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ERIC Number: EJ903471
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 59
ISSN: ISSN-1938-9809
Bildung--Then and Now in Danish High School and University Teaching and How to Integrate Bildung into Modern University Teaching
Olesen, Mogens Noergaard
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2010 n2 2010
In the history of mankind three important philosophical and scientific revolutions have taken place. The first of these revolutions was the mathematical-axiomatic revolution in ancient Greece, when the philosophers from Thales of Miletus to Archimedes built up the abstract deductive method used in pure mathematics. The second took place in the Renaissance when the experimental-inductive method was introduced by the British philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) and the Italian physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). This method was fully completed to the hypothetical-deductive method by the English mathematician and physicist Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in his famous book "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica" from 1687 and extended to other natural sciences by several researchers such as the naturalists Niels Stensen (1638-1686) from Denmark, John Ray (1627-1705) from England, and Carl von Linne (1707-1778) from Sweden (Curtler 2003, Huxley [21] 2007). The third philosophical and scientific revolution was a consequence of the Enlightenment period in the 18th century. It is, what we might call, the educational revolution where new didactic and pedagogical means and aims were introduced in primarily higher education. This revolution took place in the first half of the 19th century and it still has a remarkable impact on high school and university teaching in many countries. The main ingredient of the educational revolution was the concept of "Bildung" which was originally introduced by several German philosophers especially Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) (Kant [26] 1784, [27] 1787, [28] 1788, [29] 1790, [30] 1798, and [31] 1803) and the Prussian philologist, lawyer, and politician Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) (Humboldt 1792, Bohlin [1] 2008). In Denmark "Bildung" is called "Dannelse", in Sweden they say "Bildning" but in English there is no specific word for this concept. 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. In this paper we, first of all, will try to find a useful and definite definition of Bildung and we will consider Bildung as a pedagogical and didactic principle that has had a strong influence on teaching at high schools and universities during the last 200 years. From 1810 "Bildung" was a key concept in German university teaching and education 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 [22] 1876, Jaspers 1923, 1946). Also in Denmark and the other Nordic countries Bildung has played a very central role in high school and university teaching since the middle of the 19th century. Bildung as a didactic principle and useful educational tool was fully introduced in Denmark in 1848 where the great Danish philologist Nicolai Madvig (1804-1886) accomplished an extensive reform of the teaching at the University of Copenhagen. The faculties were reorganized and new disciplines such as economics were introduced. (Korsgaard 2004, Boserup 1992, Christensen [4] and [5] 2009, Krarup 1955, Petersen [52] 1993, Slagstad 2003, Oersted 1850). During many years Bildung was a quite natural educational principle and also an aim on itself the all high school and university teaching not only in Denmark, Norway and Sweden but also in most western countries. However, after 1970 the classical concept of Bildung was weakened as a didactic and pedagogical principle, first slowly but since 2000 with a much faster speed, such that Bildung, in most high school and university teaching, didn't play a central role any longer, neither in Denmark nor in many other countries, especially in other the Scandinavian countries. The main reason for this development is that the syllabuses and the teaching levels were decreased considerably to get more students to graduate from high schools and universities. It was pointed out from the teaching authorities that for economical reasons students had to graduate faster than they had done previously and that the usual academic level was superfluous for most students. The result of this non academic attitude was a mass production of students and candidates with poor and fragmented knowledge (Lars Lovie [55] 2003, Olesen [42] 2007, Olesen [43], [44], and [45] 2008, Olesen [46], [47], and [48] 2009). Also, both in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the drop-out rates and the rates of failure at the universities were increasing in a disastrous way (Olesen [43], [44], and [45] 2008, Olesen [46], 47], and [48] 2009). However, changing the basic university teaching of mathematics at The Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen since 2008, such that elements of Bildung were incorporated into the lectures, a remarkable impact was observed. The rate of failure dropped considerably and the students became more engaged and obtained a better ability to do their studies and to work concentrated on their own (Olesen [43], [44], and [45] 2008, Olesen [46], 47], and [48] 2009). In this paper, after having looked at the historical development, we will concentrate on new ways in which Bildung might be developed and how Bildung might work in modern university teaching in the near future.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Denmark