Views of poetry as a competence expressed by students in teacher education

Katharina Dahlbäck, Anna Lyngfelt, Viktoria Bengtsdotter Katz



Since 2011 the Swedish curriculum has been oriented towards creating knowledge at school that is measurable and evidence-based. At the same time, there is still an overarching aim for education at school to stress equality by, among other things, letting all students use languages of their own to express themselves. This conflict, between knowledge that is measurable and goals aiming at maintaining democracy, also characterizes teacher education in Sweden. Hence, there are reasons to discuss the role of aesthetics at school by focusing on students’ views of the role of poetry in education. We present qualitative data consisting of interviews with eight student teachers being educated to work in primary school. In this way, a variety of conceptions of poetry, and the role of poetry at school, are captured and analyzed, which in turn, makes it possible to discuss what counts as a competence at school. The results show that lack of knowledge about aesthetic expressions limits the student teachers’ agency in several ways. They express a lack of self-confidence and they are afraid of being trapped by the school system in spite of their aspirations to work independently with poetry and other aesthetic expressions


aesthetic expressions; poetry for language development; competence; democracy through language development; teacher education; Swedish comprehensive school

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