More power to teachers is the recipe for better education

There is good awareness about the situation in education. Many proposals have been put forward to return Swedish education to its top position internationally. More influence for the teaching profession could be one solution.

The situation in education and the cause of the declining school results was a hot topic at one of IVA’s seminars in Almedal.

Torkel Klingberg is a professor of cognitive neuroscience. In his research he focuses on the best ways for young children to learn maths.

“It’s a lot about attitude. Simply put, they need to have a fighting spirit like those  who want to be good at football or who’ve set their sights on becoming a concert pianist. Unfortunately, it’s not like that at school,” he said.

Torkel Klingberg’s findings are now in an online app for maths training, which he says is used by 100,000 pupils.

Teacher education could be one of the reasons for the poor school results. This was the assertion of Per Kornhall, a researcher and expert on the subject.

“Practical information about how to teach has been removed from teacher education programmes and there has been no empirical research in education,” he said.

The people who know something about how to teach are the teachers. Per Kornhall therefore thinks that the teachers must be given more power at several levels.

“But this requires political decisions.”

There are, of course, some successful schools in Sweden. According to Per Kornhall, those schools have total class instruction and teachers who work together to develop lesson plans.

Lena Hallengren (S), Chair of the Riksdag’s Committee on Education, does not think that teacher education needs a complete overhaul, but that time and opportunities for collective learning are needed.

“It’s important not to go for the quick solutions in education,” she said.

Betty Malmberg (M) is a member of the Riksdag’s Committee on Education. She finds the idea of the profession – the teachers – having more control interesting.

“Teacher leadership is important. It’s also important to set high standards for the pupils,” she said