Consultation in Special Needs Education in Rural Schools in Sweden– An Act of Collaboration between Educators

Gerd Pettersson, Kristina Strom

Abstract


The article attempts to shed light on how the expertise of special educators can be utilized in classroom teachers' professional development at rural schools with a diverse student body. The study focused on the educational consultations that took place between the two types of professionals, namely the special educators and the classroom teachers, at three rural schools in three communities in northern Sweden. The special educators did not work at the schools. Rather, they worked at Community centers and ran the consultation with the aid of ICT or when they visited the schools. The multiple-case study describes and analyzes the a) context for consultation, b) how consultation is used to support the teachers, and c) the consultation strategies. The data collection methods were observations, interviews, and questionnaires. After the interviews were transcribed, the data were analyzed by thematic content analysis. The results show that the consultations were based on students’ needs, but the consultations focused on the learning environment more than on individual shortcomings. The two professionals collaborated and shared their professional expertise across professional boundaries. This boundary-crossing professional collaboration seems to deepen the consultation between the two professionals and enable them to work together to create a learning environment that supports all pupils.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jet.v4i1.10422

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