Institutt for politikk og forvaltning

PH.D.-profil: Thomas Noven Eide

In my PhD-project I study how pupils learn school subject skills in the Norwegian social science education


I use perspectives on inequalities to explore how social science education is perceived by pupils

The main objective in my PhD-project is to understand how teachers and pupils realize the skill-dimension of knowledge in everyday classroom situations. Examples of such skills are societal participation, critical thinking and scientific literacy (mastering the craft of a certain academic discipline). Thus, ranging from mere schematic defined skills to tacit ways of knowing. In my project I use perspectives on inequalities to explore how social science education is perceived by pupils.

A main goal in the Norwegian comprehensive school is to make school subject content accessible to all pupils regardless of social inequalities. The school system is also meant to bring social cohesion in society at large. In relation to this, the Norwegian social science education is built on a Scandinavian folk-Bildung-tradition, less academically oriented than the classic German tradition, with more explicit political purposes such as educating children to become civic citizens.

The content and purpose of school subjects are defined by the curricula in which teachers carries out through the school year. In the Norwegian social science curriculum, a new part of competence goals is recently added under the headline “the explorer” (year 1-11). The “explorer” emphasizes active ways of learning by integration skill-acquisition throughout all parts of the curriculum. At the same time, the social science education is embedded in the Bologna-process, forwarding transnational standardization of education systems in Europe. The primary purpose being workforce mobility promoting economic growth. By changing curricula to emphasize more transferable skills, “the explorer” is linked to a project that aims to minimize market uncertainty in OECD-countries. Having these intervening projects in mind, I explore how different pupils relates to the learning of school subject skills.

My research is conducted in the first year of Upper Secondary School (year 11), the last mandatory part of the social science education at both the general and vocational path. I use methods such as observation, interviews and content analysis of pupils’ work.

Research Groups: Research Group in Social Science Didactics (UIB/Volda University College). The Norwegian National Research School in Teacher Education, cohort 7 (NTNU). Knowledge, Politics and Organization (UIB).