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To be a folk high school teacher
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. (Vuxenpedagogik och folkbildning)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1194-9708
2014 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper concerns the work as a teacher, with a particular focus on one group of adult educators – the folk high school teachers. The aim is to describe and analyse their use of time, their conditions of work, and their needs of competence development. The folk high school is a typical Nordic institution for non-formal adult education, but educational research on the work of the folk high school teacher is limited, which motivates this explorative and mainly descriptive study.

A theoretical framework for what is typical for a profession is used to analyse the professional development and possible professionalization among folk high school teachers. The interpretative analysis is based on descriptive quantitative data from one survey answered by 1,344 active teachers, and from a study of time use during one week among 94 teachers. The quantitative data are supported by qualitative data from interviews with 15 headmasters and two follow-up focus-group interviews with totally 15 teachers.

The study shows that the professional freedom is important for the teachers, but the other side of the coin is the work load which is partly a result of this freedom. The experience of high work load is confirmed by the study of time use, which shows that the full-time employed teachers in the study spent on an average 49 hours at their work during one week. (45 hours would be the expected time spent according to a normal working-hours agreement for this group.) Every eighth woman and every tenth man in the time use study spent more than 60 hours on work activities during one week. In addition to this high level of involvement in their work in terms of time, the teachers also express a high level of involvement in the students’ development. For example, the area where teachers express the highest need of competence development concerns the ability to identify and support students with special needs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
folk high school teacher, time use, conditions of work, competence needs
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105085OAI: diva2:703482
42nd NERA Congress, Lillehammer March 5-7, 2014
Available from: 2014-03-07 Created: 2014-03-07 Last updated: 2014-03-07

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Andersson, Per
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Education and Adult Learning

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