10.9. The Process of Bildung. The Need, Pedagogy and Policy of Bildung in the Nordic Nonformal Education.

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of social pedagogy
Doctoral candidate: MA Seppo Niemelä
Time and venue 10.9.2011 at 12 noon, Auditorium, Tietoteknia, Kuopio Campus

This study presented an overview of modern nonformal adult education (kansansivistys, folkoplysning, folkbildning), especially of the pedagogy and politics of Bildung, by discussing Nordic nonformal education's early ideological history, pedagogical Theory of Bildung, and social pedagogy. The discussion was structured by the 2001 European Union approved delineation of objectives for lifelong learning where personal fulfilment, active citizenship, social cohesion and employability support one another. All of these goals, active citizenship and the cohesion of society first and foremost, make social pedagogy and Bildung pedagogy concurrent realisers of the pedagogical strategy of welfare.

The section on ideological history was built upon the concepts of enlightenment and Bildung by Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried Herder. The central tension stems from the two different views on reason: Kant sees it as an innate quality, brought out by self developing and self educating, whereas Herder ties reason to language, the cultural circles of language, and culture's forms of life. Herder's view brought communality, nationality and the mankind composed of nationalities as the object of interest. Here Bildung was the link which bound together the interacting individual and nation as a cultural community.

The starting points of enlightenment and Bildung were studied by examining three pioneers of the work format of Bildung: the developer of the Danish folkhighschool's ideological foundation, N. Fr. S. Grundtvig; the father of the Swedish study group work, Oscar Olsson; and the central agent in the Finnish youth society work, Santeri Alkio. Both similarities and differences in Nordic nonformal education could be detected in the comparison. Herder's influence is evident in Denmark, whereas in Sweden the emphasis is on Kant. Finnish Bildung has features of both, but the shifts from Herder's nation to Hegel's state caused by J.V. Snellman have their impact on Bildung. The pedagogical Theory of Bildung structures the early ideas and intentions of Bildung so that they can be applied to solving modern day problems, as made possible by hermeneutic research.

Education, learning and the task of nonformal adult education institutions was approached through the concepts of teaching and the process of Bildung. Teaching is mediatory-pedagogical influencing in another person so that the contents of learning can be described in advance and its results measured. Bildung creates new, strives for better, is unpredictable, and refuses preconceived definitions. Therefore everyone forms their Bildung themselves as self education, but needs the Bildung-pedagogical support in order to do so, especially in the initial stages. Bildsamkeit, i.e. the individual's intentional, interpreting and active relation to the world, and self-activity enable the process where in the interaction between human (self, personality) and the sociocultural world grow individual potentials, individual identity, and volitional capacity to act. Bildung based on these creates citizens who influence the constantly changing sociocultural world. Nonformal resources of the pedagogy of Bildung are (i) the stimuli and incentives for the development of potential as well as the dialogical relationships of which the most central are (ii) the pedagogical relationship and (iii) the dialogue of peer groups and the provocations to self activity expressed in these relations.

This study described the purpose and the tasks of modern nonformal education with the aid of the objectives for lifelong learning. The challenges of multiculturalism, national and global inequality and their attachment to looming ecological threats can more and more be added to the questions of personal fulfilment, active citizenship and the cohesion of society. The objektives are at the same time one interpretation of what a modern civilized society is like. This overview created a foundation for further discussion on the foci of the development, evaluation and funding of Nordic nonformal adult education.

The doctoral dissertation of MA Seppo Niemelä, entitled Sivistyminen. Sivistystarve, -pedagogiikka ja -politiikka pohjoismaisessa kansansivistystraditiossa, will be examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The opponent in the public examination will be Professor Veli-Matti Värri of the University of Tampere, and the custos will be Professor Juha Hämäläinen of the University of Eastern Finland.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/vaitoskuvat

Publishing year: 2011

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