• Mads Rokkjær Hammer
  • Lise Lundsgaard Christensen
4. term, Master of Learning Processes (Continuing education) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))
The educational system in Denmark has been greatly influenced by the Danish “højskoler” and “efterskoler”. These still exist alongside the public schools and are based on the beliefs about the school system of Christen Kold and Nikolaj Severin Grundtvig in the late 1800’s. According to Kold and Grundtvig, children and teachers should live and work together at the school, and the teaching should be oriented towards the child. In the beginning of the 20th Century this child centered perspective was also embraced by a movement of progressive educational awareness. After a period of traditional teaching in the 60’s, these progressive thoughts about education once again became an important part of Danish education in the 70’s. Due to this tradition, “dannelse” has played a major part in teaching and in the public perception of education in Denmark. “Dannelse” is the Danish term for the German word “Bildung”.

In the following years the educational system has been subdued in comparison with the school systems of other countries, which have been more focused on the importance of obtained knowledge and skills. Danish school politics from the beginning of the millennium became a part of a global school effectiveness movement, supported by transnational organizations such as OECD. This has largely been inspired by curriculum-based school systems in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and led to a shift in Danish school politics that introduced the term “målstyret undervisning” as well as a focus on evaluation and tests. The goal was to ensure improved skills through evidence-based methods, but as it turned out, this did not happen, and the term “målstyret undervisning” has been widely criticized and politically abandoned.

“Dannelse” being a part of the Danish culture and school tradition is once again being mentioned, but the question is how to proceed from here. Twenty years has passed, and the world is not the same, leading to a change in focus that the teaching will reflect. The Dutch educational thinker Gert Biesta expresses a profound critique of the transnational agenda of curriculum-based education and suggests a world centred approach including the term subjectification as the predominant concept. This is described in his books Letting Art Teach and World-centred education. A View for the Present.

This project aims to explore:

What significance concerning “dannelse” and teaching might Gert Biestas’ term subjectification have towards a new understanding of the concept of “dannelse”, and which challenges will be connected to using the concept in general school classes?

Our approach incorporates mixed methods. The first part of the project will be an investigation of the subjectification as dannelse/Bildung through a document study based on philosophical research. Gert Biesta does not himself describe subjectification as part of the German tradition of Bildung, but by including Wolfgang Klafkis’ analysis of different types of bildung-traditions and his thoughts on categorical formation, we can connect the concept of subjectification to dannelse. We also include the German sociologist Andreas Reckwitz’ social and cultural theory about the society of singularities, in order to present an explanation for the global changes during the last decades.

The second part of the project is a qualitative based research study. We act as teacher researchers in an experimental approach to connecting subjectification and the use of existing art works in our own classrooms. Our data is gathered through ethnographical methods in four different lessons, which in our study are considered cases. Two of them were Danish lessons in a class of students in the age of 14-15. The other two were history lessons in a class of adult students attending only one or a few different classes. In experimenting towards making room for subjectification, we focused on Biestas’ didactical terms interruption, suspension and sustenance. Our findings were that it is possible to teach in a way that makes room for subjectification and that including artwork is one way to approach the world-centered education.
SpecialisationDidactics and Professionalisation
Publication date24 May 2023
Number of pages54
ID: 530885851