”Pedagogisk handledning i tanke och handling – en studie av handledares lärande”.

Nordström, E.Å.
Avhandling. Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik. Stockholm: Stockholms universitet.


The purpose of the dissertation is to examine how preschool teachers who have completed a course on how to be a supervisor at the Stockholm Institute of Education have developed their supervisory skills in the course of a five-year period. The dissertation consists of two studies that examine the following:

a) What kind of learning do the supervisors experience?

b) What conditions are important with regard to supervision interviews and the supervisors’ learning?

c) What interview patterns can be identified in the supervision sessions, and how are these patterns reflected in the supervisors’ learning and skills?


The first study shows that the conditions and context in which the supervision situations take place affect the supervisors’ ability to steer the supervision interviews. Moreover, the study shows that interview patterns evolve in the course of a series of supervision sessions. These patterns can be described on the basis of three different focus areas: the type of interview, the content of the interview, and how the interview develops. On the basis of these three focus areas, four fundamental interview patterns evolved that are referred to as confirmation, consolidation, visibility and knowledge creation. Which of the four different interview patterns that materialises depends on the supervisors' skills with regard the interview pattern in question, on the type of questions asked, and on how these questions are received.


The second study identifies the supervisors’ own learning with regard to question technique, listening, and the importance of ensuring that everyone is heard, as well as the importance of the supervisor challenging the thoughts expressed by the group members.


In the study, the learning of the ten supervisors was categorised, reflecting the following three different interview patterns:


1)   Four supervisors have developed a critical approach to themselves, their thoughts and their conduct in connection with the supervision interviews. These supervisors steer the interviews in a way that involves all the group members and makes their thoughts visible to one another.


2)   Four other supervisors have also developed a critical approach to themselves and their style of supervision. These supervisors steer the interviews by including examples from their own pedagogical experience, and share tips and ideas with the group.


3)   Two of the supervisors reflect on specific situations, implementations, and on how to best steer the interview. They carefully prepare for the interview with regard to what issues the interview is to address and what questions they will ask. The supervisors steer the interview by acknowledging input from participants and often include their own experiences.


The supervisors have very different supervision styles, and the study points to several reasons for this: habits, lack of understanding of the purpose of the supervision, and different experiences among the supervisors with regard to supervision.



Two studies were carried out with a five-year gap between them. Empirical material for the two studies was collected in two rounds:


1) In the period 1994-2000, the Stockholm Institute of Education offered education programmes in pedagogical supervision. A total of 20 participants were randomly selected from the last four courses offered under this programme to participate in the study. The analysis in the first study is based on essays from the 20 participants. The essays include their reflections on and examples of different types of supervision interview.


2) The second study was conducted approximately five years after the first study. In total, 10 participants participated in both studies. The data material consists of interviews conducted before a supervision interview, supervision interviews saved as audio files, written reflections made immediately after the supervision interview, and interviews with supervisors after the supervision interview. In the interviews, the supervisors were asked about the strategies and tools they use, and what they believe are opportunities and challenges when providing pedagogical supervision.


The analyses focus on reflection levels, supervisor traditions, interview patterns, own learning, and development of supervisor skills.



Nordström, E.Å. (2014). ”Pedagogisk handledning i tanke och handling – en studie av handledares lärande”. Avhandling. Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik. Stockholm: Stockholms universitet.

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