1 1University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies (SWEDEN)
2 2University West, School of Business, Economics, and IT (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 5579-5588
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.1205
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The current study has been formulated in cooperation between researchers and school administrators in a rural Swedish municipality, based on their concern that there is a large and growing gender gap in school results. Several attempts had previously been tried out over the years, but the grade gap was consistent. The need for more exhaustive methods was therefore called for. To generate knowledge of how to change the situation, researcher and school professionals have worked together to create locally anchored models to deal with the gender gap in grades. The study was designed in accordance with Activity Theory and the theoretically ingrained intervention methodology Change Laboratory. In total, six Change Laboratories were designed, including all schools and school professionals in the municipality. This paper is a report from Change Laboratory number three. The core ideas of the Change Laboratory concern professional empowerment and professionally driven model development for improvement not experienced before with the assumption that change is also possible at the systemic level when working together. The participants were all school professionals who work with students in grades 7–9 in the participating school. Nine sessions were held during the Change Laboratory over a nine-week period. Each session had a duration of two hours with in general 16 participants each time. Each session was videotaped for later analysis. Results from the conducted Change Laboratory suggest that the participants became increasingly aware of the contradictions that permeate their everyday professional practice where they try to balance collegiality on the one hand and individual professional ideas on the other. These contradictions became both a trigger for change but also a trigger for increased resistance to change. Based on the results we suggest that Change Laboratory serves as a method for identifying underlying values and ideas that hinder the expressed intended change in the gender grade gap in unexpected ways. Such identified contradictions become triggers for further professional decisions regarding linking systemic conditions with local prerequisites. We conclude that Change Laboratory can serve as a method for work-integrated learning despite its high demands on all involved parties.
Activity theory, expansive learning, Change Laboratory, school professionals, work integrated learning