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Research projects

Respect in contemporary Swedish schools

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Sam Paldanius

Research subject

Swedish education and training are constantly under discussion, sometimes initiated by teachers' unions, political parties and sometimes scholars or journalists in the media. One of the keywords that have come to be discussed during the late 2000s is respect. The word respect in policy documents typically denotes a good relationship between teachers and pupils but in research and debates it often denotes, that which deviates from an ideal respectful relationship. In articles from leading Swedish newspapers, pupils are often described to lack respect for schoolteachers and their fellow students. The international research on respect in school settings has mainly focused on pupils’ disrespect and respect as a means of conflict resolution. The Swedish educational research has few contributions on the concept of respect. The former government gave a proposition that stated that the Swedish school needs teachers with more authority and more lectern teaching. These measures are viewed as means to enhance the quality of education and to solve problems in order classrooms. We believe that part of the case concerns the respect and perhaps specifically respect for authority. A review of the relatively one-sided debate about disrespect in schools and its proposed solution shows a need for more knowledge about what respect in school practices is, how it is created and how it affects education in Swedish schools.

The overall aim of this small scale research project is to create knowledge about respect in Swedish schools today, in the didactic planning of teaching, the didactic situations in classrooms and more generally how respect and empirically phenomenon manifests itself in the interaction between teachers and students.


Research funding bodies

  • Örebro University