National report on Curriculum Innovation: Denmark
Sharon Millar, University of Southern Denmark
1.1 The system of higher education
The system of higher education in Denmark can be classified in terms of 4 categories of education:
Short cycle, non-university (as offered in, for example, technical colleges, agricultural colleges) Medium cycle, non-university (as offered in, for example, teacher training colleges)
Medium-long cycle university (as offered in, for example, universities, business schools)
Postgraduate university (i.e. Ph.D)
Further details on these categories, including information on the types of institution, types of degree, structure of programmes, entrance requirements etc. can be found in 'The Education System in Denmark' (1999), in Eurybase (www.eurydice.org/Eurybase). This chapter provides a good account of the Danish higher education system in the late 1990s. Another useful source on the Danish educational system in general is the Danish Estia website: www.r-u-e.dk/dk-estia. In brief, Danish higher education is state-funded (there are no private universities as in other countries) and, for many types of degree programme, there are no tuition fees. All students have the right to receive funding in the form of a combined grant and loan scheme (‘SU’ in Danish), which covers the length of the degree programme plus an extra 12 months. Students entering university require a relevant qualification from secondary-level education and have to satisfy any discipline-specific requirements. Students are accepted under one of two categories: quota 1, which considers only examination grades and quota 2, which takes other relevant experience into account. (See fact sheet on Higher Education available at www.uvm.dk ).
This report, which focuses on programmes at bachelor and master levels only, deals with innovation and change in the language and language-related curricula of certain Danish institutions of higher education, namely universities, business schools and teacher-training colleges. Language is to be understood here in the general sense of language studies. Innovation is to be understood in a relative sense and refers primarily to changes during the last 7-10 years, with the emphasis on more recent change. For practical reasons, innovation can only be discussed in terms of major changes and broad tendencies. It is not feasible to include every modification made to all language curricula in all institutions. Innovation may be driven from the institutions themselves or from central government, but all institutions must manoeuvre within the centralised regulations laid down in relation to all types of educational programme at all levels.
1.1.1 Recent changes in the system of higher education
There has been a tendency to merge or combine institutions into larger entities, either physically or virtually. In 1997 the Øresund University was established; this is essentially a cooperation between institutions in Scania (Southern Sweden) and Zealand, which aims to create a common, educational region. The opening of the new Øresund bridge is a further step on the way. In 1998 Odense University merged with the Southern Denmark School of Business and Engineering and the South Jutland University Centre to create the University of Southern Denmark, with campuses at Odense, Kolding, Esbjerg and Sønderborg. In 2000, the government established Denmark’s Pedagogical University, which is based in Copenhagen; this combines the Danish School of Educational Studies, the School of Pedagogy and the Pedagogical Institute. There are plans to create Denmark’s Virtual University (DVUNI), which will be a coordinating body for institutions of higher education offering programmes and courses via net-based, distance learning.
On a political level, matters concerning research were moved from the Ministry of Education in 1993 to a new Ministry of Research, which was later renamed the Ministry of IT and Research. In December 2000, all matters to do with universities were moved from the Ministry of IT and Research to the Ministry of Education. With the formation of a new government, November 2001 saw yet another change when the Ministry of IT and Research became the Ministry of Science, Technology and Development. This new ministry has responsibility for universities (research and education) and aims to promote greater links between trade and industry and educational and research institutions. Another newly-formed ministry – the Ministry for Refugees, Immigrants and Integration – will take over responsibility for language centres and educating adults in Danish as a second language.
During the nineties, there was a change in the structure of educational financing, which is now based on a taximeter system, that is a system of per capita grants to individual institutions. (For details see Factsheet on financing education in Denmark, available at www.uvm.dk). The late eighties and early nineties saw the introduction of 3-year bachelor degrees and Ph.D degrees, which joined the 'older' degrees of 'kandidat' (5 years), 'magister' (6 years) and 'doktorat' (research-based doctorate). The bachelor degree forms the first 3 years of the 5-year ‘kandidat’ (‘candidatus’) degree, normally translated as MA, MSc etc. This 5-year degree is not to be confused with a relative newcomer to the scene, the independent Master's degree (called ‘Master’ in Danish). When seen as part of continuing education, this degree is typically part-time, lasts 2 years and normally requires a 3-year higher education qualification and at least 2 years’ relevant work experience. When specifically aimed at the international market, the Master’s degree (sometimes referred to as an International Master) may be a direct, full-time continuation of university studies. Increasingly, universities are offering self-contained master’s programmes to ‘home’ bachelor students whose bachelor discipline(s) may be different from that of the master’s programme. In such cases, the student’s final qualification is usually a ‘kandidat’ degree. Independent master programmes have to be submitted individually to the Ministry of Education for approval. Because of the potential confusion of terminology (where Danish and English use the word ‘master’ to refer to differing concepts), this report will adopt the Danish term ‘kandidat’ to refer to courses and levels within the 5 year candidatus degree programme.
The most recent category of degree is the vocational BA (‘professionsBA’); at the moment this degree is not relevant to university education, but is aimed at non-university, higher educational institutions, such as teacher training colleges.
Quality assessment of all levels of education, including higher education, is the responsibility of the Danish Evaluation Institute (www.eva.dk), which was founded in 1999. This body replaced the Centre for the evaluation of further and higher education.
1.1.2 The impact of the Bologna Declaration
The Bologna Declaration has been discussed in the International Committee of the Danish Rector's Conference (www.rks.dk) and has been on the agenda of various committees at institutional level. Topics discussed include the diploma supplement, accreditation and quality assurance, ECTS and ease of mobility. The Ministry of Education has decided that the use of the Diploma Supplement should be mandatory in higher education by September 2002. Cirius – a body designed to promote international cooperation and mobility in education – was established in July 2000 (www.ciriusonline.dk). Cirius also acts as the national agency for the administration of European educational matters. There is also a centre which deals with the assessment of foreign qualifications for those wishing to enter Danish educational institutions or the job market (www.cvuu.dk).
1.2 Identification of relevant changes in the social, political, cultural, professional and economic environments
In general, the number of people entering higher education in Denmark is increasing; between 1989 and 1998, there was an increase of 32%. In 1998, 18.3% of the population were in higher education. University intakes have increased gradually each year with approximately every fifth student choosing a humanities subject. However, the universities now face a reduction in numbers due to a low birth cohort. These gradual increases are generally mirrored in the enrolments onto language programmes. For instance, enrolment figures for 1998 and 2000 from Copenhagen University show slight increases for all languages (except French), including English (1009 to 1076), German (332 to 336), Spanish (365 to 367), Slavic languages (265 to 281), Portuguese (49 to 60), East Asian languages (353 to 375). These figures also demonstrate a trend which has provoked comment in recent years, namely the dominance of English. The Danish Ministry of Education newsletter reported in June 2000 that universities have started an information campaign to promote languages other than English. At that time, only one-third of language students at the University of Southern Denmark were studying languages other than English and at Aarhus Business School, only 22 students had chosen a combination of languages without English (compared with 197 who had chosen combinations with English). In autumn 2000, the University of Southern Denmark had to cancel a minor degree programme in Polish and a bachelor level programme in business and French due to inadequate enrolments. The university's Italian Department was closed several years ago. Some university departments have started to work together where the same teacher takes classes in several different institutions, for example Slavic studies at the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus; French studies at the universities of Aarhus, Aalborg and Southern Denmark.
A further issue of concern is that of completion rates. Figures from 1998 show that 54% of bachelor students, 70% of ‘kandidat’ students (one subject) and 77% of ‘kandidat’ students (2 subjects) complete their degrees. As for students on language programmes, figures reported by the Ministry of Education in May 2000 show that only 46% of BA students in language and 44% of BA students in commercial language complete their degrees. The 'drop-outs' mostly enrol on other programmes. Completion rates on ‘kandidat’ level are better, 64% and 67%, respectively, but the 'drop-outs' here tend not to change programmes; they simply do not finish their degree. It is not clear precisely why students drop out, but a recent questionnaire survey of students of the Romance languages at Copenhagen University suggests that students feel that their course of studies lacks direction and clear aims and does not live up to their expectations. (For results in Danish see http://staff.hum.ku.dk/hp/Spoergeskema/Spsml_32.htm ).
A problem faced by Danish higher education in the coming years is staff recruitment. There are inadequate numbers of qualified researchers and teachers to replace the large number of staff due to retire over the next 10 years.
LANGUAGE DEGREE PROGRAMMES
2. Innovations in language degree programmes offered by universities
2.1 Traditional language programmes
As pointed out by Althea Ryan (1995) in the Sigma report on 'Language Studies in Higher Education in Denmark', few language programmes fit the categorization 'traditional', i.e. language and literature, since most have put an increasing emphasis on cultural and social matters. One could reasonably argue that courses on society and culture have become part of the 'tradition' alongside those on language and literature. Danish universities offer a variety of language degrees, although some institutions offer a wider range than others. Languages taught include English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, modern Greek, Slavic languages, Finnish, Hungarian, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi and West Greenlandic. Departments of Nordic studies are home to Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. The most popular language subject is English.
2.1.1 Content, objectives and structure of programmes
All university departments produce legally-binding regulations (known as a 'studieordning'), which outline the aims, structure, content and assessment of differing programmes. The typical structure is a 3-year bachelor programme, consisting of either 2 basic (foundation) years in one subject and 1 year in another or 3 years (2 basic years + 1) in one subject. In some cases, the 3rd year in the one-subject BA can have an ambiguous status since it can consist of courses from the 'kandidat' (MA) programme. The bachelor degree forms the basis for the 'kandidat' degree, consisting of 5 years in total. The remaining 2 years after the bachelor can have many variations, depending on whether the bachelor is one-subject or two-subject. For instance, a one-subject BA can be followed by 2 years in the same subject or 0.5 years in the same subject and 1.5 years in another, subsidiary subject. A two-subject BA can be followed by 1.5 years in the main subject and 0.5 years in the subsidiary subject. A thesis in the main subject is a constant element of the 'kandidat' degree. Given this variability, university departments have to lay down programmes of varying length for different levels, taking into account the status of the subject as either the main or subsidiary element of the overall degree. Note when a subsidiary subject, courses may be taken from the bachelor programme. This means that there is no strict correlation between year of study and level in the system as students may not necessarily be moving upwards each year but sideways into a different discipline. All students have the right to continue to a 'kandidat' degree.
With regard to content, it is difficult to generalise across all language subjects in all universities, but usually programmes cover three main areas: language, literature and social/cultural studies. At bachelor level, be this as a main or subsidiary discipline, language subjects typically include grammar, phonetics, translation and written and oral proficiency courses. Departments of languages which are not school subjects, such as Japanese, Chinese, usually offer intensive courses in the first year. Literature courses typically include literary analysis, theory and history. Social/cultural studies tend to be covered in survey courses, which often have a historical dimension. Some, but not many, departments include courses on media and communication. Programmes in English, French, German and Spanish often have an 'area studies' perspective, covering the main countries where the language is spoken (e.g. Great Britain, USA, French Canada, Austria, Latin America). Aarhus University has a number of area studies programmes designed as subsidiary disciplines, e.g. the English Department offer American Studies, Canadian Studies and British Studies. Few universities have an explicit European dimension to their language degrees, although all universities allow their students to study abroad for at least one semester. Aalborg University has a compulsory course in 'Culture and Society in Europe' for all language students in the first year (the university only offers European languages). The University of Southern Denmark offers a European MA in linguistics, where students study at two institutions and are encouraged to take a comparative approach. The university also offers a number of subsidiary language programmes (Dutch, Finnish studies and Czech) which are taken at partner universities elsewhere in Europe. At 'kandidat' level (here referring to main and not subsidiary subjects), there tend to be fewer obligatory courses and more electives; in some institutions, students are free to choose whatever electives they wish; in others, students are expected to choose a minimum of options within the areas of language, literature and social/cultural studies. Obligatory courses at this level are usually further courses in language (e.g. proficiency, translation) and literature.
The objectives of the programmes tend to be formulated in both general and specific terms. Specifically, the bachelor programme aims to prepare students for further advanced study in the language concerned, but more generally it aims to provide linguistic and analytical skills that the student can use in the job market. Similarly, the 'kandidat' programme aims to prepare students for further study (Ph.D), but also to develop linguistic and humanistic skills (e.g. analysis and argument) to be used in a future career.
2.1.2 Careers prospects for graduates
Graduates with a BA degree: The BA is a relatively new qualification in Denmark and is seen as something of an unknown quantity in terms of its appeal to employers. There has, thus, been a tendency for language students on traditional programmes to continue their studies after the BA degree. Those who have stopped with only a BA degree seem to have difficulty finding employment.
Graduates with a 'kandidat' degree: Teaching in the various types of upper-secondary school ('gymnasium', commercial and technical colleges) was the traditional option available for students of those languages which form part of the school curriculum. Increasingly, however, students are finding jobs in public administration, business and the media.
2.1.3 Recent changes in content, objectives and/or structure of programmes
A major structural change in programmes was caused by the introduction of the 3-year BA degree and all departments produced new regulations to account for this. Since then regulations have been revised several times. A recent revision has been required to include ECTS.
In terms of content, there has been little change in recent years with regard to the overall areas studied in language degrees, i.e. language, literature and social/cultural studies, although departments differ in terms of the relative emphasis these areas receive. An examination of the two most recent sets of regulations from a variety of language departments reveals that any changes in content do not follow any particular pattern. Some departments have introduced new courses; for instance, the BA programmes in English, French and German at Aalborg University have courses on argumentation and style analysis, international relations and language, communication and IT, respectively; the Spanish Department at the University of Southern Denmark has new courses on the theory of language and the theory of science. Some departments have dropped courses; for example language history has been omitted from the new bachelor programmes in English at the University of Southern Denmark, and in German at the University of Copenhagen. Generally speaking, language history does not figure prominently in bachelor programmes. Some departments have merged several subject areas into one overall course (e.g. a course on 'language', rather than separate courses on grammar, phonetics etc); others have factored out subject areas into separate courses (e.g. a course on culture and a course on society). There is a slight tendency for language courses to be more contextualised and practical than before e.g. phonetics and grammar related more to proficiency.
2.1.4 Examples of good practice
'Culture and Society in Europe'
Departments of English, French, Spanish and German at Aalborg University
Foreign language students are given a common course in the first semester on issues relating to European culture and society.
The course represents an attempt to bring a European dimension to traditional language programmes.
Contact address: www.sprog.auc.dk
2.1.5 Reasons underlying changes
Departments generally revise their regulations in response to demands from the Faculty, which may in turn be responding to demands from government. Such demands on departments usually relate to structure of programmes and number, weighting and assessment of courses rather than actual content. Often these changes are due to internal financial reasons. Changes in content may arise from changes in the availability of teacher expertise, student demand, poor knowledge base and abilities among students as well as changing social needs.
2.1.6 Identification of needs
18.104.22.168 Seen in relation to the development of language studies
a) The precise role of some language courses requires discussion from the perspective of language learning theories and methods. For instance, courses such as grammar and phonetics have something of an ambivalent status, wavering between the transmission of theoretical, descriptive knowledge about linguistic structure and a means of improving a student's ability to speak and write the language. Similarly, the role of translation in language learning and its emphasis in language teaching requires debate.
b) A greater interdisciplinarity between the language, literature and social/cultural strands of the traditional degree programme might give it greater, overall coherence. Similarly, greater cooperation across language departments might encourage a European dimension to courses.
c) Courses need greater contextualization and a clearer ‘raison d’être’ (see point a) below)
d) Increased use of ICT and multi-media in teaching might be considered; this involves strategic planning and intelligent pedagogy, and should not be done simply for its own sake. Student assessment could be widened to include new media, e.g. creating websites.
22.214.171.124 Seen in relation to non-academic requirements
As language graduates are now seeking employment in a wider number of fields, and seem less interested in the traditional field of teaching, there is a need for relevant courses to meet the demands of the job market. This seems to be especially true for the BA degree:
a) Programmes could be constructed with possible future career options in mind, e.g. a teaching line, a communication line, a research-oriented line. This allows students to profile their degree, be this at bachelor or ‘kandidat’ level, according to their own future career interests.
b) Proficiency courses require a more intercultural slant and could be based on a wider range of genres and communication media.
2.1.7 Measures to be taken at institutional, regional, national and European level to meet the needs identified
Curriculum innovation is a long-term activity, requiring adequate resources in relation to both funding and time. Some points can be made which relate to curriculum innovation in general and not just specific types of programme:
a) Institutions need to manage curriculum innovation in relation to market research, staff recruitment, possible re-training of staff and resource allocation. An appropriate climate for innovation must be created.
b) National bodies must ensure that there is funding for curriculum innovation and that unnecessary bureaucracy does not stifle creativity.
c) European bodies should increase support to pan-European curriculum development initiatives and suggest areas where such initiatives are required.
21.7.1 At first-degree level
First degree here is understood as the BA.
a) Discussions are required at institutional level to identify more specifically the needs of the bachelor student in terms of course content, as opposed to just structure. Where possible, potential employers should be consulted given the qualification's relatively new status.
b) Since courses at BA level go towards giving a student 'teaching competence' for the 'gymnasium', and have to be approved by teacher representatives, it is vital that institutions meet these representatives to discuss realistically the needs of the 'gymnasium' teacher and pupil in the 21st century.
c) Institutions need to provide in-service training for staff in language departments on matters relating to 2nd language learning and teaching, as informed by recent research in the field.
d) Institutions should ensure that procedures are in place to allow for easy cooperation across departments and even across institutions in relation to developing and teaching interdisciplinary and/or more 'European' courses.
126.96.36.199 At post-graduate level
Post-graduate here is understood as 'kandidat' level
a) Questions of coherence need to be discussed. Such discussion might consider establishing profiles at this level and include input from potential employers.
b) Institutions should undertake a needs-analysis in relation to independent 'kandidat' level programmes, which could be open to BA students from a variety of disciplines.
2.2. Alternative programmes
There are varied and ever-increasing alternative programmes, which involve a substantial language component. The major type of alternative programme is the business language degree ('erhvervssprog'), offered at the business schools and some of the universities. The languages taught include English, German, Spanish, French and Italian and these, until recently, had to be taken as combinations (e.g BA in business language, English and French or Spanish and French etc). Aalborg University also offers a programme in language and international studies, where the focus is on one language in the international cultural and business context. Students must spend one semester abroad. Copenhagen Business School offers a bachelor programme in International Business Administration and Japanese. The University of Southern Denmark offers a ‘kandidat’ degree (cand.negot) in language and economics, where students study 2 languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, German and French). In recent years, other alternatives have begun to appear at some universities, although many of these have a strong business orientation: language and tourism, language and IT, international business communication, language and information science, linguistic and cultural communication.
2.2.1 Content, objectives and structure
Focus here will be on the business language degrees as these are the predominant type of alternative programme. At bachelor-level, the business language degree is a 6-semester programme where students follow 2 languages, although this requirement has been recently changed (see 2.2.3). In contrast to some traditional language programmes, the BA here is designed much more transparently as a self-standing unit, clearly demarcated from the 'kandidat' level. This is due in part to the fact that before the bachelor degree was introduced, business language programmes were typically of 2½ years’ duration, leading to a diploma qualification ('korrespondent').
In terms of content, BA programmes focus on language, society and culture and business. Typical subjects include grammar, translation, business communication, written and oral proficiency, society and culture, economics, law and marketing. Students may be permitted to specialise in certain areas, such as legal and technical language, IT and language, marketing. 'Kandidat' programmes leading to the cand.ling.merc degree focus on one language and students choose a particular area of specialisation, e.g. translation/interpreting, public relations, international business communication. Aalborg University offers a 'kandidat’-level programme in language and international relations for BA students in business language where the focus is on one language, intercultural communication and culture/society from an international and business perspective. This includes a compulsory semester abroad. The University of Southern Denmark allows BA students in business language to enrol on to some of their traditional language programmes at 'kandidat' level.
The aim of BA programmes is to give students the linguistic skills required to work in internationally-oriented businesses and organisations. In addition, the BA lays the foundation for those wishing to continue their studies at 'kandidat' level.
The 'kandidat' programmes aim to produce specialists in particular areas of business, who also have competence in foreign languages.
A number of the newer combination degrees have a communication emphasis, applying linguistic and communication theories and, in some cases, information science to primarily the international business context. Some also focus on questions of 2nd language learning and teaching since businesses require personnel to manage and carry out their in-service training programmes. Some of these programmes are at BA level only, others at 'kandidat' level only. All include the study of one, if not two, foreign languages.
These programmes aim to equip graduates to deal with varying types of communicative task in the international arena.
2.2.2 Career prospects for graduates
The alternative language programmes are much more job-oriented than the traditional language degrees. Graduates, both at BA and ‘kandidat’ levels, are trained for business and commercial contexts, often with a focus on specific skills. Figures from 1999 indicate that 54% of students with BAs in business language stop their studies, presumably to find employment. Of the 46% who continue, 36% of these follow ‘kandidat’ programmes leading to the ‘cand.ling.merc’ degree. Graduates tend to find employment in marketing, advertising, international or internationally-oriented organisations and businesses.
As some of the newer degrees have only just started, it is too soon to gauge their success in terms of graduate employment.
2.2.3 Recent changes in content, objectives and/or structure of programmes
As with traditional language programmes, a major structural change for the business language degree was the introduction of the BA. Since then, departmental regulations have appeared in several versions. On the basis of the two most recent sets of regulations from a selection of departments, no significant changes in terms of general structure and course content are apparent, although institutions have in some cases reduced the number of courses or restructured courses under different titles. An exception is the BA in business language at the Copenhagen Business School, which no longer requires students to follow two languages. Instead of a second, foreign language, students may choose a module of courses in Communication, European Studies or International Marketing. This change reflects the new centralised regulations for degrees in business language and international business communication, which allow students to take one language, rather than two, replacing the second foreign language with subjects such as IT, communication, and media studies.
As noted above, some institutions have introduced new degree programmes in recent years. Examples include Language and Information Science, Language and Tourism, 2nd Language Business Communication (University of Southern Denmark); Cultural/Linguistic Encounters (Roskilde).
2.2.4 Examples of good practice
European studies module
Modern languages for international business communication, Copenhagen Business School
Students may opt for this module combined with a foreign language.
This option reflects an attempt to introduce a European dimension to the business language degree, but this is done at the expense of a second foreign language.
BA in Linguistic and cultural communication (‘sproglig og kulturel formidling’)
Universities of Southern Denmark (Sønderborg) and Flensborg
This programme combines 2 languages (English and German or English and Danish) with communication studies and didactics and involves cross-border collaboration on the teaching level.
The programme reflects curriculum development based on cooperation between two institutions.
Contact address: www.studieguide.sdu.dk/studier/index.php?uid=69
2.2.5 Reasons underlying changes
The points noted in 2.1.5 apply here.
2.2.6 Identification of needs
188.8.131.52 Seen in relation to the development of language studies
a) As with traditional language degrees, the role of some language courses needs to be discussed from the perspective of 2nd language learning.
b) The question of number of languages studied in these combined degrees and competence levels aimed for merit discussion.
184.108.40.206 Seen in relation to non-academic requirements
a) Proficiency courses require a more intercultural slant and could be based on a wider range of genres and communication media.
b) An intercultural dimension should be assured in all types of degree
c) The tendency to develop 'kandidat' level programmes with varying foci and independent of a specific BA programme is encouraging. More of these are required and they could be designed for a wider range of BA students.
2.2.7 Measures to be taken at institutional, regional, national and European level to meet the needs identified
220.127.116.11 At first-degree level
First degree here is understood as the BA.
a) Discussions are required at institutional level to identify more specifically the needs of the bachelor student in terms of course content, as opposed to just structure. Where possible, actual and potential employers should be consulted.
b) Institutions need to provide in-service training for staff in business language departments on matters relating to 2nd language learning and teaching, as informed by recent research in the field.
c) Institutions should ensure that procedures are in place to allow for easy cooperation across departments and even across institutions in relation to developing and teaching interdisciplinary and/or more 'European' courses.
18.104.22.168 At post-graduate level
Post-graduate here is understood as 'kandidat' level
As with 22.214.171.124, institutions should undertake a needs-analysis in relation to independent 'kandidat' level programmes.
Programmes for language and language-related professions
3. Innovations in the training of language teachers
3.1 Language teaching and learning in primary and secondary school education
The state primary and lower secondary school, known as the ‘folkeskole’, caters for pupils aged 7-15/16. All schools must offer English (from the 4th year) and German (from the 7th year), but only English is a compulsory subject for pupils. French, Spanish and common immigrant languages may be offered, but this is optional.
The state upper secondary-level schools (‘gymnasium’, commercial and technical colleges) cater for pupils aged 15/16–18/19. The ‘gymnasium’ schools offer the final school-leaving examination (‘studentereksamen’) and, in some cases, the higher preparatory examination (HF). All schools must offer English and German, but it is no longer compulsory for schools to teach French. This language joins the other optional offerings, such as Spanish, Italian and Russian. A few schools offer Japanese. The only compulsory language for pupils is English; they must take at least one, if not two, other language subject(s), but they are free to choose which one(s). The commercial and technical colleges offer vocationally-oriented, rather than the general, upper-secondary programmes, HHX and HTX respectively. English is compulsory on both and one other foreign language is compulsory on the HHX (commercial) programme. Foreign languages are also optional subjects on both programmes.
There are private schools at both the primary/lower secondary and upper secondary levels, all of which receive state funding. These include German minority schools in Southern Jutland and immigrant schools; teaching here is partially carried out through languages other than Danish (e.g. German, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu). There are several International Schools or schools with an international section, most of which are located in the Copenhagen area. The majority of these give instruction in English for pupils (aged 6-16) temporarily resident in Denmark and the exams taken are usually internationally-based (international baccalauréat etc). The teachers here have international qualifications.
Figures from 2000 indicate that 94% of Danish schoolchildren remained in the educational system after the ‘folkeskole’: 53% went on to general upper secondary education and 41% went to vocational colleges.
3.2 Initial teacher training
Primary/lower-secondary teacher training, that is training for the ‘folkeskole’, involves a 4-year course. Upper secondary-level teacher training, known as the ‘pædagogikum’, is a postgraduate qualification and is either partially or completely an in-service programme, depending on which type of upper secondary-level education is involved. Teachers of basic courses in the commercial and technical colleges need not have any formal teaching qualification; rather emphasis is on their business or technical experience.
3.2.1 Institutions responsible for training
Primary/lower secondary teacher training is the responsibility of teacher-training colleges (‘lærerseminarier’). Upper secondary-level teacher training is organised by The Ministry of Education for general, upper secondary education (‘gymnasium’ and ‘HF’) and by the Danish Institute for Educational Training of Vocational teachers (DEL) for vocational, upper secondary education (commercial and technical colleges).
3.2.2 Content, objectives and structures of programmes
The training of ‘folkeskole’ teachers is subject to centralised, government regulations, which stipulate the overall structure and content of the training. This consists of a 4-year course of studies, involving core subjects, such as educational theory, pedagogy, psychology, religious studies as well as practical teaching practice, and main subjects, that is Danish or mathematics plus 3 others chosen from the natural sciences, humanities and practical or aesthetic disciplines. Centralised guidelines exist for each subject. For instance, language subjects cover four main areas: proficiency, language theory and use, culture and society, language pedagogy. The main languages offered at teacher-training colleges are English, German and French. The teacher training colleges have considerably more female than male students: 2 out of 3 students are women.
Upper secondary-level teacher training is also governed by central regulations. The ‘pædagogikum’ for general upper-secondary education is based on the two subjects that form the student’s kandidat degree. It consists of two parts: practical training and theoretical coursework, which includes general and subject-related pedagogical theory. The practical training is based in the school to which the student is assigned; coursework is often in the form of residential courses. The ‘pædagogikum’ for vocationally-oriented, upper-secondary education is offered to teachers already employed in the vocational colleges. It too is a combination of theory (pedagogical theories and didactics) and practice (related to the teacher’s own work).
3.2.3 Career prospects for graduates
Students who have a primary/lower secondary teacher qualification usually find employment in the state primary school (‘folkeskole’) or other types of state school, and private schools. Job opportunities in adult education also exist.
Students who have an upper secondary-level teacher qualification usually find employment in the state or private educational system. The number of places made available for general, upper secondary-level teacher training is decided by the Ministry of Education on the basis of projected needs. Thus, in theory, each person trained should have good opportunities to find a teaching job. An ageing teacher population and a growing number of young people bodes well for career prospects in teaching.
3.2.4 Recent changes in content, objectives and/or structure of programmes
The government regulations for teacher-training at primary-level date from 1998. These increased the number of main subjects that students must take from 2 to 4 and made the study of either Danish or Mathematics compulsory. They also introduced stricter requirements in relation to examinations. The aim was to ensure better and wider subject-specific training, which in turn allowed for a change of practice in the schools: teachers could be restricted to teaching their main subjects only, rather than teaching subjects which they had not studied as their main disciplines. Descriptions of the individual language disciplines were made more detailed in terms of aims and greater emphasis was placed on communicative aspects of language, intercultural perspectives and the use of IT in teaching.
The current regulations governing the ‘Pædagogikum’ for general upper-secondary education date from 1998; these introduced a 2-part structure, a pre-employment phase and an in-service phase. This model is currently under discussion, including proposals to introduce 2-3 year trainee teacher positions at schools for graduates. Given the change of government in November 2001, it is unclear when, or if, the revised model will be introduced.
3.2.5 Examples of good practice
Given the nature of government regulations, there is little significant variation in structure and general content across institutions with regard to initial teacher training. Some teacher-training colleges differ with regard to the number of languages they offer; all teach English, most teach German, and some also teach French. The web-addresses of teacher-training colleges are available from www.uvm.dk as is information about the ‘pædagogikum’. Note that many of the websites are in Danish only.
3.2.6 Reasons underlying these changes
Changes in the regulations dealing with initial teacher training aim to ensure that teachers have an appropriate level of relevant expertise in the subjects they teach. In addition, the changes reflect a concern with more detailed statement of objectives.
Recent and planned changes in the regulations governing the ‘pædagogikum’ aim to make the programme more coherent and, hopefully, more attractive to graduates.
3.2.7 Identification of needs
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a) Although the situation has improved, more emphasis on applied linguistics is needed; this is especially true of language degrees at universities, which form the basis of general upper, secondary-level teacher training.
b) A greater choice of languages might be offered at teacher-training colleges. Although the regulations allow for Spanish, Italian and immigrant languages to be taught, no teacher-training college does so.
c) Greater coherence between the regulations governing (language) teacher training and those governing the teaching of languages in the schools (i.e. curriculum requirements) is required to ensure that teachers are receiving relevant training.
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Multicultural dimensions do not figure prominently in the training of teachers. Given the changing nature of Danish society, and European societies generally, in this regard, multicultural approaches need to be considered.
3.3.7 Measures to be taken at institutional, regional, national and European level to meet the needs identified
a) Institutions should ensure that applied linguistic subjects of relevance to language learning and teaching are taught as compulsory courses. The curriculum could be widened to include other languages.
b) Bodies responsible for national regulations should ensure that the various regulations cohere and that they reflect the multicultural aspects of languages and their associated societies. Institutions should be encouraged to extend their choice of languages. The possibility of including other languages in the regulations governing the curriculum of teacher-training establishments should be considered.
c) The Ministry of Education in its role as coordinator of one type of ‘pædagogikum’ might consider the inclusion of a period of study spent abroad for trainee teachers in language.
d) Increased European funding for trainee primary/lower secondary and upper secondary teachers to spend time abroad. This may have to be outside the Socrates programme as requirements of reciprocity make the establishment of exchanges more difficult for a country whose language is not widely spoken or taught in the EU.
3.3 Continuing teacher education (in service)
3.3.1 Institutions responsible for training
In-service training takes place in the Danish Institute for Educational Training of Vocational teachers (DEL) and the Danish University of Education, which has centres country-wide, as well as in some universities and teacher-training colleges. In addition, a wide variety of organisations provide such training. For instance, the many Teachers’ Associations organise courses in their subject areas and arrange study tours abroad. These courses are approved by the Ministry of Education and are given financial support. Various regional centres ('Amtscentraler') also offer courses, but these are only recognized by the Ministry if they are arranged in cooperation with the Teachers’ Associations. It should be noted that the commercial and technical schools do not receive money directly for in-service training as they are financed under the taximeter system. It is up to the individual school to budget for in-service courses and the individual teacher to apply to the school for funding.
3.3.2 Content, objective and structure of programmes
Programmes based at the Danish University of Education and its centres include diplomas and degrees in pedagogy as well as short courses on topics such as Danish as a second language, teaching bilinguals, and various social and cultural themes. The Danish University of Education aims primarily to train people working in the primary/lower secondary sector.
In-service training for general, upper secondary teachers is largely carried out through the Teachers’ Associations in the form of courses and other activities. The content of such courses and activities is so varied as to make generalisation impossible. DEL offers courses for teachers at vocational colleges, but these are often tailor-made at the request of the colleges themselves. The University of Southern Denmark opened a Danish Institute of Pedagogy for general upper secondary teachers in 1999 to provide MA and PhD programmes. The Master’s programme focuses on 5 areas: management, counselling/guidance, pedagogy, didactics and IT. Departments of education at the universities also provide programmes that could be of interest to in-service teachers. For instance, the Department of Educational Research at Roskilde University have a graduate school in life-long learning, which provides the framework for a wide variety of PhD projects.
3.3.3 Recent changes in content, objectives and/or structure of programmes
The establishment of the Danish University of Education in July 2000 entailed a merging of various in-service, teacher training establishments into one institution. To what extent this change will be reflected in future in-service programmes is not as yet clear. There is, however, a greater emphasis on research in the new institution, which offers Masters and PhD programmes in pedagogy. Similarly, the recently-established Institute of Pedagogy for upper secondary teachers at the University of Southern Denmark offers research opportunities to teachers.
July 2000 also saw the creation of a new category of degree, the vocational BA (‘professionsBA’), which will apply to teacher training, although precisely how is not yet clear.
A further change which may have an effect on the nature of in-service training for upper secondary teachers is the new salary structure currently being negotiated. This will take into account qualifications, including in-service training. Up until now, in-service training has been at a teacher’s own initiative and has not been related to salary.
3.3.4 Examples of good practice
Given the nature of in-service training, the notion of good practice is not really applicable.
The types of in-service programmes and courses available can be seen online at:
www.dpu.dk (Danish University of Education website which provides links to its various regional centres). Note many of these sites are in Danish.
www.sdu.dk/hum/dig (homepage of the Danish Institute of Pedagogy for upper secondary teachers, which gives links to the homepages of the various teacher associations and the courses they offer). Note many of these sites are in Danish.
www.educ.ruc.dk (homepage of the Department of Educational Research, Roskilde University)
3.3.5 Reasons underlying these changes
The establishment of a Danish University of Education was to ensure better-quality educational programmes and research in the area of pedagogy.
The new category of BA relates to general changes in the further education sector in Denmark.
3.3.6 Identification of needs
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a) More structured in-service training in relation to language studies is required. Currently, it relies largely on an ad hoc selection of courses.
b) In-service training themes should include multicultural perspectives and encourage interdisciplinary approaches (e.g. integration of language and literature). An applied linguistic component should be compulsory.
c) Teachers wishing to take research qualifications need to be encouraged to think of research topics in the area of language learning and teaching .
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a) The traditional dividing-line between primary/lower secondary and upper secondary teachers could be eased in the area of in-service training and points of contact developed. Better communication is needed between the bodies responsible for in-service training and the educational establishments and employers that serve students coming out of primary/lower secondary and upper secondary schools.
b) The status of in-service training needs to be examined; currently, it is optional and, if undertaken, is not necessarily rewarded in financial or other terms.
3.3.7 Measures to be taken at institutional, regional, national and European level to meet the needs identified
a) Institutions could design and offer structured in-service training for language teachers on relevant themes
b) PhD scholarships designed for teachers should be available in the area of languages
c) Increased funding for teachers to take language ‘refresher’ courses at home or abroad should be considered
d) More structured and strategic management of in-service training generally is required and it should be linked more clearly to career development.