Manen describes tact as a number of creative and inventive abilities in pedagogical practice, e.g. the sensitive ability to interpret inner thoughts, understandings, feelings and desires of children from indirect clues and to know almost automatically how far to enter into a situation. Tact is also characterised by moral intuitiveness.
The differences in content and interest between the two articles and the discourses to which they belong are obvious. However, there are also a number of less obvious similarities, apart from the fact that both list what they claim are the qualities of good teaching. In the cognitive discourse, the skills are instrumental, in the tact discourse they are moral and in some way therapeutic.
The first resemblance is the actual starting-point for the search for good teaching. Both discourses are based on the assumption that teachers are not as skilful as they could and that if they obtained the listed criteria they would teach well. Both lists are ideal, clearly stressing two different sides of teaching.
The second resemblance pointed to is the significance of practice to attain the ideal skills. Both articles rely on the assumption that teachers develop their expertise or tact through experience in practice. Neither of them is troubled by the fact that not all practice ends up in good teaching. Steinberg & Horvath do mention that every experienced teacher does not become an expert teacher. However, they just note that there are some unknown elements that explain the difference. van Manen claims that tact develops in daily social interaction. Thus tact emerges spontaneously as a certain type of active (not ungrounded) confidence in dealing with ever-changing social situations (p. 45). If this is so, we could expect that all teachers sooner or later develop tact. Since this is not the case, the teacher as an individual becomes responsible for developing expertise as well as tact. Thus, both ways of describing the development of good teaching can be seen as a mystification of the possibility of developing good teaching in a complex practice.
A third resemblance is an assumption of innocent harmony between ideal teaching and reality. Both articles avoid the contradictions endemic in teaching and ignore existing conflicting elements in teaching practice, e.g. power and care.
The fourth resemblance can be described as the reliance on two different subcultures of psychology - one modern and the other post-modern. Cognitive psychology represents the modern project - rational, clear and trusting in a structured way of describing competence. van Manen represents a more post-modern understanding of knowledge since he does not separate theory and practice but integrates thinking and acting. Kvale (1992) claims that the knowledge founded on psychotherapy is one of the few post-modern discources in psychology. The description of tact is close to a description of therapeutic skills: empathy, timing, interpretation of needs and wishes from covert cues. The avoidance of modern psychology is thus followed by influences from another - post-modern - discource of psychology.
One point made by showing the influences of psychology is that the modern and post-modern traits, respectively, in each of the two articles are confirmed. Modern cognitive psychology is chacterised by convincing arguing with its elaborated concepts and empirically founded conclusions. The post-modern discourse is weaker because, as van Manen writes, it lacks a vocabulary suited to the life and meaning of teaching.
The conclusion reached in this article is that new criteria of ideal teaching are not needed, even if they contain important qualities which have previously been ignored, such as tact. However, denying the conflicting duties endemic in teaching can lead to blame being laid on teachers, making them feel guilty about not being good enough. Nevertheless, a vocabulary taking the contradictions in teaching into consideration is lacking.
Gunnel Colnerud, Department of Education and Psychology, Linköping University, S-581 83 Linköping, Sweden.
Finn Calander, 1996: Teachers, recreational instructors and the struggle for the white-board /Lärarna, fritidspedagogerna och kampen om vita tavlan/. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, Vol 2, No 2, Pp 105-118. Stockholm. ISSN 1401-6788.
In this article the use of Giddens's theory of structuration as a tool in research on co-operation between recreational instructors and teachers in an integrated school-leisure time centre, is examined. Due to structural changes on a national and municipal level, recreational instructors and teachers were compelled to co-operate more extensively during the late 1980's and early 1990's. Ideally the co-operation should be based on an equal standing, and result in a mutual exchange of experiences and knowledge. Reaching this ideal is not always easy. The question is whether the outcome of integration and co-operation is dependent primarily on structural prerequisites or on actors' intentions and actions. As Giddens proposes the theory of structuration as a means to overcome the dualism between structure and agency, it seems to be a good point of departure for research on integration.
Firstly, the main concepts of the theory of structuration, viz. structure, agency and power, were examined. Giddens rejects the dominating notion in the social sciences of structure and agency as two separate entities. His notion is instead the duality of structure, which states that structure is the means for, as well as the outcome of action. Structure is viewed as a virtual set of rules and resources beyond time and space. Actors draw upon structures to be able to act in a meaningful way, and structures exist in time-space only in social practices. Through different access to resources between actors, power relations are formed between them. Power is not, in Giddens' view, a resource in its own right, but resources are the media of power. Power is expressed in the routine flow of everyday life. A short review of criticisms of Giddens showed that some elaboration of this central aspect of theory of structuration was needed for it to function as a sensitising tool in an empirical study. A model was worked out that inserted the notion of external and internal context as a link between structure and agency.
Secondly, the theory of structuration was used in the analysis of an 'interaction-strip' between pedagogues, six teachers and two recreational instructors, during a staff meeting. A year before this meeting a leisure time centre had been integrated in the school as part of the municipal reorganisation of school and school age child care. The aims for the integration were, apart from financial savings, unclear. An official norm of co-operation 'reigned'; this norm was sanctioned by the headmaster. According to this norm, the various premises in the school 'belonged to everyone'.
From time to time the recreational instructors gave children access to classrooms, in their free time after the end of the school day. For a time preceding the event analysed, there had been some irritation among the teachers as some of them had noticed that the order in the classroom, when they opened up in the morning, was not the same as when they left the room the previous afternoon. Among other things, the whiteboard had been used.
The problem under discussion during the meeting was, what rules were to be observed when the recreational instructors were using classrooms after the end of the school day. Three of the teachers took the stance that the whiteboard was only to be used during lessons, arguing that the pens were used up too quickly and that using the whiteboard was something 'children were just not supposed to do'. One of these teachers added that as there were some technical installations in her classroom, for a pupil in her class with a physical dysfunction, it should not be used at all. The recreational instructors opposed this. They argued that the children should be able to use the whiteboard since they enjoyed drawing and writing on it during play. They were supported by the other three teachers, who said, that if the recreational instructors only saw to it that the children respected the usual order in the classroom, there was no problem. The recreational instructors made light of the problem, saying that they did not use the classrooms very often and, when they did, there were not so many children in the rooms at the same time. They preferred the teachers to lock their classroom doors at the end of the school day, as that made it easier for the recreational instructors to keep control over where the children were in the building. After 23 minutes of discussion, during which a couple of actors asked if there really was a problem at all, it finally ended with an implicit decision that the recreational instructors could let the children use the classrooms and the whiteboards. The recreational instructors were responsible, and the normal order in the classrooms was to be upheld.
The analysis started with the discussion being transformed (from audiotape) into a coherent story. First the plot was scrutinised, then the actors, and lastly the internal context. The context being an environment for the actors, as well as a part of the plot.
The Plot. Finding the plot around which the story unfolds, is a means to make the actors' actions meaningful and understandable. In this case the plot was one of control. The classroom was the resource the actors were 'fighting' about. The whiteboard was regarded as a symbolic focus for the struggle between teachers and recreational instructors for gaining control over the classrooms. As Giddens sees resources as a media for exerting power, the whiteboard could be understood as connected with the Teacher position, and as such it is a part in the maintenance of the Teacher-Pupil relation. The meaning of the whiteboard was linked to teaching, work, and utility as opposed to play, free time, and distraction. When the recreational instructors let the children use the classroom and the whiteboard in their free time, they make an encroachment, the room is desecrated and the Teacher position may be eroded. The discussion is thus understood as (some) teachers' struggle not to lose control over the classroom, due to the integration of the leisure time centre in school, as well as a wish to maintain a distance to the recreational instructors position.
The Actors. The arguments used by the actors during the discussion, are, considering the plot, understood as emanating from the two different pedagogical cultures - the school culture and the culture of child care. As these cultures are not 'equal', with the school culture being more dominant, the recreational instructors's wish to 'downplay' the encroachment they make, was seen as an expression of this dominance. The teachers have power to control the classrooms and the activities in them, reaching beyond their own presence in time-space. The use of the classrooms in the free time is conditional. The interaction upholds and recreates the separateness between the teachers and the recreational instructors, under a guise of co-operation. The discussion is thus understood as a reproduction of the recreational instructors's dominated position, when they are moving in the regions traditionally considered as belonging to the Teacher.
The Internal Context. The integration of the leisure time centre in the school was not a result of the actors' own wishes, but a decision forced upon them from outside. The school day was organised so that the children would not only have lessons and ordinary breaks, but also so-called free time activities under the supervision of the recreational instructors. This, combined with the co-operation norm, created a threat against established educational praxis. The teachers could not, even if they wanted to, openly deny the recreational instructors access to the classrooms, however, the physical plan of the school was such that only two classrooms were so located that they were of practical use for the recreational instructors in the afternoons. One teacher could 'stop' the use of her classroom due to the technical installations there, and since her classroom was located far away from the leisure time centre, was of little interest to the recreational instructors anyway and they could accept this without making a stir about it. The physical aspects of context interplayed with the interactive aspects in such a way that the actors could uphold the separateness between the two professions, without breaking the co-operation norm. The recreational instructors were not using this classroom for practical reasons. Since the recreational instructors, in fear of being 'swallowed by the school' when integrated, have actively striven to keep control over their work with the children in their free time during the school day, they thereby also acknowledge the teachers right to autonomy in their teaching activities. These aspects of the internal context structured the recreational instructor's 'argumental space' during the discussion, and put certain limits to it. Thus the internal context was structured in a way that recreated the separateness between teachers and recreational instructors. This separateness was a result of structure and context in interplay, at the same time as the internal context was a 'product' of the actors' intentionality and conscious actions.
The analysis showed how actors recreated the separateness between the two professions and how the teachers' dominant position was maintained through their greater mobilisation of resources coupled to the classroom. From an outside point of view it is hard to understand that it can be a problem if children use a whiteboard during play. The point here is that the real problem, that of control over resources and the social relations defined by these resources, was hidden during the discussion. It could be that the actors either could not formulate the problem discursively, or that the problem was not allowed to be formulated discursively, as that would threaten the upholding of the co-operation norm. The use of the conceptual frame given through the theory of structuration was highly productive.
Finn Calander, Högskolan Dalarna, S-791 88 Falun, Sweden
Per-Johan ödman, 1997: History of education and hermeneutics /Pedagogik-historia och hermeneutik/. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, Vol 2, No 2, Pp 119-134. Stockholm . ISSN 1401-6788. (inaugural lecture)
The point of departure for this inaugural lecture is an observation made when the lecturer was interpreting a text from the 17th century Swedish sorcery trials. A conclusion from this experience was that a text which is written by hand represents a fixated present tense. This means that the interpreter is confronted by "a vivid now". An important question arises: how to communicate this experience of vividness and life to the reader interested in the history of education?
Measurability and observability stands at the focus of the scientific enterprise. However, in our everyday life we are above all busy with living and experiencing. Only seldomly does our existance results in observable traces as people very rarely record their experiences. How can the researcher handle this predicament of lost information?
Hermeneutical interpretation offers an opportunity to solve this problem, according to the lecturer. The interpretation of thinkable experiences and the contextualization of the life conditions of individual(s) make it possible for the reader to appropriate history in his/her existence. When interpreting we must be most conscious about the way we use our subjectivity and pre-understanding in trying to understand what the traces meant to the people involved, according to the principle of historically effected consciousness, invented by Hans-Georg Gadamer. We must carefully use our own world and what we know about the life conditions of the historical individual/group when trying to understand the world of the other.
Paul Ricoeur on the exchange between history and fiction
In his encompassing work Time and Narrative Paul Ricoeur has paid attention to the fact that historians often borrow from fiction. He means that this is necessary in order to be able to create a picture of reality which is understandable from an existential point of view. According to Ricoeur fiction functions as a mediation of the knowledge from the past. In order to understand the existential meaning of the life in a concentration camp during the second world war it is not enough to reproduce the material circumstances. We must make stories, we must narrate. In doing so we borrow from the tradition of fiction. Therefore, in order to give a conception of the experiences which people has had in the past it is necessary to re-create or re-formulate the history. Only reconstruction is not sufficient. The problem in this case is, of course, the validation of our interpretations. But we have behind us our collection of source material and our reflexion upon the meaning of the data. Furthermore, we have our experiences and knowledge of life conditions. This can make our interpretations more stable.
According to the lecturer the hermeneutical tradition, therefore, offers a solution to the problem of mediating our results in an existentially understandable way.
The concepts of 'education' and 'mentality formation'
Wilhelm Sjöstrand, one of the most distinguished Swedish researchers in the history of education, has defined education and the history of pedagogics in the following way:
Education as a science treats different aspects of the so-called process of education. This means that in every society and in every culture there exists a continuous influence on people with the intention that through learning they will in the best possible way be formed in agreement with what one in the society and culture in question wishes to make them into. The history of education is occupied with this process of education in the past.
This is a straight-forward definition, which corresponds well with results from research concerning the history of education. According to this definition education plays a more stabilizing - rather than an innovative - role in society. Further, the formulation of education as a continuous influence demonstrates that education plays a very important part even outside school, in our everyday-life, among friends and at our work. This aspect of education connects to another concept, mentality, and its educational counterpart, mentality formation. The concept of mentality has to do with the inclinations inherent in our world-view which contribute to our way of perceiving reality and acting upon it. A mentality, then, is always intentional, is a mentality about something. Mentality formation, in its turn, consists of all actions which promote a certain mentality. This kind of education very often is immanent, i.e. inherent in the situation and as such often invisible and difficult to make explicit for the parts of the educational process. This makes it extremely difficult to defend oneself against the educational impact exerted.
A conclusion of what has been said above is that the research territory of education includes much more than just training, instruction, curriculum and consciously planned upbringing. This makes it possible to talk about education as a more or less permanent phenomenon, perpetually influencing our lives.
Interpretation as a process in existential hermeneutics
The purpose of existential hermeneutics is to analyse the traces from the past in such a way that aspects of the being-in-the-world of the interpreted individual(s) are explicated. The resulting understanding - hermeneutical understanding - is from an existential point of view often experienced as a meeting with something vivid and vital, as was the case with the experience of hand-writing presented in the introduction. This understanding implies a unification of knowledge and experience. As interpreters, we experience a relatedness to what we are interpreting in that we discover that we have one important thing in common with the interpreted individual(s), namely a lived relation with different life conditions, although the conditions are not the same for us. The process of interpretation can be described by the help of the model in Figure 1.
The process of interpretation often starts with an immediate understanding, which often discloses itself to be false and therefore provokes the interpreter to analyze his/her material more deeply and learn more about the context of the object under study. The first phase of the model can include the reconstruction of facts, life conditions, meaning of words and the intentions of one or more individuals. The form of interpretation which is applied can be called rational interpretation and the corresponding form of understanding rational understanding. A special form of this interpretation is good-reason-assay, the testing of the rational for human actions by relating the actions with their motives.
In the second phase we try to clarify the meaning of the research object in its relation to its situational context and also try to structure the facts and find patterns in the material. This mainly is an intellectual-cognitive enterprise which leads to structural understanding by the means of structural interpretation. In the final stage - which is characterized as divinatory/phenomenological - we try to re-create the existential world of the interpreted individual(s). The phase is called divinatory - the term was used by Schleiermacher - because it includes an important factor of guessing. It is phenomenological in the sense that it implies an attempt to view the reconstructed life conditions from the viewpoint of the interpreted individual(s), at the same time as the interpreter tries to bracket his own life conditions and pre-understandings regarding him- or herself. We can talk here about a hermeneutical understanding, which can be reached by the help of existential interpretation. Hans-Georg Gadamer uses the concept of "horizon" in order to describe this process. He means that when interpreting we try to transpose ourselves into the situation of the interpreted phenomenon and try to acquire the horizon of the individual(s) in focus. But our own horizon is also present in this process - even if bracketed - and the goal of hermeneutics according to Gadamer therefore is to establish a fusion of horizons.
Explanation and understanding - in the meaning that Paul Ricoeur uses those concepts - play different parts in the three phases. In the introductory phase explanation exceeds understanding, while in the second phase the two are equally important. In the third phase, however, understanding plays the dominant role.
In this process, the explanatory phase in the beginning builds a bridge between the first naive understanding and the hermeneutical understanding, a hermeneutical arch as Ricoeur puts it. It lays the ground for an appropriation of the meaning of the interpretational object, which is the dialectical counterpart to the critical distanciation in the explanatory phase. The research objects become a part of the interpreter's own world, thereby revealing a potential style of life, which the interpreter can integrate with himself. The process of interpretation according to the model above is illustrated by an example from the sorcery trials in Stockholm during the 1670's.
Per-Johan Ödman, Department of Education, Stockholm Institute of Education, Box 34 103, S-100 26 Stockholm, Sweden
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