Vem ansvarar för matematiken?
: en studie om arbetsuppgifter och samarbete gällande elever i matematiska svårigheter

Translated title of the thesis: Who is responsible for the mathematics?: a study about tasks and cooperation regarding pupils with difficulties in mathematics
  • Susanne Johansson
  • Markus Anhage

Student thesis: Master, one year


There’s still some research missing on how the collaboration between special education teachers and special educators may work in mathematics when both professions are present at a school. The purpose of this study is to contribute with knowledge on what factors control the tasks of special education teachers and special educators concerning mathematics on a school with both professions represented. Another purpose is to investigate how support for pupils with difficulties in mathematics are formed.

The study has a qualitative approach where semi-structured interviews have been made with 14 different people including, special education teachers, special educators, teachers and principals. The study is based on Abbott’s theory of professions with three arenas, the legal arena, the public arena and the informational arena. The legal arena’s about juridical rules. The public arena’s about the public’s view on the professions. Finally, the informational arena’s about work tasks on the workplace. This study has also been analyzed in relational and categorical perspectives regarding supportive actions for pupils with difficulties in mathematics.

The results show that on some schools there’s a process of fusing the professions into one, which means they perform the same tasks. At the same time on other schools there’s a process of fission where the professions perform different tasks from one another. However, the special education teacher’s tasks are more clear than the special educator’s. The professions are expected to be flexible because the needs may change. At the same time the professions are expected to perform unrealistic tasks by the teachers. In the collaboration the two professions can use each other as a sounding board and the tasks are delegated to whoever has the right competence, i.e. the one with mathematical competence will get mathematical tasks etc. The profession with mathematical competence tends to become alone in pure mathematical problems. The collaboration is also affected by space, time and field of responsibility. The professions agree that mathematical support should be received primarily in the classroom.

We consider that the school law is driving the process of fusion while the degree is driving the process of fission. Should the special education teacher in mathematics work with Swedish? Should both the special education teacher and special educator tutor? Who is responsible for mathematics? Because of the process of fusion it’s important that the professions talk to the principals about working tasks. 

Date of Award2020-Mar-03
Original languageSwedish
SupervisorCecilia Segerby (Supervisor) & Carin Roos (Examiner)

Educational program

  • Special Education Teacher Programme

University credits

  • 15 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogy (50301)


  • cooperation
  • mathematical difficulties
  • special education teacher
  • special educator
  • task assignment

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