Project work, independence and critical thinking

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    This thesis studies how students do projects in a Swedish upper secondaryschool. The students have to produce products and at the same time provethem self as independent in relation to the teachers, and negotiate therequirements of the project setting and the written instructions within thegroup. The study focuses on what comes out as problematic for the students,how they solve these dilemma situations and what resources are used in orderto do so.A choice was made only to analyse student group interaction in parts ofthe project process where the teachers were not physically present thus fillinga research gap.The empirical material was collected during three years in sex secondaryschool classes through filmed sessions of groups or pairs working with theirproject.Each of the four articles primarily focuses a special dilemma; structure,independence, instructions and critical thinking. By combining Goffman’sframe analysis with the concepts of risk and uncertainty from a Risk – societyperspective, issues related to what it means to do project work asindependent, critical 21st-century learner are illustrated and discussed.The choice to look only at situations in which students have to managewithout the aid of a physically present teacher illuminates several practicalconsequences like an unwillingness to go to the teacher and ask questions andan increased concentration on and interpretation of the written instructions. Adevelopment of Miller and Parlett’s (1974) discussion of student approach tocues are suggested. The concept of the cue choosing student are constructedin order to better respond to demands from an individualised interactionsociety. The study also emphasises how the students have to balance differentframeworks in order to be both authors and assessed students. Byimplementing a risk society perspective new ways of analysing andunderstanding independence and classroom interaction is suggested and arecontextualization of critical thinking proposed.

    Original languageEnglish
    • Ottosson, Torgny, Supervisor
    • Nilsson, Lars-Erik, Supervisor
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Pedagogy (50301)


    • critical thinking
    • frame analysis
    • goffman
    • independence
    • individualisation
    • project work
    • risk
    • risk-society
    • uncertainty


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