In search of a European pedagogy
A number of university instructors have been on a hunt to determine the existence of a European pedagogy.
"It is the face-to-face meetings that are most rewarding," says Dr. Gunnlög Märak.
Dr. Märak is an instructor in the teacher education program at the Norrköping campus and one of several educationalists who took part in a newly evolved and advanced pedagogics program for experienced teachers. The program—organized by LiU—has the Swedish name "Pedagogisk spaning", roughly "Discover pedagogics". The program extends over one and a half years, and is composed of seminars. The first batch of ten teachers has just completed the program.
The subjects dealt with include inter-university competition for funds and students, educational quality and internationalization. The participants are encouraged to gain international perspectives by making a one- to two-week study trip to a foreign country.
Gunnlög Märak spent a week in Wales where she met with teachers and students and even participated in the teaching.
"The opportunity to interact in the educational setting gives a new perspective," she says.
Pia Forsberg, Professor in Infectious Medicine and instructor in the Medicine Program, was on a similar study trip in England where she visited a university with a medical faculty.
"At the university I visited, primary care clinics were deeply involved in the educational program," Dr. Forsberg says. "The educators want to invigorate the training routines of students by giving them clinical experience. I met many enthusiastic teachers and learned about concepts that we could profitably introduce in our own educational programs. I hope we will be able to invite some of them to be guest lecturers at LiU."
Susanne Kreitz-Sandberg has a PhD in pedagogics and teaches in LiUs teacher education program. She spent ten days at a German university with focus on integration of the Bologna directives into their earlier system.
"Their ways of introducing the Bologna directives differ from ours because we have other perspectives, other organizations and different points of departure in our thinking. It is inspiring to follow along in a new way of thinking and rewarding to forge professional links with our peers abroad," Susanne Kreitz-Sandberg explains.
"We must look beyond the horizon of our own workplace and discover how others deal with the day-to-day tasks. A change of environment stimulates to new ideas and reflections.
"Of course," she goes on, "one doesn't have to go abroad to do that, but a complete change of environment is an excellent opportunity to get jolted out of a mental rut."
A report from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education indicates that teachers in Swedish universities need more international experience. This is important if the teachers are to influence students to study abroad and gain the necessary knowledge to compete on a global market.
All three of the interviewed LiU instructors agree, but point out that there are even greater benefits to be gained when international experience and knowledge permeates the entire university.
"Increased international mobility is, on the whole, a modern trend," says Gunnlög Märak.
The pedagogics course was developed and organized by LiUs own Center for Teaching and Learning, CUL. A new batch of students will enroll in the fall of 2008.
Last updated: 2009-06-03