Arbeids- og kompetanseområde

Educational Background: I am educated as a Teacher Educator [grade: Laudabilis prae ceteris/praiseworthy before the others in educational theory, 1991]. At the University of Oslo, I attained the Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Education [grade: Laudabilis, 1994, 1997], and the Doctor Philosophia Degree of Education [Unanimous and positive decision, 2005]. I finished my education with a postdoctoral fellowship in Education (funded by Oslo Metropolitan University, the research was conducted at the University of Rome and the University of Oxford). I also have a number of courses, specifically aimed at educational issues.

Professional Background: I have over 15 years of experience as a teacher and class teacher at all levels in the school system (from 1st grade to upper secondary school), while working as a mentor for student teachers. To date (January 2022), I have over 20 years of experience in higher education, and in 2009 I was appointed Professor of Education. I have taught and supervised at bachelor, master and doctoral level, and have lectured in all continents of the world.

Research Interests: My primary areas of scholarship are philosophy of education, educational theory and general education. My research interests include indirect pedagogy, existential education (a concept I introduced in a paper in 2011), sustainability, unforeseeable education, and the theory and history of the academic discipline of educational science.

Recent Publications: With Routledge, I have recently published three books: (1) the research monograph Education and the Limits of Reason: Reading Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nabokov (2018, in collaboration with Peter Roberts), (2) the research monograph Indirect Education: Exploring Indirectness in Teaching and Research (2022, Open Access), and the edited volume Meeting the Challenges of Existential Threats through Educational Innovation: A Proposal for an Expanded Curriculum (2022).

Recent Research Projects:

  • Education for the Unforeseen & Innovation (in collaboration with University of South-Eastern Norway and NIFU) (funded by The Research Council of Norway, 2022-2025)
  • Artist-Led Learning in Higher Education (ALL) (funded by EU, Erasmus+, 2018-2021)
  • Democratic preparedness against racism and antisemitism (funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, 2019-2021)

Scholarship: I am the founder and convenor of two international ‘conversations’: (1) the Annual Bergen Educational Conversation (founded in 2009), and  (2) the Annual Nordic Educational Conversation (founded in 2020, part of NERA: the Nordic Educational Research Association). Since 2015, I have been the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Nordic Studies in Education, and since 2013 I have been a member of the editorial board of Studies in Philosophy and Education, the highest-ranking journal in the field.

The Annual Bergen Educational Conversation was established in 2009 by Prof. Dr. Herner Saeverot who is also the convenor of the Conversation. The Annual Bergen Educational Conversation has its origin in the research group General Education (Allmenn Pedagogikk) (established in 2008 by Herner Saeverot and renamed as PedLab in 2014), and is first and foremost meant to be a conversation. The contributions to the Conversation are often under processing, rather than completed works, and thus form a good basis for conversations about the main themes that are chosen. Due to this, the Conversation is a place for dialogue, research and experimenting which has led to several publications, both books, journal articles, special issues and newspaper articles. Each year leading experts in their field are invited, both domestic and foreign, to accentuate and make visible fundamental and common educational questions.

The Annual Bergen Educational Conversation is also an organisation conducting philanthropic and charitable work, which consists of giving gifts of time, competence and treasure to help people around the world by way of education, focusing on living well in a world worth living in.

See an overview of all the previous Annual Bergen Educational Conversations here (with lots of pictures).  

The Annual Nordic Educational Conversation was established in 2020 by Prof. Herner Saeverot and President Michael Dal with support from the board of NERA – Nordic Educational Research Association. Saeverot and Dal are also currently the convenors of the Conversation. The Annual Nordic Educational Conversation has its origin in The Annual Bergen Educational Conversation which was established in 2009 by Prof. Saeverot. The Conversation is part of NERA and is specifically connected to NERA’s journal Nordic Studies in Education. The contributions to the Conversation are often under processing, rather than completed works, and thus form a good basis for conversations about the main themes that are chosen. Due to this, the Conversation is a place for dialogue, research and experimenting which has led to several publications, in particular special issues of Nordic Studies in Education. Each year leading experts in their field are invited to accentuate and make visible fundamental and common educational questions.

Click here to get an overview of the previous Annual Nordic Educational Conversations.

Fellowships: In 2019 I was appointed member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. Due to my field research and scientific explorations, I have been elected a member of the Explorers Club. I am also appointed member of ALL European Academies (ALLEA) and Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA).  

Credo: Since the 1980s I have taught and lectured to countless of pupils, students and others, always keeping the existential perspective as a fundamental basis, and since existence is a subjective matter rather than an objective one, I have never pointed out explicit directions for my recipients; rather, I have always made room for them to reflect and respond individually, as well as allowing them to choose not to respond.


“Besides Prof Saeverot’s friendship, kindness and care for others, which are an immediate hallmark of his personality and academic generosity, what also inspires me is his fresh and original approach to the field. These qualities are found across his robust body of work through his many articles, reports, lectures and conference presentations. More so, his ideas are succinctly articulated in his books, especially his Indirect pedagogy (2013), Education and the Limits of Reason (2018) and his edited volume Meeting the Challenges of Existential Risks through Educational Innovation: A Proposal for an Expanded Curriculum (2021). In this latest work, Prof Saeverot brings together nineteen top scholars and scientists from across the globe to discuss the immediate urgency that we face as the world’s inhabitants. This new volume is a work that encourages us to never give up on the possibilities of education in a world that, although deeply threatened, its very existence must stop being defined by its dangers, but should be approached from its creative potentials. Here I want to emphasize the positive character that underlines Prof Saeverot’s world-outlook as he presents us with a vision for education that encourages us all to rise above the prevalent state of want and absurdity by which we are all too often discouraged to act. Prof Saeverot urges us to sustain our generosity not only on the intellectual level, but also in our creative engagement with the next generation through the infinite prospects of education in all their complexity and challenges. It is in this light of robust hope that I consider Prof Saeverot as an author and academic who, having established his name across continents for his original thinking, is a colleague who never fails to inspire his peers, students and anyone who has the privilege to meet, listen to, and read his work.” 

— Professor Dr. John Baldacchino, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA  


“Through various forms of collaboration, I learnt to appreciate and value Professor Saeverot, not only as a scholar and researcher, but also as a person and educator. He is both talented and inspiring in organizing dialogues, both within the scientific community and between scholars and educators. The background for his engagement is his particular view on education, which, for him, is not only an object of scientific investigation, but also an existential and public concern. In this vein, I experienced the “Annual Bergen Educational Conversation” as a remarkably effective and meaningful format for dialogue across borders of scholarly and professional camps. Also, the publications which emerged from these conferences, such as the newly edited volume “Meeting the Challenges of Existential Risks through Educational Innovation: A Proposal for an Expanded Curriculum”, document his ability to organize and promote exchanges on both national and international levels in the context of pressing educational issues. The seriousness and value of his “interested approach” to education as a moral practice, and the attention he pays to contemporary threats and challenges for education and humankind, are prominent virtues of Professor Saeverot as a public intellectual.” 

— Professor Dr. Johannes Bellmann, The University of Münster, Germany


Since Prof. Saeverot started as Editor-in-Chief of Nordic Studies in Education in January 2015, we have seen a sharp increase in the quality of this journal, with improved impact and visibility. As President and member of NERA—Nordic Educational Research Association, I have been able to see from a close distance his unique ability to work with different authors in a supportive manner, while maintaining the highest standards of academic quality. He has worked actively to preserve Scandinavian as a written language in the journal, in addition to English, and he has worked actively to incorporate qualified contributions from countries within the Nordic region that have previously been underrepresented in the journal (e.g. Iceland). All this has given him a wide range of experience with academic publishing. With Prof. Saeverot as Editor-in-Chief, the journal has undergone an extensive transformative phase, including a change of publisher and a transition to Gold Open Access. As President of NERA I worked closely with him in this transformative phase, and were able to witness a creative and professional colleague with a unique ability to collaborate and with a particular interest to improve the journal. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the journal was hit by an economic crisis. Until then, the journal had existed for over 40 years, but was now threatened with closure. Fortunately, during this period, Prof. Saeverot found opportunities to apply for funding. All his applications were granted, and rewarded with the highest grade, while the journal survived its biggest crisis to date. At the same time, he founded The Annual Nordic Educational Conversation in 2020, which created great interest to the journal. This forum is managed by NERA and is closely related to Nordic Studies in Education. Conversations and dialogues are at the heart of this forum, which is held annually with Prof. Saeverot as convenor. In addition, he is involved in developing special issues based on these conversations. As Editor-in-Chief of Nordic Studies in Education, Prof. Saeverot is also responsible for The Ahlström Award, which is awarded every other year at the NERA conference. The Ahlström Award is to be given to one or more co-researchers working in the Nordic countries—who, during the period in question, are considered to have best developed an outstanding and critical scientific contribution to NERA’s journal Nordic Studies in Education. Overall, I rate Prof. Saeverot’s work as Editor-in-Chief very highly.

— Professor Dr. John B. Krejsler, President of NERA—Nordic Educational Research Association


Professor Herner Sæverot was my colleague at the Metropolitan University, Oslo, for a number of years. During that time I got to know him as an astute and fearless thinker, as an intellectual who forged his own way. Already at that stage it was clear that there would be books, many books, because there were already Herner’s challenging ideas that encouraged, among others, my own quest for knowledge and understanding. I recall with a smile when he told me that he was not interested in the stereotype image of the ‘professor’. I admit that I know of no other professor who has become a Norwegian champion in powerlifting, but it is to be expected of Herner.

In his book Education and the Limits of Reason there is a reference to the ‘active love’ that Dostoevsky focuses on in The Brothers Karamazov, perhaps his greatest book, perhaps one of the greatest in literature history. No doubt of it – it is difficult to give active love, and it is important to bring up this love in education, in a society dominated by the erotic superficial love of movies. Herner reminds us through the philosophy of Dostoevsky, (Tolstoy and Nabokov), that this ‘love is a treasure beyond all others; one can gain the whole world through it.’ What loftier aim could education have? What much-needed grandness can be gained through this idea, in an age that has stripped life of most of its deeper meaning. Herner’s reference to the unsettling moral challenges of Dostoevsky links to Jacques Rancière’s poking at the ‘proper’ in society, in what I see as art, literature and education’s main role.

Professor Herner Sæverot’s aim is to construct a connection, a bridge if you wish, between philosophy and education, the positive inclusion of art and literature. As I witness, at the present moment (Feb 2022), the destruction of European peace, I will underline that whatever hope there is ahead of us, is still in education. I do not mean any kind of education – so much of it has failed in the past – but exactly the kind of education based on active love that Herner focuses on in his books, his teaching and last but not least, in a friendship that I value greatly.

— Professor Dr. Ian Damerell, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway

Praise for Saeverot’s book Meeting the challenges of existential threats through educational innovation:

"Given the range of threats currently facing humankind – pandemics resulting from zoonotic infections, catastrophic climate change, and populist post-truth political hatemongering – this collection of articles edited by Herner Saeverot is indeed timely. […] A key strength of this collection is the collaboration of educators with experts and specialists in fields such as climate research and climatology, particle physics, biodiversity, nuclear and biological warfare, infectious diseases, environmental and development education, and artificial intelligence, in addition to educators representing a diverse range of different fields and disciplines. […] There are links here with issues discussed in other chapters on economic inequality, poverty, overpopulation and post-truth popularism, and the need for transformational learning from school to university to address the existential threats is argued convincingly throughout the collection. […] The collaboration of educators and climate, ecology, biodiversity and other relevant experts in this collection serve to make it an important contribution to the urgent debate on the future of the planet. Innovative learning ideas designed to bring about the necessary change are outlined in a number of chapters, and are especially prominent in the chapters by Ron Thompson on the need the challenge inequality at all levels, Saeverot and Torgersen on the urgency of addressing harmful ideologies, and by Tomasz Szkudlarek on the role of ignorance and truth in emancipatory education. Arguably, what is radical about this educational challenge is not so much any novel pedagogy or methodology but the determination to place it front and centre in educational planning and development. This is the mission expressed in the book’s subtitle about the need for an expanded curriculum. Such an expansion is indeed urgently required since – as a number of commentators have noted recently (UK Parliament, 2021) – there is a noticeable lack of attention paid to climate change and sustainability in contemporary learning programmes. Consequently, it is, arguably, radical and transformational in itself to foreground the educational issues and challenges addressed in this collection of readings. […] However, the important technical and theoretical matters highlighted here – though absolutely necessary to the educational task in this sphere – will not, in themselves, be sufficient to change substantially the nature of the debate and the direction of travel towards the goal of sustainability. What needs to be added to this complex theoretical background is the vital ethical dimension to this work. This is referred to in a number of chapters – the need to cultivate a ‘binding life-respecting existence’, and the critique of social inequality in the development of ‘aesthetic, ethical and spiritual dimensions of human existence’ […]"

— Professor Dr. Terry Hyland, Free University of Ireland, Dublin. British Journal of Educational Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00071005.2022.2050071

Praise for Saeverot’s book Indirect Education: Exploring Indirectness in Teaching and Research:

"This informative book is a must read for those interested in indirect education and is filled with challenging new ways to understand education, as well as how to teach and conduct research. It breaks new ground with its emphasis on direct and indirect approaches to education. Saeverot’s book not only contributes to the field of education, but to philosophy, communication, and psychology. This book will serve educators well, but not if one is looking for an easy read and quick solutions to the current challenges in education. The issues addressed in this study are considerable. Indirect communication is not an easy or quick solution to our current challenges in education. However, if one is serious about education and our student’s success, then this work is a valuable resource."

— Professor Dr. Benson P. Fraser, Virginia Wesleyan University, USA. Nordic Studies in Education, DOI: 10.23865/nse.v43.5917

Praise for Saeverot’s book Education and the Limits of Reason:
“Two authors of the quality of Peter Roberts and Herner Saeverot writing together is an event that should provide original, enjoyable and innovative reading. Their recent book, Education and the Limits of Reason (2018), provides an important, scholarly-written book that engages, stimulates, questions and perplexes in ways that only really established scholars of their standing can create. It is written with the passion, care and agape they advocate we use, illustrated in the selected texts and from their analysis to existentially review our educational practice.” 

— Professor Dr. Paul Gibbs, Middlesex University London, UK. Educational Philosophy and Theory, DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2021.1923005


“Education and the Limits of Reason is a serious contribution to an enduring conversation about what education is and what it means to teach and learn. The book draws on the work of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nabokov to contest some of the rationalities that dominate education’s current discursive field. In doing this work, Roberts and Saeverot offer new meanings and justifications that have both ontological and epistemological implications for the classroom – implications that unravel the sanities of neoliberal reason. Although they do not claim to offer definitive alternatives or solutions, their analyses offer a compelling starting point for thinking in other ways.” 

— Dr. Claudia Rozas Gómez, The University of Auckland, New Zealand


“I would hope to see Roberts and Saeverot’s next writing project similarly engage with the potential that literary fiction holds for disturbing and making strange the analytical writing practices in our field. With these thoughts in mind, Education and the Limits of Reason is a thought-provoking and destabilising book and a major contribution to the field of philosophy of education. As a readerly text, it should serve as a foundational text for those seeking to incorporate literary fiction as a mode of philosophical address. I would highly recommend the book for all who have an interest in resisting the limited and unsustainable notions of what counts as reason, learning, teaching and education. And for those who wish to endorse the affirmative pedagogical force of reflective discomfort, this book is a requisite.” 

— Dr. Petra Mikulan, The University of British Columbia, Canada

“Roberts and Saeverot have written a book that is lucid, informative and enlightening. […] Readers will find in this book insightful and thought-provoking ideas, questions and suggestions that challenge their own assumptions about the rationality of human endeavours. Furthermore, as I have shown in the preceding, the creative works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Nabokov provide a fertile ground for cross-cultural dialogue. By bringing us back to these classics, Roberts and Saeverot have brought us forward to contemplate issues that make us (more fully) human, such as faith, reason and the development of human virtue. Following the footsteps of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Nabokov, Roberts and Saeverot have “educate[d] us by creating a sense of restless, reflective discomfort, without which worthwhile change could not occur.” 

— Professor Dr. Charlene Tan, The University of Hong Kong, China. Studies in Philosophy and Education, DOI:10.1007/s11217-021-09773-w


“Inviting us to move away from what has reduced education to an economy of measure, assessment, and application, this book is a golden opportunity to journey inwards, from the bounds of education’s limits to the paradox of its immanence. Doing so through the works of literary giants like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Nabokov, Roberts and Saeverot regale us with a way out of the quandary by which education has been consumed. Education and the Limits of Reason provides its readers with a powerful iteration by which we could all begin to liberate ourselves from the limits of schooled reason, where we have mostly and wilfully lost the capacity to critique. One hopes that this volume also offers teachers, young and old, neophyte or experienced, a renewed hope in the passions that pushed them to take up their profession in the first place.” 

— John Baldacchino, Professor of Arts Education and Director of the Arts Institute, University of Wisconsin–Madison.


“The fiction of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Nabokov subverts our settled and often moralistic worlds. Peter Roberts and Herner Saeverot show how wider and deeper rationalities are at work in these great writers: we are caught up in the ‘educative deceit’ of Lolita, for example. In contrast to the frantic cyberworld, they challenge us with the rewards of slow, contentious reading, where the familiar is made strange – there’s reasoning way beyond traditional logocentric philosophy-of-education. Roberts and Saeverot are utterly honest in exposing how slow, unsettling literature expands our capacity to reason. This book is a significant contribution to the humanity of education, which, through its very publication, unsettles the current reductive momentum of education into the social sciences.” 

— David Beckett, Professor in Education, The University of Melbourne, Australia.


“Roberts and Saeverot provide in this scholarly reading of Dostoevsky,Tolstoy and Nabokov an expertly constructed bridge between philosophy, literature and education. Much needed, timely and insightful, the authors and their volume deserve a rightful place in an ancient and today ever more important field of interdisciplinary enquiry.” 

— Liam Francis Gearon, Senior Research Fellow, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford.

Praise for Saeverot’s book Educational Science (Pedagogikkvitenskap):

”Her er det påfallende lite skråsikkerhet om hvordan pedagogikk skal utøves, verken som praksis eller som forskning. Likevel er boka ikke preget av vage eller omtrentlige formuleringer; den er tvert imot skrevet i et klart og enkelt språk. Dette er en annerledes bok i pedagogikk. Det gjelder ikke bare innholdet, men også den fysiske og grafiske utformingen. Både oppsett og materialvalget for papir og permer er helt særegent. Sæverot kommuniserer altså på flere språk parallelt: både grafiske, visuelle og taktile. Dette samsvarer godt med hans sans for de indirekte virkningene av pedagogisk virksomhet. [...] Boka har mange gode margtekster. Noen kan stå nesten som fyndord: «Som lærer høster du aldri der og da» (side 110). «... unger forstår veldig fort hvis du sier noe bare for å si noe. Så det må være linket til virkeligheten» (side 50). «Å ikke vite er ikke vitenskapelig kunnskap, men likevel en form for kunnskap.» (side 43). [...] Konklusjon: Dette er en meget gjennomarbeidet bok. Forfatteren viser stor evne til å skrive prinsipielt og praktisk på samme tid. Visuelt kan boka virke mer oppdelt enn nødvendig, men fordelen er at den gjør det lett å lese stykkevis, forlengs og baklengs. Jeg mener Sæverots måte å spørre og reflektere på kan stimulere læreres tiltro til verdien av deres egne resonnementer.” 

— Halvard Håstein, rådgiver i pedagogiske fag. Bedre skole, 2018.

Underviser i
  • Master i profesjonsrettet pedagogikk
  • Ph.d.-studiet Studiar av danning og didaktiske praksisar

Credo: Since the 1980s I have taught and lectured to countless of pupils, students and others, always keeping the existential perspective as a fundamental basis, and since existence is a subjective matter rather than an objective one, I have never pointed out explicit directions for my recipients; rather, I have always made room for them to reflect and respond individually, as well as allowing them to choose not to respond.

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My primary areas of scholarship are philosophy of education, educational theory and general education. My research interests include indirect pedagogy, existential education (a concept I introduced in a paper in 2011), sustainability, unforeseeable education, and the theory and history of the academic discipline of educational science.

Listen to my podcast interview on educational science here (in Norwegian)



PedLab examines educational practice from three perspectives.

Participatory perspective

Firstly, educational practice is explored from a participatory perspective, referred to research in educational practice. With research in educational practice, the researcher is portrayed as a subject, where practice is regarded as a place for systematic and reflexive knowledge production. Whilst members of PedLab interact closely with teachers as researchers so as to acquire educational knowledge derived directly from the field of practice, they also conduct independent research from within educational practice, e.g. through action research.

Spectator perspective

Secondly, research is conducted about or on educational practice, meaning a spectator perspective where the research object is examined to a greater extent from a distance. Quantitative methods are often used in this kind of research, where the data is obtained, inter alia, by way of surveys or from secondary sources (e.g. meta-analysis).

Intersubjective perspective

Thirdly, it is about researching into educational practice, where the participant and spectator perspectives are combined. Research into educational practice thus appears as an intersubjective perspective, between the participatory research and the distant observation.

PedLab also has a strong focus on the language of pedagogy (pedagogikk) and the discipline’s basic forms of knowledge, as well as problem areas that lack prescriptive goals, such as existential and unforeseen perspectives.