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ERIC Number: EJ864813
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-1938-9809
Bildung as a Powerful Tool in Modern University Teaching
Olesen, Mogens Noergaard
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2009 n1 2009
In this paper we will demonstrate how powerful "Bildung" is as a tool in modern university teaching. The concept of "Bildung" was originally introduced by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (Kant 1787, 1798, 1804) and the Prussian lawyer and politician Wilhelm von Humboldt (Humboldt 1792, Bohlin 2008). From 1810 "Bildung" was a key concept in German university teaching where the main purposes were to give the students: 1. advanced teaching based on research, 2. ability to carry out scientific research on their own, and 3. a large amount of scientific and philosophical knowledge within all academic disciplines such that they could act with dignity as members of the learned and academic society. (Flexner 1930, Huxley 1876, Jaspers 1923, 1946). "Bildung" was one of the most important reasons for German science to become leading in Europe in the 19th century (Petersen 1993), and in many other countries "Bildung" was introduced at the universities from around 1850. (Oersted 1850). In Denmark this happened in 1848 where the great philologist Nicolai Madvig accomplished an extensive reform of the teaching at the University of Copenhagen. The faculties were reorganized and new disciplines such as economics were introduced. Especially he established the new discipline "Philosophicum", a one year course in the most important philosophical items that was compulsory for all university students. (Petersen 1993, Slagstad 2003). In Denmark "Bildung" is called "Dannelse", in Sweden they say "Bildning" but in English there is no word for it. Although we (with full right) might use the nouns "Education" or "Enlightenment" for "Bildung" none of these words are fully covering the concept, so we choose to say "Bildung" also in an English text. University teaching where "Bildung" is a main ingredient requires many resources and long term studies such that the students have enough of time for intellectual reflection and contemplation. In the modern mass universities where it is a main purpose producing many candidates as quickly as possible the courses are often cut short and there is no time for deeper contemplation. In many cases there have even been set up an upper limit for the number courses the students are allowed to pass and it is obvious that "Bildung" more or less has disappeared as a tool in modern university teaching. But university teaching without "Bildung" is a poor mass production with no perspective and without the core elements that make the students become academics. At the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the teaching of mathematics has been changed since spring 2008 such that "Bildung" is brought into the lectures as a main ingredient with remarkable results. (Olesen (17) 2008). How this works and how "Bildung" has become a powerful tool in the teaching of mathematics is the theme of this paper.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Denmark