Samira Hajjouji Hennius

Doktorsavhandling, 2014
Akademin för utbildning, kultur och kommunikation, Mälardalens högskola

I den här avhandlingen undersöks möjliga förutsättningar och hinder för deliberativa samtal i ett språkligt och kulturellt heterogent klassrum där vuxna studenter från olika håll i världen utför gemensamma skrivuppgifter i smågrupper inom undervisning i svenska som andraspråk på högskolenivå.


In the light of the twofold mission of Swedish schools, that is to say enabling pupils to develop both subject knowledge and a democratic attitude, the purpose of this thesis is to investigate to what extent adult higher education students from different language and social backgrounds, studying Swedish as a second language, are able to carry out joint writing assignments with the aid of deliberative discourse, and to what extent they thereby also develop a deliberative attitude. The twofold mission of education applies to them too. While there already exists a certain amount of research into deliberative discourse relating to education in schools, the perspective of higher education didactics in this research is still lacking. The present study is to be viewed as a first contribution to this research.

The theoretical starting point of this study includes previous research into deliberative discourse by further developing an existing model regarding criteria for deliberative discourse, for example that there is a striving towards agreement, although the consensus may be temporary, that diverging opinions can be set against each other, that tolerance and respect for views other than one’s own are shown, and that traditional outlooks can be questioned. This model is supplemented by designations for a number of disruptive behaviours, such as ridiculing, ignoring, interrupting people and engaging in private conversations. The thus further developed model will thereafter act as a lens in the analysis of students’ discussions when writing joint texts. Another theoretical starting point is the view of education as communication, and of the possibility of communication creating a third place, thereby developing democracy in the here and now-situation.

For this study, comprising 18 hours of observation of nine students, that is to say the discussions of three groups in connection with writing texts on different occasions, various ethnographic data collection methods have been employed, for example video recordings, participant observations, field notes and interviews in conjunction with the discussions.

The analysis clarifies that the three groups developed their deliberation as the discussions about the joint assignment proceeded, and that most of the nine students furthermore expressed at least an openness towards a deliberative attitude for further discussions in the future. The disruptive behaviours mentioned in connection with the analytical model that could be identified in the discussions, for example interruptions and private conversations, proved not to constitute real disturbances; on the contrary they actually contributed towards the discussions developing, enabling them to continue. On the other hand, other and not previously identified disturbances occurred, for example a focus on grades, the lack of time and lacking language ability, which all in different ways affected the students' attitudes towards their work. For any future didactical work on deliberative discourse in Swedish as a second language within higher education, these disturbances would need to be highlighted and made aware of for both teachers and students.