We Need Opportunities and Learning Environments for All
Eva Hjörne is an expert when it comes to diversity and inclusion. She has recently been appointed Professor II at the Department of Special Needs Education. Eva also holds a professor title at the Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg. We asked about her research interests, current work and motivation.
Schools require institutional adjustments
Eva Hjörne has always been interested in how the school acts in relation to pupils who have difficulties in adapting to life at school and whose interests the schools have to serve. She believes that schools have to develop certain institutional practices in response to such demands in order to prevent school failure and to be able to handle various dilemmas.
— Thus, my research interests include the analysis of institutional discourse, processes of inclusion, marginalization and mediated action, with a special focus on categorization and the identity formation of pupils in school, both in policy and practice.
Focus on inclusive school system
Eva's research interests have more specificly developed from studying categorizing practices within the pupil health team at school, drawing from a sociocultural and interactional perspectives in the analysis, to include ethnomethodological analysis of the local school activities in classrooms and the formation of particular pupil identities.
— My present research also includes analysis of administrative data and statistics in order to do international comparative analysis of policy and practices of an inclusive school system.
Hjörne is currently involved in three research projects focusing on health promotion and inclusion in the school system. Two of them, namely "Pupil health in practice - preventing problems and accomplishing good care and support" and "Participation for all? - School and post-school pathways of young people with functional disabilities" are funded by Swedish Research Council. The title of the third project is "Health promoting school development". It receives funding from Swedish National Agency for Education.
Inspired by the surrounding society
Eva has an extensive collaboration with researchers at other universities, both in Sweden and outside, through research projects, network, publications, conferences, symposia etc. She also works with actors in the society outside the Academia through commissioned research, external courses and lecturing.
— Ideas and inspiration for my research projects usually come from colleagues in network meetings or from the field and the surrounding society.
It is about creating opportunities
The challenges in the research field are immense given all the alarm reports that mental illness is increasing and more and more young people are not achieving their goals at school. It is therefore primarily about creating opportunities and learning environments where all children and young people could do well at school and feel fine at the same time.