Agents in the classroom? An ethnographic study of teachers' and students' perceived challenges and employed strategies in the Swedish for immigrants education
Syfte: The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of students’ and teachers’ perceived challenges resulting from the implementation of policy in the naturalistic framework of an SFI (Swedish for immigrants) classroom. Furthermore, the study aims at identifying strategies employed by students and teachers in order to overcome the perceived challenging conditions. Teori: Concepts from Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory in relation to second language acquisition are used. In addition critical approaches to second language learning and insights from intercultural education are employed to facilitate the interpretation of the findings. Metod: An ethnographic approach is adopted for the creation of data, consisting of participant observation field notes and interview transcripts. Resultat: With regard to the perceived challenges, the interpretation of the findings has identified three categories which account for problematic instances resulting from the implementation of policy: The enrollment and placement process, contradicting demands between the curriculum and the municipal policy, and dealing with diversity. It is argued that the informants experience feelings of helplessness and loss of control over their own situation. Concerning the strategies employed in order to overcome the perceived challenges, it is argued that students and teachers engage in activities which promote the exertion of agency and help them to regain control. The study concludes that although the particular education is implemented within a strict policy framework, instances which allow the exertion of agency are at the disposal of the participants. Nevertheless, more systematic approaches are necessary to facilitate the realization of such initiatives.