The Origin of Special Education

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Ahlström, Karl-Georg (2011)
  • Publisher: Education Inquiry
  • Journal: Education Inquiry (issn: 2000-4508, eissn: 2000-4508)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/edui.v2i2.21972
  • Subject: grade repeating, slow learner, special education, teacher training

The article analyses the forces behind the establishment and expansion of special education within the Swedish elementary school between 1842, when schooling became compulsory, and the gradual introduction of the experimental comprehensive school in the 1950s. Around the turn of the century, special classes began to replace grade-repeating and other humiliating methods that also predestined backward pupils and pupils from poor families merely to occasional jobs in the future. The aim of giving remedial treatment in a quiet and comfortable environment to pupils with school difficulties was officially announced. Yet special education also had several more concealed aims. These are especially focused on here along with the role of the societal changes and technological development occurring in that period.Keywords: grade repeating, slow learner, special education, teacher training(Published: 1 June 2011)Citation: Education Inquiry Vol. 2, No. 2, May 2011, pp.179–192
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