Pedagogical Journeys or Pleasure Trips: Danish Schoolteachers’ Educational Journeys, 1898–1932
Keywords:educational borrowing, educational journeys, teacher education, transnational knowledge transfer
In the last decades of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries, a wide range of pedagogical ideas were disseminated in Denmark, influencing both primary schooling and everyday school life. Many of these ideas, along with the desire for educational reform, originated in other European countries and were transferred into a Danish context. During the period 1898–1932, the Danish Ministry of Education awarded 874 grants to Danish male and female primary schoolteachers, enabling them to embark on educational journeys at home and abroad. The author analyses these journeys as an example of educational borrowing to determine the exact nature of the new, inspirational concepts and knowledge to be acquired and to ascertain which countries were perceived as being educationally progressive. From a broader perspective, this article contributes to our understanding of how academic and professional discourses of education crossed borders and contributed to national educational systems becoming more and more alike. The article concludes that the majority of teachers wanted to embark on a Bildung journey, visiting Nordic countries and Germany, with the experience of foreign culture, language and education as their desired purpose. These teachers did not seek big changes, but rather sought to incorporate new concepts and practices into their daily work. Only a minority of the group applied for grants in order to obtain inspiration for widespread reforms or pedagogical renewal. These teachers were national experts in a particular field and belonged to a wider international group, which contributed to the construction of international grammar of school reforms.
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