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In recent years, the number of different course books focused on school-age educare available for undergraduates in teacher education programs for primary school has increased. Thus studying what particular version of school-age educare is legitimized in this discursive practice and how this is done rhetorically becomes pertinent. This article examines and illuminates how this course literature – used at several universities in Sweden – stages a certain way of speaking about school-age educare and thereby may ascribe teachers and children specific subject positions. The study shows how recurrent ideological dilemmas are used as linguistic resources to manage some constantly present contradictions: school-age educare is supposed to be both democratic and child centered, as well as professionally planned and lead. The findings illuminate a homogenous depiction of how school-age educare is distinguished from traditional and formal schooling and thereby promoted as a unique but also necessary form of education. As a consequence, an ideal teacher is someone who is specialized in being actively passive and passively active, and an expert on children’s learning while children are considered experts on themselves and in the activities as well. That is, teacher’s professionalism in educare is tied to the skill of not being formal and school-like, but still being educational in a way that promotes politically-approved learning and development.
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