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PHD901 Bildung and pedagogical practices

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

Contents and structure

The course constitutes the common interconnecting component of the PhD study. It shall provide insight into and new knowledge of the Bildung concept's diverse history in the area between disciplining and liberating. The goal is to strengthen the student's ability to understand how Bildung-theoretical issues are used, controlled and developed in pedagogical practices. The study shall develop critical and independent perspectives on how Bildung thinking appears in the professional field. This shall be accomplished through developing the student's ability to read and interpret both classical and new texts that have shaped and are shaping the field of learning. Students shall also examine how Bildung occurs through new media, artistic forms and a broad practice register.

The course presents and discusses the theoretical and empirical knowledge base for kindergartens, schools and the cultural sector that has historically emerged. The classical and more recent texts that discuss the Bildung concept's diverse history and the area between disciplining and liberating are being used. Discussion about general didactic theories address what they can and should be able to offer and how they are framed by different perceptions of Bildung. Emphasis is placed on the investigation of didactic theories and how these describe what pedagogical practice is and what it should do. Relevant pedagogical practice is investigated as empirical phenomena and its significance to individual Bildung. How different pedagogical players interact, as well as how these develop, communicate and use different types of knowledge is discussed. The relationship between the complexity of the research field and the education field is topicalised.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student will have the following total learning outcome:


The student

  • will be at the forefront of knowledge within topical and relevant international and Nordic Bildung theory and Bildung through pedagogical practices
  • will have a deep-rooted understanding of the different Bildung theories and associated didactics within his/her own discipline
  • will have knowledge of established issues, methods of understanding and analysis within research literature associated with the Bildung and Pedagogical Practices course
  • will have extensive insight regarding the factors that influence and shape pedagogical practices


The student

  • will be able to assess recent international and Nordic research literature associated with the Bildung and Pedagogical Practices course
  • will be able to develop new interpretations, research questions and theory about Bildung at a high international level
  • will be able to develop adequate research design in order to investigate pedagogical practice
  • will be able to adopt a position on and challenge established issues, methods of understanding and analysis within the course

General skills

The student

  • will be able to assess constructive consequences of (and for) Bildung theory from a social perspective, at an institutional level and at a practice level
  • will be able to discuss basic questions relating to the academic and practice field
  • will be able to identify and carry out research in accordance with the regulations and ethics of the academic and practice field

Entry requirements


Teaching methods

Course tuition extends over one semester, normally during the first semester. Some years the course can adittionally be arranged spring. Organised tuition will be provided in the form of lectures, seminars and guidance. Tuition will focus on understanding and discussing the connection between Bildung texts and pedagogical practices. Students will be organised into smaller groups with a view to preparing for discussion and response to a written work.

During the course, the students shall develop a text in the genre of a formal academic article applying building theory as a critical recourse analytically on key concepts in the candidates PhD project. Alternatively, the candidate can develop a comparative article that presents two Bildung texts and orientate themselves in relevant research literature and secondary literature regarding the texts to be subsequently assessed. The article shall demonstrate that the student can discuss the relevance of the texts to issues experienced or observed through pedagogical practices.

Guidance shall primarily be associated with formulation of the article. It is expected that students will actively participate in all parts of the course.

Compulsory learning activities

  • Individual oral presentation of outline of an article that will be assessed as approved/not approved. The duration of the presentation shall be approx. 20 minutes and a ten minute discussion shall be associated with an organized group seminar.
  • It is mandatory participation 80% first week and 80% second week.

The work requirement will be assessed as approved/not approved.


Students shall write a comparative scientific article that addresses the relationship between Bildung and didactics or an academic article that addresses Bildung perspective related to the student's own PhD project, a key phenomenon or key concept in the dissertation work.

  • Times New Roman 12 pt, line spacing 1.5
  • Reference management: APA style
  • The document must have page numbering (bottom right).
  • 10-15 A4 pages including references
  • The document should have a maximum of 3 heading levels. The headings must be clearly distinguishable.

The text must fulfil the formal requirements for scientific publication. The article will be assessed as passed/failed by internal and external examiners. An A or B level is necessary to pass based on the learning outcome descriptions of the course.

Examination support material

All aids are allowed. For information about the use of artificial intelligence, read Submission of home exams and assignments.

More about examination support material