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System work in the Pedagogical-Psychological Service

The purpose of the Ph.D. work of Joachim Kolnes is to highlight a new knowledge-based approach for the Educational-Psychological Service's system-oriented expertise work that is based on the objective of inclusive special education.

System work has become a key term in both politics as well as in the Educational-Psychological Service's (PPT's) understanding of its own competence and work methodology. The problem addressed in this Ph.D. project is the fact that a strong emphasis on the individual still seems to characterise the expertise work of the Educational-Psychological Service and how this limits the Educational-Psychological Service's contribution to the development of good learning environments for special needs students in school.

In this context, system work is understood to constitute an integrated element of the expertise work and thus use of the term “system-oriented expertise work”. There are currently no common guidelines, plans, instructions or understanding for how the counsellors of the Educational-Psychological Service are supposed to handle their role based on this unified understanding of the mandate stipulated in the Education Act. This study will try to the address the need for knowledge by taking a closer look at the following issue:

How may the system perspective be safeguarded in the expertise work of the Educational-Psychological Service?

The theoretical framework is comprised of implementation theory together with an ecological perspective on the Educational-Psychological Service's counselling services in school. The study will have an explorative design and make use of both qualitative research interviews and Q methodology. The study has a three-tiered structure:

Results from part 1 of the study will be used to establish an empirical basis for the development of a theoretical intervention model for part 2 of the study. Results from the testing of the theoretical intervention model in part 2 of the study, will then be used as a basis for an implementation trial in part 3 of the study.

Joachim Kolnes is an employee of Porsgrunn Educational-Psychological Service and enrolled in a government sector Ph.D. programme. Through the Offentlig sektor ph.d.-ordningen (Government Sector Ph.D. Scheme), public enterprises may apply for grants from the Norwegian Research Council for enrolling employees in doctoral programmes. The Ph.D. in question must be of relevance for the public enterprise's area of responsibility. The candidate for a doctorate must be affiliated with an educational institution. Kolnes is enrolled at the University of Stavanger, and his counsellors are employees of the Centre for Learning Environment. 

Joachim Kolnes. Photo: private.

Joachim Kolnes. Photo: private.