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The pedagogy of the folk high school is nothing if not a human pedagogy, whose aim is the genesis and maintenance of humankind. Folk high school pedagogy is all about challenging individuals to become themselves as self-determining and responsible beings. So writes Leo Komischke-Konnerup in this, the first volume of 10 Lessons from the Folk High School, and four stories from the everyday life of folk high schools reveal how this lesson is realised in folk high school practice.
Links to life and to enlightenment for living became a characteristic of the folk high school and placed it in direct opposition to the traditional so-called ‘Latin’ school, with its heavy emphasis on exams. Learning should be driven by the desire to learn, not by a syllabus, by grades or exams. Lene Tanggaard submits the exam-free school to careful analysis, while four accounts from a range of viewpoints reveal how this lesson is realised in folk high school practice.
In a time when democracy is constantly being challenged, the need for (young) people to acquire an understanding of democratic values and processes is more pressing than ever. In arguing in favour of Bildung, or edification, that demands that individuals take their share of responsibility for the common good, Bjørn Hansen throws down a challenge to the folk high school, and the four narratives present democratic edification and its dilemmas as they are found in folk high school practice today.
Grundtvig’s ideas about enlightenment for life continue to be relevant as a critical counterweight to a way of thinking about school and education centred around so called ‘purposeful’ competences and the needs of business. Regner Birkelund focuses on the concept of enlightenment for life as expressed particularly in Grundtvig, Plato and K.E. Løgstrup, and four narratives reflect aspects of enlightenment in folk high school practice today.
For centuries Danes have sung together, and song is still as strong as ever. Song provides a voice for moods and feelings, and it creates a sense of belonging that transcends time and place. Dy Plambeck explores the qualities of communal singing, and four narratives show how singing together can bring personal insight and development, can show human life from different angles and perspectives, and can develop a common culture and solidarity around a cause.
Besides being a school, the folk high school is also a home with a shared life. The boarding school as a pedagogical framework gives the folk high school its very particular atmosphere where boundaries between teaching and shared life are erased. Rasmus Kolby Rahbek explores perceptions of the folk high school as a place, and four narratives demonstrate the impact of this place both on students’ experiences and on the school’s teaching practice.
We understand ourselves and each other through small-scale stories. And through our grander ones, we are given a framework for understanding our existence. This means that story-telling has always been an indispensable element of the folk high schools – as it still is. Hanne Kirk explores the nature of narrative and the possibilities it offers, and four stories show various ways in which it can be brought into play in a pedagogical context.
What is the best way to learn together? The close community of a folk high school is always singled out as something unique – not only for the student’s social life but also for their ability to learn. The folk high school’s learning space generates a sense of security and creates a special potential for social learning and identity development. So writes Johan Lövgren in his reinterpretation of folk high school pedagogical practice, while four narratives provide examples from life at a folk high school.
Human beings have an insatiable desire to reach out and create links with the world – through sensing, through the body. And the interplay between hand and spirit has always been a central part of the unique ideology of the folk high school. In this volume of Helle Winther explores the pedagogy of the body, and three narratives show how today’s folk high schools work with bodily learning.
Folk high schools wove together the life of practice with that of the intellect and in so doing changed Denmark from a class-based society into one founded on democratic humanism – into one people. Iben Benedikte Valentin Jensen sketches out the historic role of the folk high school and provides a critique of the current academisation of the educational world. Four narratives show how folk high schools provide enlightenment for the people nowadays.
It is rather extraordinary that the Danish folk high school can celebrate its 175th anniversary, for there is such a world of difference between 1844 and 2019. In A Foray into Folk High School Ideology, Ove Korsgaard traces Grundtvig’s original thinking from 1844 until the present day. Ove Korsgaard takes three dates – 1864, 1940 and 1968 – each of which heralded a now form of revival, which folk high schools have both been affected by and contributed to. And he asks whether today there is a new revival underway.