Loss of meaning - shaping of meaning in the teacher training programs in the Nordic countries

    Projekter: ProjektEU



    This project will innovate Nordic traditions of education to strengthen recruitment for teacher training programmes and at the same time improve the legitimacy of this profession.

    The background is a decrease in number of applicants for teacher training programmes and a weakening of the foundation of applicants measured by e.g. grade point average in upper secondary school. Even if there are differences between countries and between educational programmes, becoming a teacher is generally not a popular choice among young people.

    There may be several reasons to this rejection of teachers training programmes. In this project we will focus on what will be described as loss of meaning and shaping of meaning. Young people choosing this career path have traditionally done so to help other people, i.e. as an act of altruism. This has been and still is a leitmotif in the education programme. However, learning targets, tests, evaluations, and external interests seem to increasingly impede on this leitmotif. The risk is loss of meaning and a growing rejection of the teacher training programmes.

    Thus, the project will attempt to strengthen recruitment for teacher training programmes by innovating and reintroducing Nordic forms of education which are assumed to increase sensemaking among student teachers. Keywords are democratic bildung, involvement of student teachers, and creation of teaching methods which respect and at the same time qualify the leitmotif of wanting to do something (good) for someone else.

    More precisely, the project will develop and implement four actions to increase sensemaking – one of each partner. At University of Southern Denmark, the action will focus on collective learning groups which is an already tested method to involve and qualify the preunderstandings of student teachers. At VIA University College, the action will focus on developing students’ attitudes with respect to two core values in the education programme: (1) social responsibility and participation in the knowledge society; (2) integration of students’ life history in the development of a professional identity. At Högskolan Väst, the action will concern an ongoing attempt to shape work-related learning. This is a special programme where student teachers alternate frequently between work and school in order to better integrate theory and praxis. At University of Agder, the action will develop and further qualify an attempt to stimulate collaboration (co-creation) between teachers in the education programme, teachers at practice schools, and student teachers. The aim is to increase sensemaking among student teachers at campus as well as in training periods.

    The project will include 16 participants from 4 partners: 4 from each partner. From Denmark, the partners are: University of Southern Denmark and VIA University College; from Sweden, the partner is: Högskolan Väst; from Norway, the partner is: University of Agder. The partners are institutions which offer teacher training programmes and do research in this respect. In addition to the mentioned participants, the project will include students, other teachers/researchers, and leaders at the involved institutions.

    The project is expected to produce results such as Nordic forms of education emphasising democratic bildung, involvement, and sensemaking, scientific and popular publications, among others a textbook for the Nordic teacher training programmes, tutorials and marketing materials aimed at increasing the number of student teacher applicants.

    The project is expected to impact students’ and teachers’ meaning formation and level of satisfaction, number of applicants and composition of applicants in the Nordic teacher training programmes. Furthermore, at the EU/international level we hope to contribute to more widespread use and greater recognition of the Nordic school tradition.
    Kort titelMeShape
    Effektiv start/slut dato01/10/202002/10/2023


    • University of Agder
    • University West
    • VIA University College
    • SDU (leder)