Pupil influence in Swedish compulsory schools, a way of 'learning' and 'living' democracy

Göran Bostedt, Linda Eriksson, Education in the North

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The aim of this article is to describe and analyse pupil influence in four Swedish schools. This is done against the backdrop of the changes that have been made in the Swedish curriculum for compulsory school as well as theoretical perspectives on democracy and power. The article is based on empirical findings from four compulsory schools in two municipalities in northern Sweden. The material was collected through semi-structured focus group interviews and the scanning of documentation from the schools. Although the Swedish Education Act stipulates that activities in the school must be designed in accordance with fundamental democratic values, many Swedish schools have difficulties working with issues of pupil influence. The conclusions of this study are that a proactive attitude among teachers towards the participation, engagement and motivation of pupils is an important element in a didactics that furthers both the democratic goals and the knowledge goals of the school. It is furthermore important that teachers have a theoretical and practical understanding of democracy and reflect on their views concerning democracy in the implementation of their teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-91
Number of pages13
JournalEducation in the North
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020


  • Democracy
  • policy change
  • power
  • Pupil influence


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