The Didactics of Teacher Education


by Kirsten Krogh-Jespersen,

Aarhus University College of Education,

Trøjborgvej 82,

DK-8200 Aarhus N,



Published in: Karsten Schnack (ed.) The Didactics of Teacher Education 3, in the series Didaktiske studier, Danmarks Lærerhøjskole 1993.



This article was originally addressed to teachers in Danish teacher education and thus takes its point of departure in contemporary Danish problems. In order to make it comprehensible in other countries certain changes have been made, and the following appendices have been added:


1) a survey of the Danish educational system in which attention is particularly drawn to the fact that the Danish "folkeskole" is an unstreamed 9-10-year comprehensive school,

2) a brief introduction to the 4-year Danish teacher education which educate teachers to teach over the whole range of the 9 or 10 year teaching programme, i.e. to age groups ranging from 6-7-year-olds to 15-16-year-olds. The Danish Colleges of Education are the only institutions which are authorized to provide courses, which qualifies for teaching posts in the Danish Folkeskole.


The article introduces in broad terms a number of didactical problems in teacher education and suggests ways of identifying and acting on them. The problems discussed both deserve and need further consideration and study. With a new teacher education act, new rules for hours of work for teachers in the Colleges, the deteriorating staff/student ratio resulting from financial constraints, and the education colleges' participation in in-service education for teachers and pedagogical development work, new demands and challenges have emerged and new problems created, but so, too, have new possibilities for developing the didactics of teacher education.

The biggest challenge, however, is not new. Teachers are often quoted as saying what they have learned about teaching and dealing with other problems connected with teaching, they have learned mainly through their practical work as school teachers and from life in general, and not to any particular extent thanks to their teacher education. 1)

This assertion is not sustainable. Teachers have learned much in their education, but some of it comes within the category of "hidden knowledge". It is a problem and a challenge to teacher education. We must become better at helping the students in their learning processes so that together with us they discover what they can do and what they know - and what they cannot do and do not know - when they leave the college. Teacher education must be and must be able to be identified as a starting point providing a teacher with qualifications for a lifelong career in teaching. 2)


There is reason to believe that Danish teacher education is better able to live up to this challenge than teacher education in many other countries. Contemporaneity in the study of all the subjects covered by teacher education, the perspective of professionalisation that is built into the entire course, together with the development of a special ‘education - college’ professionalism in the subjects to be taught, is a starting point providing qualifications for the further development of the didactics of teacher education with the above aim.


However, it is only recently, as a result of the new regulations governing working hours, that we as education college teachers have been enabled systematically to carry out research in teacher education. It has been an accepted part of the work of lecturers in teacher education in other countries. Let me quote examples of the challenges experienced and studied elsewhere, and discuss some of the results which might provide inspiration for us, even if our teacher education might perhaps be better than theirs.


For we must continue to aim consciously at developing a didactical method that can:


1. Challenge the students' understanding of developing, learning and teaching in general and in relation to specific professional learning processes and the organisation of teaching in various pedagogical contexts.


2. Make the study of pedagogical and didactical theory into an exemplary study of the complexity of pedagogical practice and of learning and teaching processes.


3. Maintain the triple perspective in the study of teaching subjects.


4. Understand teaching practice firstly as the starting point for critical reflection and secondly as offering an opportunity for practice.


In the following I shall try to enlarge on my understanding of these didactical dimensions in four main sections with the following titles:

1. Challenging students' prior understanding.

2. The study of pedagogical and didactic theory.

3. The triple perspective in the study of subjects taught.

4. Practical experience in teacher education.

Section 2 is the longest.

Challenging students' prior understanding


Students begin their teacher education with a conglomeration of more or less precisely formulated assumptions about how children develop, how "one learns" and what teaching "is".

The teaching in teacher education must challenge and help students to put this understanding into words and concepts, enable them to identify the experiences, explanations and interpretations upon which their prior knowledge is based, and to relate to it in a constructive and critical manner so as to achieve a degree of professionalisation.

Sharon Feiman-Nemser and Margret Buschmann (1986) argue that:


"In learning to teach, neither first hand experience nor university instruction can be left to work themselves out by themselves. Without help in examining current beliefs and assumptions, teacher candidates are likely to maintain conventional beliefs and incorporate new information or puzzling experiences into old frameworks".


Their research project consists of two case studies where by means of day-to-day interviews with students they sought to gain an understanding of the development of their pedagogical thinking over the first year of study in two different study programmes. One of the two emphasised the significance of didactic theory and specifically technical understanding as prerequisites for learning to teach (Academic Learning Programme), and took place mainly in the university. The other emphasised the significance of studying methods of teaching and making decisions on the basis of personal reflection (Decision-Making Programme), and was mainly carried out in the school.

The students' life stories and self understanding were incorporated into the interviews and interpretations. Space does not allow a fuller account of the authors' discussion of the results they arrived at, but I would point out that their conclusions as quoted do not suggest that it is possible, either on the basis of theory alone or simply through participation in practical teaching in the school, to influence the pedagogical thinking of the students. The hypothesis is that practical experience and theoretical studies should alternate, supported by guidance in reflection and critical attitudes. However, the authors maintain with a certain degree of caution that programmes based on practical teaching appear to promote an incipient professional development more than academic programmes.

Danish teacher education has always made use of alternation between theoretical studies and practical experience in the form of practical work in schools. I shall return to a further discussion of this later, and I shall also look at theoretical education and studies in teacher education as a starting point for a consideration of pedagogical practice and as the basis for the development of teaching competence. Here, I will merely point out that many education colleges in their curricula operate with some form of "confrontation" in which at a very early stage of their education the students are put into contact with children, teachers and schools. Such a start to studies gives the students the occasion to observe aspects of their own experience and their own prior understanding, and they are given the opportunity to discuss their experiences and ideas with primary school teachers, education college teachers and each other.

Similarly, it is customary for students in the course of their first year of study to seek to formulate their own memories of school. This can be done in various ways - through short stories, essays, systematic articles - and the point is that a task of this kind gives the students the opportunity to express themselves regarding their own experiences and their own understanding of children, teachers and school. Discussions of these recollections together with the concrete experiences deriving from their first encounter with practical teaching is a starting point for querying pedagogical ideas, which can be followed up by a methodical study of pedagogical concepts. Even during the first year of study such work leaves traces in the way in which students reflect on and discuss pedagogical practice both in teacher education and in schools.

Through systematic discussion with students towards the end of their first year of study, I have noticed the first signs of professionalisation in their pedagogical thinking. Moreover, the discussions lead on to further reflection on the part of the students. It is my experience that the students especially make use of the ideas they develop in adopting a critical attitude towards both their own study situation and teacher education. I see this as a fruitful first step to understanding the pedagogical practice implicit in teacher education as a constant and inexhaustible inspiration for reflections on pedagogical practice, and for the students' developing and understanding of learning processes, first and foremost their own.

I would insist on the necessity of and the perspective in the students' professionalising their pedagogical thinking and developing an understanding of didactical theory via teacher education. At the same time we must not overlook the significance of the fact that through their education the students can also retain their "hands on" experience of school, teachers and what it means to have been pupils. As Buchmann (1989) puts it in a discussion of whether and how teacher education can help students to break with earlier experiences and understanding:


"What seems plain is that, in assessing the call for breaks in teacher preparation, problems of principle and practice are entangled with one another. The question is not only `How far do you rub out or replace all that self-involved, pre-professional learning', but also `What of it has some value and, besides, cannot be acquired elsewhere - either now, or, possibly, ever?'


It is a question of finding ways to enable students to challenge conventions and myths without needing to repudiate their own background (or that of their family, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends). They must be given the possibility of developing pedagogical thinking and argumentation, and at the same time of maintaining the possibility of communicating with non-professionals.


The Study of Pedagogical and Didactic Theory


In most teacher education colleges, pedagogical, psychological and didactic theory is organised as a course of study in which the various theories can interact with each other to further the professionalisation of the students. At the same time the various frames of reference, the starting points in difference sciences and the different reasons for the theories being included in teacher education must be clear to the students.

Through the alternation of theoretical studies with reflections on practice, the challenge is to help the students to develop their teaching skills in the three fields formulated by Erling Lars Dale (1989): competence in pursuing a course of teaching, in planning and evaluating teaching, and in relating critically but constructively to their teaching in a political educational perspective.

The aim and justification of teacher education are concerned with providing qualified work in schools. One regularly hears arguments to the effect that teachers do not require teacher education, but need only to have studied the subjects they are to teach, or perhaps that a form of on-the-spot apprenticeship would be preferable. If in the long run we are to be able to withstand the pressure from such ideas, we must provide a education that incontrovertibly qualifies the students to teach as professionals, i.e. on the basis of didactic theory. This is the aim of the present course in teacher education. It could be better, but the principle of a course of study containing both practical and professional dimensions is rightly conceived.

In this presentation I shall first deal with the study of pedagogical and didactic theory, and shall then proceed in the next section to consider the manner of studying the subjects taught. This is because teacher education is structured in this way, while study practices (to some extent formulated in the syllabuses of some education colleges) to an increasing extent provide the necessary scope for integrating the two dimensions, as I shall seek to demonstrate in the next section.


We must know what we are doing

Teaching and study in pedagogical subjects must have a conscious didactic foundation which takes as its starting point our understanding of learning and teaching processes. The study of didactic theory must be in accordance with this didactic theory. This is not so simple as it sounds. Some of us must now and again accept that we act according to the saying: "Do as I say, but not as I do". With the financially determined deterioration of the staff/student ratio in teacher education we have been forced into a direction that nevertheless can turn out to be fruitful for developing a teacher education didactics focusing on the students' studies and seeing the tuition given by lecturers as an aspect of this - and not vice versa.


The keywords for such a didactics are:


that the students should be enabled to see sense and coherence in the theoretical contents of the pedagogical and didactic theme being studied - in relation to earlier experience, ideas and learning, to future areas of competence, aims and perspectives, and to subjects and subject areas in the course of study.


that the students should experience a broad spectrum of study forms, from listening, observing, discussing, formulating in writing and otherwise, experimenting, education in skills, studying theoretical presentations etc etc - individually and together with other students and teachers.


that the students should be encouraged and helped to reflect on their own and other students' learning and studying processes in various professional contexts and in the perspective of personal and professional development - in general and in relation to teaching in various subjects.


In pedagogical subjects we must first and foremost seek to live up to such a didactic challenge in relation to the contents and aims of the individual subjects. This work will, however, often be qualified by introducing subject matter and problems from other subjects being taught.

Danish teacher education puts a great number of relevant pedagogical, psychological and didactic theoretical presentations at our disposal. Simply to decide what students are to read out of the large amount of literature on offer is a difficult didactical task for the education college lecturer. Personally I adhere to and argue in favour of the fundamental principle that students should read the original literature (mostly in translation), up-to-date articles from educational journals and only occasionally versions in textbooks. The point is that they should get to know the "thinker's" thoughts and not be fobbed off with simplified or even distorted versions of this or that theory.

But finding relevant literature is ultimately the least of the challenges. The great question is how we can handle the theoretical contents in such a way that the work takes on the aspect of a study with implications for the development of students' ideas and skills.


The students must do the work

It must be a fundamental principle that it is the students who do the work. The teaching and the teacher's performance must establish challenges, ask critical questions, help to achieve an overall view in relation to the initial and continued development of ideas on the part of the students and give proposals and ideas for forms of work and organisation that will provide a framework for the students' studies.

Space does not permit a full account of how such tuition and such studies might look in relation to different subjects and different phases of the course, but I will briefly list a few examples for further discussion.


An example

I take my first example from first-year studies. Before starting teaching practice in January, the students were, among other things, to read Steen Larsen's article "Skolelivet - er det en byrde at lære noget? (School life - is it a burden to learn something?) (1990). Together we formulated three assignments for class consideration and discussion by those about to embark on teaching practice (and for discussion with the relevant teachers). One of them was that the students should note and express their opinions about how their teaching and that of the relevant teachers contributed to transforming the school from one providing information to one promoting knowledge.

Alongside the teaching practice (during a week available to them in January) the students were moreover to read Hans Jørgen Kristensen's book "Pædagogik - teori i praksis" (Pedagogics - theory in practice) (1990). After the teaching practice we worked with the students' experiences and reflections in the light of the task set them. In addition, during the first fortnight after the teaching practice each of them was to produce a written report on and to account for three problems which in the light of their practical and other experience they found most important in Hans Jørgen Kristensen's presentation. This report they then discussed in their teaching practice groups (and it was also handed in to the lecturer, who discussed their thoughts with each individual student later in the semester). The "course" ended with a lecture and discussion entitled "Teaching and learning" in which the teacher sought to introduce points from the student presentations, and where the students contributed ideas stemming from their group discussions.

In addition we always have a "subsidiary theme" which is: What do you think you have learned from this course, how did it evolve, what does it teach you about learning processes in a pedagogical context? Where did you start and where are you going in the development of your ideas?


Another example

In working with various educational theories (at the end of the second year), the teacher lectures on various historical and contemporary theories of education in which she seeks to identify the educational dimensions in earlier work in pedagogical subjects and pedagogical discussions with the class.

The class makes a study of selected examples of educational theories which everyone reads (in the original, some of it in extracts). Groups of two students take it upon themselves to present an example for discussion in class. On this occasion we choose Klafki, Hellesnes, Negt, Nabe-Nielsen and Illeris.

The presentations lead to discussions aimed at understanding the theories and their effect in the pedagogical debate in the historical situation in which they were formulated, at comparing and querying them, at reflecting on their contemporary significance for school, society and pedagogical practice, partly on the basis of students bringing in episodes from their own schooling and experiences and discussions from their teaching practice. The discussions take place with all the students present, occasionally interrupted by brief group discussions.

In this course we also try to identify the meta-theoretical consequences of the work - what did I learn, how did I learn it, what does it mean for my future work as a teacher?

There is no guarantee that these discussions will have made any lasting impression on the students with consequences for their future work as teachers. But at least there is created a common set of concepts and language which it emerges that the class and their teacher can use in subsequent parts of the course.


And I could continue in this way. Both by giving examples of courses with different aims, different contents, different work forms - and each time asking the open question of whether it furthered the objective as sketched out above.

Instead, I will briefly summarise some of the learning process theories that form part of contemporary discussion, and which I believe could be a source of inspiration in teacher education, and then in more general terms I shall consider their consequences for the pedagogical areas of teacher education.



Some learning process theories for discussion

It might be asked with some surprise why, in all the educational contexts, it has become so relevant to discuss learning processes, considering that there is nothing very new in those we are considering.

Already William James (1899) pointed out that student teachers (and children and others) are not empty vessels "simply" absorbing information and thinking and acting on the basis of what someone (the teacher) puts forward in a teaching situation. And in this way psychology and pedagogics have throughout the entire century produced research and theory that could form a starting point for a different view of learning and teaching than the one that still to a large extent forms the basis for teaching and educational practice.

The explanation must be that it has not yet been possible to arrive at another concept of learning and teaching, for which reason much teaching is either a waste of time or directly harmful to a political and democratic education and general and specific education. At regular intervals the discussion blows up again in the hope that on this occasion it can be of some use - that it can change and improve things.

The immediate reason why discussion takes up so much time in Danish teacher education is, as mentioned above, a new teacher education act, the decentralisation of many decision-making processes - for instance the formulation of a local syllabus - and a staff-student ratio that represents a radical challenge to our understanding of study and teaching.


With the educational aims and the need for qualification in mind, and with the didactic understanding which we already possess, we cannot do the same as is done in so many other kinds of education, simply rely on lectures, supervisions and "free" studies.

So we must take stock of our understanding of learning processes, develop it further and in particular plan the syllabus, teaching and study forms on the basis of this knowledge.


Although I maintained above that there is a limit to what is new in contemporary discussion, I will nevertheless introduce some of the most commonly discussed theories and exchanges and try to relate their possible inspiration more specifically to teacher education than they themselves do.


Donald Schön

As in the case of so many other theoreticians on the learning process, Donald Schön's (1987) starting point is a criticism of technical rationality as insufficient for an understanding of learning processes and therefore unsuited as a starting point for teaching practice. Schön is - like many others - inspired by Dewey.

Schön's basic point of view is that important professional knowledge is developed spontaneously in the direct interaction between the person practising (the teacher) and his actions. From this he derives the concept of "reflection-in-action". This knowledge is both about what the practitioner identifies as essential problems and his ways of solving them. The challenges and the uncertainties in (pedagogical) practice are treated intuitively and dialectically, and not as technical problems with technical solutions such as for instance a hierarchical concept of aims and means. Problems are experienced and dealt with in here and now actions, not primarily by reflection either during or after the act.

The practitioner is usually unaware of this development of knowledge and is therefore usually unable to express himself on it and pass it on, hence the expression silent or hidden knowledge. However, Schön's hypothesis is that new knowledge leads to a "change of paradigm" in the practitioner's subsequent practice and his reflections on it, without his necessarily being possible to account for it. For this reason Schön talks of a non-logical process, and here we perhaps find the source of expressions such as "artistic activity" with reference to a capable practitioner (teacher).

One of Schön's points with relevance for education is that it is not possible to learn to practise (teach) simply by receiving tuition. Coaching, on the other hand, can help the student on his way.

In connection with a research project of their own, the Canadian professors of teacher education Munby and Russel (1989) discuss the significance of Donald Schön's concept of "reflection-in-action" for understanding teacher education and teaching, which is not Schön's own frame of reference.

They consider Schön's work to be significant despite obvious weaknesses. Thus one of the things they look for is the psychological realities in "reflection-in-action", and they call for a more precise description, analysis and discussion of what the coach does in the three coaching strategies which Schön sees as being essential: hall of mirrors, follow me and joint experimentation. It is partly these their research project is intended to examine further. The essence of their research is to discover how it happens that teachers "suddenly" see a professional challenge differently. As they put it:


"We would expect `reflection-in-action' to be manifested in how teachers alter their descriptions of events and their strategies for dealing with them, so that one description might represent a puzzle, and a later one its reframing."


Like so much Anglo-Saxon research into teacher education, their study includes teachers in their first year of teaching after qualifying. They discuss other studies that likewise focus on teachers' reflections, including Shulman (1987) and Zeicher and Liston (1987), which enables them to demonstrate that the concept of reflection is used in a very broad sense and very differently in research and discussion of the teachers' basic and in-service education. Space does not permit an account of Schulman's and Zeichner and Liston's research projects or allow us to bring them into this discussion; I would merely emphasise the distinction implicit in the terms "reflection-in-action" and "reflection-on-action". The latter concept is more to be understood as an idea of a meta-cognitive process. This discussion could also be related to Dale's consideration of the professional teacher's three levels of competence, but must therefore be taken up in a different context.

Schön's understanding of the relationship between theory and practice is not alien to the thinking behind Danish teacher education, and certainly not for thinking on in-service education, which takes as its point of departure the students' own practice in connection with e.g. pedagogical developmental work, but we still need to discuss the possible implications for the teachers basic education with a view to enabling future teachers more successfully to identify, put words and concepts on and communicate the unmodified "hidden" knowledge they acquire in the practice acquired during teacher education and in their later practice as teachers.


Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus

The Dreyfus brothers' theory on steps in adult learning processes from beginner to professional expert has led to certain responses, not least from education college teachers. They envisage a learning hierarchy, maintaining that the beginner acts on the basis of contact-independent characteristics, doctrines and rules, while the expert intuitively sees what has to be done, and does it. Between the two there is an account of the steps gone through in the learning process. They are concerned with being able to understand the situation, choose a perspective, be influenced by the consequences of the actions decided on and to have experienced this sufficiently many times in order, as skilled practitioners, to be able to reflect on and choose possible courses of action.

This is a phenomenologically derived theory describing the steps rather than discussing learning theory and didactic consequences. One consequence, however, that can be derived with relevance to teacher education, is that professional expertise requires many years' practice. In this view it is not possible in the course of teacher education to "make experts of the students". We have always known that. The question is whether by recognising more clearly that we do not produce experts by teaching rules and doctrines, but by something other and more, we can be inspired by the Dreyfus brothers to prepare the students so that they can already be on the way to becoming skilled practitioners by the time they start work as teachers.

So, although I am of the opinion that there is inspiration to be derived from the Dreyfus brothers, I accept the criticism of them put forward by Dircking-Holmfeld and Remmens (1993). In particular, when it comes to relevance for teaching I would emphasis the theory's lack of potential for changing the way teaching is carried out. As they put it:


"In the Dreyfus brothers the aim of the learning process is to become like the expert - like master, like man. In the face of this we would along with Chris Argyris (1977) emphasise the "double loop" aspect of the learning process as the objective, that is to say that the students should be enabled to query the assumptions of practice hitherto."


This is at least highly relevant when we talk of teacher education (see my introduction on teaching as a life-long process of learning).

In his discussion, Steen Wackerhausen (1991) sums up the inspiration to be derived from Schön, Dreyfus, Polany and others in some programmatic conclusions:


"The non-corporeal understanding of reality is an illusion. The body, sensing, experience, practice etc. are sources of knowledge just as much as is science, and knowledge is not merely hidden away in books, but is just as much hidden away in the body, in experience, in perception, in practice etc. In this perspective subject development is also personality development, as the "silent dimensions", especial the social subjects, are personality-integrating. To use oneself in one's work is not a metaphor in this perspective, it is a necessity for competent practice. And if subject development as personality development is not to come to a standstill, one has to put oneself at stake in one's practice and be receptive, both cognitively and emotionally. If "the silent dimensions" are developed, it is essential to maintain or create the necessary scope for experience in work and during education, in which these silent aspects are generated. And a certain tolerance for metaphor, simile and analogy must be shown where the exact language has its problems."


I have chosen to quote Wackenhausen's conclusion (almost) in its entirety because it expresses some important points and stands as a transition to the discussion of what we in teacher education can do about the knowledge which is passed on by the theories so far discussed.


Teacher education, learning process theory and study forms

in the pedagogical subjects

I will return to my assertion that teacher education must be seen as pedagogical practice demanding pedagogical action on the part of the students in the form of study in a social context. This applies in both teaching, study and preparation times, as we have chosen to name the three study situations described in the syllabus for Aarhus University College of Education.

My choosing briefly to give an account of Schön and the Dreyfus brothers is an attempt to clarify "what we can use them for" in teacher education. My conclusion - at least for the moment - is that their ideas create a challenge which we, however, must ourselves translate into teacher education didactics.

Their contribution can perhaps help us to qualify some of the study forms which we practice or are in the process of developing, cf. my first two examples.

Moreover, we can naturally teach the students different learning process theories on the basis of theoretical presentations. The challenge, however, is to find ways of enabling the students by studying them to mobilise the body, sensing, experience, (and reflect in and on their own study-practice) etc., as Wackerhausen and I together express it.

The case method is emphasised by Flyvbjerg (1993) as a possibility of "developing an abundant context knowledge and the commitment and the experience necessary to become an expert". My experience suggests that there is considerable merit to this method, scarcely enough to produce an expert, but perhaps a first step on the way to becoming a competent practitioner. The students return from their teaching practice with many cases, some of which are suitable for further consideration; pedagogical literature offers some, and we as education college teachers can also produce some.

Meanwhile, it is equally important to catch sight of and treat the cases that are in our common experience. In our pedagogical context we can chose the focus for closer consideration: 1) education college teachers way of carrying out their tasks as teachers and supervisors, and the consequences of this for developing the students' experience and for their reflections; 2) the way in which individual students do their teaching before a class and the experience which the individual and the class gain in such contexts; 3) accounts and considerations of occurrences, experiences and thoughts which the students have in various study forms, as classes and individuals.

Project work also offers the possibility of reflecting in and on practice. I shall now give a brief account of a third-year project, which - of course? - suffers from the weakness in relation to the theories discussed that relating to practice in the form of one's own teaching is a weak link.


A third example

The framework within which the entire class was to work was the subject of "Children with difficulties in and out of school - children who cause difficulties in (and out of) school". The long, awkward title is an attempt to formulate the dialectics between child and school and the normative dimension of the concept of difficulties. The project consisted of: 1) class utilisation of information - laws, departmental orders, guidance; 2) reading and lecturing on theories discussed taking into account earlier consideration of theory and relating to the students' own experience; 3) two parallel male groups' projects within this framework. It applied to all the groups that their approach to the problems should make it necessary and possible for the students to seek out relevant procedures and at the very least speak to the parties implicated.

On the basis of a critical formulation of the problem, one group examined kinds of special education and the justification for them. They read the texts of relevant acts and ministerial orders, they visited to special education teachers with whom they had earlier worked in teaching practice (so they had an impression of practices), they examined the ways in which three selected schools ran their special education and enquired about the justification for this, they interviewed three boys in the 8th form who were being given special tuition etc. On this basis they presented their collective knowledge and their queries and provisional views on the special tuition available in elementary school for class discussion.

Another group worked with formulating a problem starting from a hypothesis that more children than necessary are deemed to have and treated as having reading difficulties. It was not possible for them to put into practical effect the study of such a hypothesis, and they had to accept that it cannot be investigated with general validity. They were, however, of the opinion that through reading various theoretical source studies and considering a number of cases they had a sufficient foundation for agreeing with the hypothesis, and that in fictitious form they would present the reasons for its being so. This gave them the opportunity to draw on their own and their fellows' experience in school, their practical teaching experience and to talk to teachers with whom they were acquainted, and they also made use of literary sources. This turned out to be an exciting and even disturbing story that gave rise to a very intense discussion in the class.

A third group worked with challenges resulting from the inclusion in normal school classes of children with hearing difficulties. During the summer holidays immediately before this course they had been assistant teachers in a summer camp for children who were either deaf or had hearing difficulties, and they had felt their time with these children to be a fruitful challenge and had at the same time discovered that there could well be problems connected with their schooling.

And once more I could continue on this theme. The point in producing these examples is to prepare for a discussion of the extent to which such projects can lead to reflection in and about teaching processes with implications for developing a discerning and comprehensive conception of teaching that can be of value when transferred to a future teaching career.

I myself believe that the examples above constitute one way of doing this, especially when in the course of the project the students have been encouraged to reflect on the learning process, and when we try to discover some common applicability and put words and concepts to the students' reflections as an element in discussing and evaluating the time devoted to this project. It is without question difficult to mobilise both the hidden knowledge of how the study was approached and the reflections there were behind it, i.e. to identify "reflection-in-action" and to achieve a meta-cognition or meta-awareness of what understanding was developed and how it was accomplished (or, of course, not accomplished). We can immediately identify the students' improved basis for doing this when they have been studying for a couple of years, and that I take as a sign that slowly but surely they are developing didactical thinking through their teacher education, and that they are creating a foundation on which to make their own hidden or silent knowledge "visible" and communicable.


A number of American studies (see Peterson, Clark and Dickson (1990)) have been concerned with the same problems as are being discussed here. These three researchers stress that several studies make it likely that by experimenting with and reflecting on their own thinking and learning, students develop ideas and insights into the learning process which they then pass on in the way in which they think about the development of knowledge in their pupils when they themselves are teaching. The authors nevertheless query this and point to the need for more specific "children- and school-related studies". Conversely, I would point out that understanding your own thinking and learning is the first and absolutely necessary basis on which students in interaction with theoretical studies can develop categories and concepts with which to identify and study children's learning processes - at different stages of development and in relation to different practical contexts. I shall return later to the way in which we can define a more specific understanding, both in the other subjects in teacher education and in teaching practice.


A fourth example

This last example shows how students' work in the subjects taught can be a starting point for developing didactical concepts by exploring "the pedagogical subjects". An interdisciplinary course in practical and aesthetic subjects was arranged as a project with the common title of "Street Culture". The work was monitored by the teachers of pedagogical subjects. The project gave the students an opportunity to experience learning processes in aesthetic subjects in an interdisciplinary course organised in groups cutting across the main groups in expectation of a product. Writing diaries and carrying on discussions between these groups and teachers in the pedagogical subjects gave the students the opportunity to reflect on and communicate about their study and cooperation processes and about the relationship between the problems selected, professional lines of approach, and process, product and communication. An evaluation of experiences and reflections in the pedagogical subjects and in the practical and aesthetic subjects further reinforces the potential for the students to develop an appreciation of the didactic aspects of such a course.

The example above is yet another suggestion for how, by seeing teacher education as practice, students have the opportunity to reflect on and define didactic concepts and thereby contribute to their querying their earlier views and professionalising their way of thinking.


A conspectus on work in the pedagogical subjects

In the basic education of teachers we do not have the teachers' own pedagogical practice as a starting point from which to develop a didactical rationality aimed at a political and democratic education, as for instance formulated by Lars Løvlie and Erling Lars Dale. We do not have the students' own (teaching) practice from which to identify and conceptualise "reflection-in-practice" and to qualify "reflection-on-practice". But we do have the practice constituted by the teaching and the students' own studies, and the experiences they derived from their own earlier encounters with education. This is where we must start, and together with the education college teachers and the student teachers themselves make the study of i.a. pedagogical subjects as absorbing, pertinent, qualified, proficiency furthering and perspectivising as possible. Absorbing because it must be personally challenging; pertinent because it must be relevant to putting question marks against earlier experience and understanding the challenges of future activities; qualified because it must be theoretically well-founded and exhaustive; proficiency furthering by dint of "hands on" experience with the students themselves as the decision-making central figures in teaching situations; and perspectivising in that it gathers all these aspects together in relation to the educational perspective in their future teaching. It is about the content of the teaching, but perhaps mainly about the study processes the students themselves experience.

What applies to the school applies also to teacher education. Teaching and studies must be based on the principles of an on-going dialogue between teachers and students regarding the content and kind of the studies (participation in decision making), differentiation in the choice of content and study forms, internal evaluation of product and process with a view to a common awareness of the students' own learning and educational processes, targeted concrete advice that challenges the individual student and makes possible the development of a meta-awareness of teaching and learning.

We sometimes hide from this problem by emphasising all the "stuff" the student has to "get through", and which we as teachers then undertake to "go through" or give them to read. The words "They have to learn as well" have been an argument for introducing more subjects in teacher education and more and more contents in the syllabuses without discussing how the students ever manage to learn anything at all. But that is not good enough. You cannot "get through" or learn any material by putting aside the didactic principle here formulated, at least not in such a way that the work leads to professionalisation in the students.


The triple perspective in the study of

subjects taught


The assertion implied in the title that the study of subjects taught in teacher education has a triple perspective suggests that the work is to serve three purposes. Students must develop an understanding of the actual contents of the subjects - the knowledge and the methods which the subject encompasses. They must be able to understand the subjects as historical constructs and thus know their philosophical and theory of science frames of reference and sociological justification at different times and in different educational contexts. And finally the subjects must be studied from the point of view that the students will subsequently be teaching them to children - this is the subject-specific didactical dimension and the educational dimension.

A didactics for the study of subjects in teacher education must encompass the possibility that the student can gather all three perspectives into a comprehensive understanding of subjects and subject groups in the school and the educational and qualification significance of these subjects for children and young people at a time when mankind is faced with crucial challenges and enormous difficulties in the efforts to promote "the good life".

Space does not permit me to pursue all three perspectives. What I have said about the didactics of teacher education in pedagogical subjects applies also to content courses as seen from the three perspectives. In various contexts I have earlier (1990, 1992, 1993) discussed the exemplary value of subjects studied as a preparation for work as a teacher, and here I shall merely attempt to summarise a few of the points made.


Learning processes and subjects

The schoolsubjects in teacher education represent a broad spectrum of areas of understanding and practical methods. The practice in the courses is an excellent starting point for the students' own development of their awareness of learning and teaching processes. Many of the subjects have an immediate advantage in the form of study practice that naturally forms a physical and emotional challenge, includes exercises, experiments and manual production, provides inspiration for aesthetical expression and artistic activity. But the students must do more than think and act in relation to contents and methods; they must also think about the contents and about work and study forms.

As future teachers the students must be prepared to make considered choices regarding the contents of their teaching in specific subjects and in interdisplinary courses. The Danish tradition for very broad syllabuses, which necessitates the teachers' choosing the content of their teaching, is a challenge to the education of teachers.

So, in studying the subjects taught in education colleges, the student has the possibility of gaining an understanding of their contents and the potential for education that this represents and of the learning processes through which understanding is achieved. An important reason for many elementary school teachers' problems in implementing their teaching on the basis of didactic rationality, that is to say on a well-argued basis, is that they lack an understanding of children's and young people's learning processes on different levels of development and in relation to different subjects. Some teachers develop such an understanding in their practice, others never discover either how they themselves or their (different) pupils learn. Teacher education must accept responsibility for ensuring that the development of understanding starts here.

A good deal of American research is concerned that student teachers and trained teachers should come into closer contact with the ways in which children and young people think and learn. This dimension, too, should have a place in the different subjects in teacher education, interacting with the students' understanding of how they themselves learn. Through comparisons and contrasts the students' understanding will be sharpened, and they will be able to develop concepts and linguistic terms that enable them to pass on such understanding.

Peterson, Clark and Dickson (1990) provide an account of their studies of teachers' hypotheses concerning children's learning processes and strategies in working with addition and subtraction. The teachers could pass on some assumptions, but their understanding was not organised in a comprehensive network relating to the subject-specific problems, the strategies children employed to find solutions, the solutions obtained by children and the technical difficulties some children had.

We know similar examples, both general and specific, from Danish research, although the field of the researchers' understanding of children's learning and the consequences of this for their own teaching, has not been particularly well investigated.

Anna Jørgensen (1995) describes a four-year developmental project in mathematics teaching as part of the teacher education course, the point of which is precisely to make the students aware of their own learning processes with a view to establishing hypotheses about children's learning processes. A good example, and there are probably others that could inspire teacher education subjects.

An incipient understanding of one's own learning processes and the establishment of hypotheses regarding those of children (of different ages) must moreover form the starting point for any didactical consideration of how teaching is to be organised. An understanding of teacher education's own practice as a education ground, which is exemplary in a pedagogical context, can be transformed into a study course in which the students devise teaching and study courses for each other, taking into consideration their own presuppositions on teaching and discussing differences and similarities with those of children. This requires firm guidance and specific and pertinent criticism on the part of the education college teachers and the other students so that qualified didactical concepts can be developed which can be transferred and applied to later work as teachers.


Cooperation between teacher education's pedagogical and content courses

The subject of general didactics is found in the second part of the course along with subjects selected for special study, partly because the practical didactic dimension of these main subjects and general didactical theory must synthesise in the students' way of thinking. But very little is achieved merely by structure. The challenge is that the study of all subjects in teacher education should be built on didactic theory, also when the immediate contents is not exactly didactic theory or practical didactics. Thus in teacher education didactics encompass both practical content and scholarship, and students must undertake the whole education and in all professional contexts be challenged and encouraged to think in meta-theoretical terms.

Therefore it is absolutely essential that education college teachers should work together to develop the didadicts of teacher education into a comprehensive developmental process that furthers our own didactic qualifications. This can form the starting point for various forms of integrated studies involving the students.

There are many examples of such study courses in the Danish education colleges, and study courses of this kind are constantly being developed. As suggested above, they have many areas in common in that the contents of the theoretical subjects are psychological, pedagogical and didactic concepts, problems, reflections and the potential for a critical perspective on education and teaching in general and in relation to subjects and curricula. Pedagogical subjects create the theoretical network in the form of concept development in the students and the teachers' expertise in the theoretical subjects each in their own area. It is these areas of expertise that are to be introduced into a dialogue with the teachers' professional and didactic fields of expertise so that the two dimensions in teacher education can be brought into play and represent a broad basis for the professionalisation of the students. This can be achieved in integrated studies, but it must also occur in purely practical teaching contexts. Consequently, cooperation and discussion between the teachers in the education college is vital.

An obvious developmental project that could bring all the teachers in a education college together might be to collect and develop available research on children's and adults' learning processes in general and in different professional contexts, in the elementary school and in teacher education. In a discussion of a number of research projects, Nona Lyons (1990) lists for discussion and further research a number of problems relating to teachers' understanding of children's and their own learning processes. This is how I sum it up:


Teachers' work cannot be conceptualised either primarily as a question of practical knowledge or defined alone on the basis of pedagogical knowledge. Teachers' work must be seen as encompassing various interacting areas of knowledge that come together in the solution of tasks in a specific context and in relation to specific pupils.


Consciously or unconsciously, teachers interpret and evaluate their pupils' backgrounds and potential on far too general a level. Only if they are able to identify their specific pupils' various backgrounds and potentials can they help them to learn.


Teachers and pupils are dependent on each other as those who know and those who learn. They must be made aware of and learn to define their influence on each other.


Teaching presents teachers with a number of ethical dilemmas to do with the contents of the subjects, their relations with their pupils, the forms of tuition and the knowledge which they as teachers seek to pass on.


In connection with a desire to change teachers' (or student teachers') thinking, it is important to observe that changes demand and bring about comprehensive intrusions on the teacher's self-concept, his abilities, relations, values and forms of knowledge. It is a matter of changing ways of explaining and of seeing and being in relation to those learning and the learning itself.


To study learning and teaching processes in the light of what is implied above should be part of teacher education.


These statements apply to teachers in schools. They could equally well apply to us as education college teachers.

As already said, Danish teacher education offers a greater possibility of meeting such challenges than teacher education courses making a clear distinction between content courses - in a general university context - and the professionalisation aspect in the form of the study of pedagogics, didactics and teaching methods in selected subjects - as many teacher education courses outside Denmark certainly do.

Although this is true, today's education college syllabuses only provide limited opportunities for a dialogue between education college teachers and for integrated studies. Nevertheless, there are a good number of occasions merely by dint of the fact that we "work in the same building and are there at the same time". All education colleges, however, can establish team work and study groups that can develop education college teachers' didactic concepts, so that we can to a greater extent bring this potential into play and thereby catch sight of more potential for integrating studies.


Teaching practice as part of teacher education


The last area for the development of didactics at which I want to look is teaching education.

With the new course of teacher education it has been explicitly stated that in all the subjects in the course a close link must be established between them and the benefit students derive from teaching practice.

Students' experience of "actual teaching" in the form of teaching in the"Folkeskole", experience of themselves as those responsible for resolving tasks resting on teachers, and their critical thoughts on both is an important aspect of the didactics of teacher education.

This relationship between theoretical studies and teaching practice in teacher education has been the subject of a good deal of foreign research. The principal lesson learned from this research is that teaching practice consisting of observing teachers at work and then teaching themselves etc., does not in itself further the students' professional development. Practical experience of this kind must be met with challenges and help towards critical reflection if it is to have any significance extending beyond mere plain understanding or for the development of ideas and competence.

Thus many studies conclude that a close cooperation on the part of the education college with students engaged on teaching practice is a necessary precondition for the students' being able to reflect on and become aware of problems and possibilities in pedagogical practice. Without a theoretical challenge deriving from teaching practice the experience of teaching practice seems to limit rather than expand the students' didactical ideas and skills.

This research has been particularly concerned with the tendency for students to identify with the incomplete and commonsense arguments they frequently come across in teachers supervising their teaching practice in justification of the contents, planning and accomplishment of their teaching. Jesse Goodman (1988) sums up in this way:


"Recent research on preservice teachers' professional socialization suggests that most of them passively `fit into' the practices found in their student teaching field placements."


Goodman refers to Tabachnik et al. for their conclusion that student teachers engaged on teaching practice take part in routine, mechanical instruction-like activities that demand little thought. The students will often accept a standardised practice as the maximum possible. The practical knowledge that student teachers find in school, e.g. in textbooks, and which they themselves pass on to their pupils, the manner of teaching and the pupils' learning are taken for granted.

In a number of American universities this has led to the development of models for the way in which university and school can share the responsibility for the students' studies while engaged in classroom practice (see Everton and White, 1992, Barrie 1992), and many study projects have this as their research area (e.g. Calderhead 1987, Joan Solomon 1987, Jesse Goodmann 1988, Lalik and Niles 1990).

Mogens Nielsen (1988) points out that several studies seem to confirm the impression that students do not make use of the knowledge they have acquired in theoretical, psychological and pedagogical disciplines when considering their teaching practice. He substantiates this impression by suggesting that students can only develop their reflective thinking in the teaching environment in which they are to develop their teaching strategies, i.e. in teaching practice. Mogens Nielsen quotes Joan Salmon (1987) for the following:


"It does not mean that the (education college) teacher's task is far removed from the classroom, for that would only lead to a repetition of the same kind of pedagogical division which is so often found in education at present. Precisely because the theoretical substructure rests on reflection in the classroom, the education college teacher must find a way of becoming part of this process, so that the theory that gives rise to the discussion does not in fact demolish what has to be created."


Mogens Nielsen himself continues:


"One might of course wonder whether it might be the education college lecturer teaching didactics who was the obvious person to take on the role which according to the English researcher is intended for the tutor; but it might be that this cannot without further ado be taken as the right solution. The point is that it is possible that the subject being taught must be drawn into the reflections."


These different research results and discussions bring me to some thoughts on what starting point we have and can further develop in a didactics of teacher education introducing teaching practice as an important dimension.

That the relationship between theory and practice - including that between teaching and the theoretical studies in the education college and studies in teaching practice - is dialectical in kind is an important conclusion in the didactics of Danish teacher education. But there are probably different traditions for how such knowledge can be applied to the way in which education colleges have directed the students' time spent on classroom practice.

With reference to the task I originally sketched out concerning the didactics of teacher education and the principle for its development, and which I have attempted to argument in favour of and exemplify, I believe that Mogens Nielsen overlooks the potential which the students' conceptualisation of "our own pedagogical practice" in the education college and their own practices in studying might constitute. They are, or at least can be, fully occupied with reflecting on conditions in a teaching environment (that of the education college) as the background to developing teaching and study strategies (their own). So preparation for teaching practice is perhaps to a great extent about identifying and discussing such experiences with the possibility of also reflecting views on the teaching environment and teaching strategies in school.

Several students take part in teaching practice at the same time and so they are able to be each other's "theoretical support" in both planning and evaluating the teaching for which they individually or together are responsible. Students are engaged in teaching practice (and possibly in charge of classes) several times during their studies. In this way a common understanding of the conditions and potential offered by teaching practice is built up between a class of students and their teachers, that makes it possible to convey and discuss experiences for critical theoretical treatment.

Education college teachers, both those concerned with practical teaching subjects and with pedagogical subjects must find ways of participating as far as possible in the students' classroom practice as observers and discussants, both in discussions in the students practice groups and in offering guidance in conjunction with teachers concerned with their teaching practice. It would be best if both groups of education college teachers could take part in such discussions at the same time. It is moreover an example of a discussion forum between teaching subject teachers and pedagogical subject teachers from which we ourselves can derive benefit in our common development of teacher education didactics.

I have deliberately not chosen to discuss background expectations in connection with the teaching practice teachers in relation to teacher education, as this has been considered in many other contexts and moreover merits an article of its own. Nor do I intend to embark on a discussion of whether there is too little or too much teaching practice in Danish teacher education. We need principally to discuss the quality of the teaching practice now in place as a contributory factor in developing the students' didactical rationality.

To summarise, I would say of teaching practice that the challenge is about the students' possibility of experiencing "reflection-in-action" and undertaking "reflection-on-action", i.e. of being challenged, by themselves and by all other involved parties, to become aware of the "hidden knowledge" which they acquire, and to use their teaching experiences to reflect on and develop the meta-concept of teaching, both in their own and in what they see of others.

The didactics of teacher education -

summary and discussion


I hope that my way of collecting some thoughts might be able to inspire a discussion of the didactics of teacher education. We are well on the way to developing a didactics with which we can be content. But it is certainly not a simple task to be a teacher, either whether in education college or in the "Folkeskole".

The awareness of and ability to formulate and communicate the didactical theory, the rationality, that lies behind one's own teaching method, are still in short supply, both in education college teachers and teachers in the "Folkeskole".

It is difficult and demanding to base your teaching on didactical rationality, to act professionally. This applies to teachers in schools and to education college teachers, not to mention teachers in other branches of education and education. It applies in general, and it applies directly in relation to teaching in both specific and interdisciplinary subjects.


If these assertions were not valid, practice in the school and teacher education over the last 15-20 years would, all things being equal, have changed more radically than has been the case, although a good deal has in fact happened. For, as I say, students have for many years been trained both in and on the basis of a didactic theory that understands the complexity in pedagogical practice and sees theory, not as prescriptive to practice, but as the basis for reflection and analysis with regard to current evaluation and changes in practice. The general didactic theory contents in Danish teacher education are and have for many years been a critical and constructive didactics constituting the framework for a critical analysis of various didactical positions, making it possible on the basis of reflection to incorporate aspects of them into the development of theory currently taking place.

There are of course many reasons why it is not so simple to change schooling in conformity with "good didactic theory" - extending from the school's and education system's changing, but inevitable built-in contrasts to everyday life's incessant pressure to act and work, not to speak of differences and more or less unconscious avoidance mechanisms in the teacher himself and in the teacher group as such. Understanding such barriers is actually built into the critical-constructive concept. However, it is one thing to have realised that pedagogical practice is subject to, for instance, contrasts and pressures, and another to be able to act with didactic rationality in relation to such insight. And it is yet something else again to maintain the theoretical understanding even if it does not immediately provide ready-made prescriptions on how to teach.


Evaluations of the developmental work being carried out under the School Development Council have made it possible to come closer to teachers' visions, teachers' practice and teachers' reasons for that practice. When teachers put themselves into situations, where, for instance, they decide to carry out a task of pedagogical development in which it will both be necessary and legitimate to formulate their didactical theories, it turns out that they have incorporated far more "didactic theory" than they themselves have been aware, and more than they have often had the opportunity of formulating earlier. They manage to mobilise their hidden knowledge, both that which has been developed during their education and that which has been acquired through practice.

Although these teachers do not always and in every situation manage to achieve a way of teaching with didactical rationality, they are in possession of a number of theoretical categories which make it possible for them to formulate aims and take a critical and analytical stance vis-à-vis their own practices. And that is an important precondition for improving those practices.

Teacher education, possibly supplemented with in-service education seems in fact to have "made its mark", which makes it possible for some teachers in favourable conditions to act didactically rationally on several levels: in carrying out their teaching, in planning and evaluating teaching and in reflecting on school development in an educational perspective.

So it is not some ethereal vision, but a realistic possibility that through their education students should acquire a basis for in a professional manner reflecting on and coping with future tasks as teachers, and that they, as teachers, should "discover" that they are in possession of such a basis. There is a great deal of inspiration to be derived from such experience. It ought, however, to give rise to our making greater demands on those of us in teacher education to ensure that all future teachers during their education can study and work with and on the basis of general and specialist didactic theory, which can lead to a willingness to act on the part of teachers, a willingness that is recognised as rich in perspectives.

When a class of fourth-year students leaves the education college it is often with the desire for continued contact - with each other and with the education college. At that time most of the students are convinced that they are leaving their teacher education equipped with knowledge, ability and vision. They are also aware that there is much they must learn now so that their understanding and areas of competence can become an integrated part of their actual teaching. They say: "Just think, if we could come back in a year or two, for a year or a semester or just three months". Indeed, if only they could. What a starting point for the development of didactics - with consequences for work both in the schools and in the teacher education colleges. That could be high quality in-course education and give rise to research of great value into teacher education.







1. Bo Jacobsen's (1989) study: "Does Teacher Education Work", commissioned for the working party on the teacher education act, draws a somewhat depressing picture of the quality of teacher education as the basis for teaching in schools.

I remember from my own time as a primary school teacher (1964-1971) that it was common to say that you had not derived much benefit from attending education college. (In my case this was not true.)


2. Evy Olsen (1980): Praksischok, U.P., subtitled "newly qualified teachers' encounter with primary school", draws a rather different picture of the significance of teacher education. The same applies, for instance, to the article in Folkeskolen, no. 42, 1987: "Det lærte vi på seminariet" (We learned that in education college) by Singrid Noe-Nygaard and Steen Simonsen. Furthermore I would think that many education college teachers are in possession of unpublished letters from former students in which they talk of the positive benefit they derived from teacher education.





Barrie, John: Oxford Practice and Cambridge Theorising: Some Thoughts in Initial Teacher Education, Educational Philosophy and Theory, vol. 24, no. 1, 1992.


Buchmann, Margret: Breaking from experience in teacher education: When is it necessary? How is it possible?

OXFORD REVIEW OF EDUCATION, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 181-195.


Calderhead, James: The quality of reflection in student teachers' professional learning. European Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 10, no. 3, 1987.


Dale, Erling Lars: Pedagogisk professionalitet, Gyldendal norske 1989.


Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Lone & Remmen, Arne: Forståelse og forandring i læreprocesser, Dansk pædagogisk tidsskrift, no. 2, 1993.


Everton, Tim & White, Steve: Partnership in education: the University of Leicester's new model of school-based teacher education, Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 22, no. 2, 1992.


Feiman-Nemser, Sharon & Buchmann, Margret: The first year of teacher preparation; Transition to pedagogical thinking?

J. CURR. STUDIES, vol. 18, 1986.


Flyvbjerg, Bent: Sokrates brød sig ikke om case-metoden - Hvorfor skulle du så? Dansk pædagogisk tidsskrift, no. 2, 1993.


Goodman, Jesse: The political tactics and teacher strategies of reflective, active pre-service teachers. Elementary School Journal, vol. 89, 1988.


James, William: Talks to Teacher and Students, New York 1899.


Jørgensen, Anna: Developing Teaching Methods in Mathematics: Equal Opportunities Perspective in Content and Gender; Transforming the Curriculum in Teacher Education, Equal Opportunities and Teacher Education in Europe, vol. 4, 1995.


Kristensen, Hans Jørgen: Pædagogik - teori i praksis, Gyldendal, 1990.


Krogh-Jespersen, Kirsten: Enhedsskolen, enhedslæreruddannelsen og den professionelle lærer, rapport fra Nordisk Lärareutbildingskongress, Vasa, Finland, 1990


Krogh-Jespersen, Kirsten: "Seminariefaglighed" - læreruddannelsens videnskabelighed, Uddannelse, no. 4, 1992.


Krogh-Jespersen, Kirsten: Udvikling af skolens undervisning - og læreruddannelsens, Kvan, no. 36, 1993.


Lalik, Rosary & Niles, Jerome: Collaborative planning by two groups of student teachers, The Elementary School Journal, vol. 90, no. 3, 1990


Lyons, Nona: Dilemmas of knowing: Ethical and epistemological dimensions of teachers' work and development, Harvard Educational Review, vol. 60, no. 2, 1990.


Munby, Hugh & Russel, Tom: Educating the reflective teachers; an essay review of two books by Donald Schön, Curriculum Studies, vol. 21, 1989.


Nielsen, Mogens: Praktik i læreruddannelsen. Nogle forskningsresultater. Unpublished, 1988.


Peterson, Penelope L., Clark, Christopher M. & Patrick, W.: Educational psychology as a foundation in teacher education: Reforming an old notion. Teacher College Record, vol. 91, no. 3, 1990.


Schön, Donald: Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco, 1987.


Schulman, Lee S.: Knowledge and teaching: Foundation of the new reform, Harvard Educational Review, vol. 57, 1987.


Solomon, Joan: New thoughts on teacher education, Oxford Review of Education, vol. 13, 1987.


Wackerhausen, Steen: Teknologi, kompetence og vidensformer, Filosofisk Institut, Århus universitet, 1991.


Zeichner, Kenneth M & Liston, Daniel P.: Teaching student teachers to reflect. Harvard Educational Review, vol. 57, 1987.







Appendix to the article "The Didactics of Teacher Education"


Kirsten Krogh-Jespersen

Aarhus University College of Education,

Trøjborgvej 82,

DK-8200 Århus N,




Appendix 1 is from: Higher Education in Denmark, The Danish Rectors' Conference Secretariat, 1994.

The "basic" school in Denmark is called the "Folkeskole".

Danish teacher education is in the medium cycle category of higher education, and the Teaching Diploma is at Bachelor's Degree level.

Admission to Danish teacher education:

General upper secondary education and in addition, because there are more applicants than places at the colleges, other educational, travel or work experience. The average age of students embarking on the course is 24, in some colleges even higher.


Appendix 2:

Copies of keywords from a lecture given by Kirsten Krogh-Jespersen for visitors from University of Port Elisabeth, South Africa, August 2000