Towards laboratories for meta-reflective didactics: On dialogues between general and disciplinary didactics

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In continental Europe, didactics is a core concept of educational theory and practice within which two specialisations have evolved: domain-specific didactics – here termed disciplinary didactics1 – and general didactics. In Denmark, as in the wider Scandinavian context, the scholarly field of didactics is traditionally conceived as a subdiscipline of the overall scientific field of pedagogy, with the range of individual disciplinary didactics (in the plural) viewed as subdisciplines of general didactics. This conceptualisation has been contested since the 1980s. In the wake of globalisation and following the importation of anglophone educational paradigms, the position of didactics as well as the relation between general and disciplinary didactics have increasingly become issues of controversy, both within the world of academia and that of teacher education. The present chapter delves into these issues. Building on the Danish case, we develop a conceptualisation of didactics in which it is viewed as an independent education science rather than a mere subdiscipline of pedagogy. We suggest that both general and disciplinary didactics are meta-reflective scholarly fields, but that they constitute different yet complementary perspectives on educational matters. This meta-reflectivity supports reflection on and prioritisation of various educational goals. It further paves the way for scholarly self-reflection on didactics as a field rooted in specific cultural and political historical circumstances that have shaped ideas of education and educational goals.2
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDidaktik and Curriculum in Ongoing Dialogue
EditorsEllen Krogh, Ane Qvortrup, Stefan Ting Graf
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-56808-5, 978-0-367-56810-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-09939-0
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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