Learning Tech 4 (English Introduction)

Learning Tech 4 contains three subject didactic studies and is written on the basis of NOFA 6, the sixth Nordic subject didactic conference, which was held in Odense last year. The articles focus on the subjects history, foreign languages, and mathematics.


By Thomas R.S. Albrechtsen, Hildegunn Juulsgaard Johannesen, & Marie Falkesgaard Slot

Welcome to Learning Tech 4 and Nordic subject didactics

This issue contains three subject didactic research articles that were presented at the sixth Nordic conference in subject didactics (NOFA 6), which took place in Odense on May 29-31, 2017. The main theme of the conference was perspectives on and challenges in the interplay between general didactics and subject didactics in schools and teacher education.

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On the one hand, the three articles touch on different subject didactic areas in the form of teaching history, foreign languages, ​​and mathematics, respectively. On the other hand, they also cover three different national contexts in the form of empirical studies from Denmark, Norway, and Germany. Although these three articles from the NOFA conference are all based on subject didactics, they also touch on topics that have a more general didactic interest. The articles address some very basic didactic issues that will be relevant for teachers across different subjects. This is firstly about the theme of problem-based teaching and learning, secondly about the importance of transitions in the learning process, and thirdly about the integration of movement in professional teaching. The strength of the didactic perspectives on these otherwise generally relevant didactic issues is that they give us some concrete insights into how academic content can be communicated to specific students, and that this could be inspiring for initiatives in teaching practice. At the same time, the three articles are a sign of an increasing tendency for subject didactic and general didactic studies to be examined in more comparative perspectives.

In the article What is a good issue really? About problem-oriented teaching of history by Jens Aage Poulsen & Rikke Alberg Peters, the purpose is to look at the possibilities and challenges of making history teaching more problem-oriented and exploratory. The starting point is results from an action research project carried out by Historielab in 2017. The article shows some of the challenges that may exist for students to identify and formulate issues in such a course. Hence the title of the article: “What is a good issue really?” The article examines, among other things, the difference between what one ideally imagines about the process of working problem-oriented and what happens in practice, as well as the importance that teachers have in facilitating the process. Finally, didactic considerations about a problem-oriented history teaching at different grade levels in primary school are discussed.

Camilla Bjørke & Berit Grønn analyze in their article Early language start – a springboard for a holistic thinking about language and learning qualitative data from an interview survey, which they conducted in the school year of 2014-2015 with 60 students in 10th grade in Norway. The article argues for an earlier start in teaching and learning foreign languages such as French, Spanish, and German. The authors show how students experience having to learn new languages and their reflections on the competencies they have acquired in the transitions in their education. The article provides insight into what are important elements in foreign language learning from a student perspective. A particularly important result is that a good organizational framework and teaching differentiation are crucial for students to be challenged in their academic learning. These key factors for foreign language teaching are also backed by other research.

In the article Physical Activity in Mathematics Education: Developing the «Grundvorstellungen» of Multiplication by Learning through Physical Activity, Friederike Bayer & Thomas Rottmann provide insight into how learning in mathematics with special regard to basic notions of multiplication can be promoted through movement. The article points out how physical activity is beneficial for learning academic content, but that there is still a demand for how mathematics teaching can be implemented through physical activity in practice. This is suggested in the article in a German context. This is about a development of and research in movement games with a focus on multiplication, which the authors discuss.

We hope you will enjoy reading,

Thomas R.S. Albrechtsen, Hildegunn Juulsgaard Johannesen, & Marie Falkesgaard Slot

Precisely the student-centered is crucial in problem-oriented work. This means, among other things, that the students’ prior knowledge, experiences, and skills are taken seriously – not least because the students must to a large extent take responsibility for the research process and the results.

From What is a good issue really?