Analysing and preventing school failure: Exploring the role of multi-professionality in pupil health team meetings
International Journal of Educational Research Volume 63, Number 1, ISSN 0883-0355 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
In many areas, expertise is becoming increasingly specialized and distributed between professionals. In response to this development, institutions have to organize inter-professional collaboration in order to be able to provide services required. In this study, we explore issues that concern multidisciplinary collaboration in pupil health teams in schools. The task of the team is to interpret and solve school problems. Team members have different professional backgrounds (teacher, psychologist, school-nurse, etc.), and this variety of expertise is expected to add to the quality of decision-making and problem-solving. The empirical question guiding the research is to what extent such multidisciplinarity is visible in the work, and what the benefits may be. The analysis is based on micro-ethnographic work, including audio-recordings. The results show that the meetings are highly routinized, and that it is very difficult to find occasions where the various types of expertise represented by the participating professionals are made relevant. On the contrary, the discussion is co-ordinated on the assumption that the difficulties can be placed within the individual child. Important factors contributing to the persistence of this mode of reasoning is the collegial nature of the meeting, the dominance of a diagnostic culture, and strong institutional traditions of individualizing school failure. Multiprofessional collaboration does not seem to promote alternative ideas or outcomes.
Hjörne, E. & Säljö, R. (2014). Analysing and preventing school failure: Exploring the role of multi-professionality in pupil health team meetings. International Journal of Educational Research, 63(1), 5-14. Elsevier Ltd.