27 SES 02 A, Multicultural and second language education
The concept of Bildung is central in the Didaktik tradition of education - dominant in Continental and Nordic Europe. While deemed impossible to translate into English, the German concept Bildung is a noun meaning something like “being educated, educatedness” (Hopman, 2007). It also carries the connotations of the word bilden “to form, to shape”. Other terms used to translate term Bildung include ‘formation’, ‘self-formation’, ‘cultivation’, ‘self-development’, and ‘cultural process’ (Siljander & Sutinen, 2012). In classical sense, Bildung encompasses the contents of assisting individuals to achieve their self-determination by developing and using their reason without others’ guidance and acquiring the cultural objects of the world in which those individuals are born into and situated in (Klafki, 2000; Hudson, 2003).
A second strong education tradition in the Anglo-Saxon sphere is based on the utilitarian concept of "literacy", which on the surface is a "straightforward" basic educational offer. The concept bears signs of utilitarianism since it emphasizes teaching of useful knowledge and competencies building on the curriculum tradition. It is particularly important here that neither the process nor the outcome are emphasized. Of importance is the psychometrically measurable output (competence, skills)
Under Klafki’s critical-constructive Didaktik, Bildung needs to promote self-determination, co-determination, and solidarity, which in Klafki’s words are defined as follows: “Self-determination: Each and every member of society is to be enabled to make independent responsible decisions about her or his individual relationships and interpretations of an interpersonal, vocational, ethical or religious nature. Co-determination: Each and every member of society has the right but also the responsibility to contribute together with others to the cultural, economic, social and political development of the community. Solidarity: […] means that the individual right to self-determination and opportunities for co-determination can only be represented and justified if it is associated not only with the recognition of equal rights but also with active help for those whose opportunities for self-determination and co-determination are limited or non-existent due to social conditions, lack of privilege, political restrictions or oppression. (Klafki, 1998, p. 314, emphasis added).
Further, Bildung is defined both as a process and outcome of restrained teaching in schools (Hopmann 2007), and our aim is to search for evidence of Bildung as an outcome among diverse populations across nine European countries that have already completed their compulsory schooling. While theoretically much scholarly work has focused on theories of Bildung, empirically there are no prior studies that have tested Bildung-related concepts such as self-determination, co-determination, and solidarity. To this end, this study is an attempt to examine the empirical soundness of these three concepts, using quantitative data of the European Social Survey (ESS).
Primarily, we asking two overarching research questions: How do Central European and Nordic countries compare in terms of self-determination, co-determination and solidarity especially with non-Didaktik/Non-Bildung countries such as Great Britain and Ireland? For this question, our hypothesis is that Central European and Nordic countries will show higher means of Bildung-related concepts than Anglo-Saxon countries in our study. And second, what are the factors associated with self-determination, co-determination and solidarity individually and Bildung more broadly? The second question is exploratory in nature and no hypothesis is developed.
The study uses data from European Social Survey (ESS), which collects data in 36 European countries every two years since 2002. The survey is iterative and all the data from all eight ESS rounds from 2002 to 2016 are publicly available for researchers for secondary data analyses. Our final ESS sample from nine countries from all eight ESS rounds has responses from about 140,000 respondents. The ESS survey covers topics like: media and social trust; politics; subjective well-being, social exclusion, religion, national and ethnic identity; climate change; welfare attitudes; gender, year of birth and household grid; socio-demographics, and human values. In this study, we operationalize the research questions by applying the variables under the human values domain of ESS. At this stage of our work, we used one variable from ESS data to correspond to one of our three concepts of interests, namely how important it is for the respondent to make own decisions and be free as a proxy for self-determination, how important it is to be loyal and close to others as proxy for co-determination, and how important it is to help and care for others as a proxy for solidarity. Responses are coded as ‘Not like me at all’ to ‘Very much like me’ in questions such as ‘how important it is for them to make own decision and be free’. Stata software is used. In the first step, descriptive quantitative analyses are performed to address the first research question on how countries compare across the relevant concepts of the study. In line with our theoretical framework, we focus in nine out of 36 countries covered by the ESS survey, including: Austria, Switzerland, and Germany as Continental Europe and Didaktik/Bildung influenced countries; Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland as Nordic Europe and possibly Didaktik/Bildung influenced countries; and Great Britain and Ireland as possible Anglo-Saxon European and curriculum tradition influenced countries. In the second step of the analysis, we rely on multiple regression methods to test what factors are associated with self-determination, co-determination, solidarity and Bildung, and variables for these analyses are drawn mainly from respondent’s background, such as gender, year of birth, citizenship status, education opportunities taken in past 12 months, and religion. All eight ESS rounds of data from 2002 to 2016 are explored in the study. Appropriate design and sampling weights as suggested by ESS documentation are applied in order to obtain unbiased results.
Preliminary results from the analyses conducted with the latest ESS 2016 data show that Continental Europe/Didaktik and Bildung influenced countries, namely Austria, Switzerland, and Germany indeed show the highest mean values for our proxies of self-determination, co-determination, and solidarity among all nine countries in the sample. After recoding, the responses range from 1 to 4, 4 meaning respondents responded these human values were very much in line with their own. In all three items, Continental Europe countries as a group had the highest average mean, then came Nordic countries, then Anglo-Saxon countries, suggesting that the tradition of Bildung is strongest in the Continental Europe, and as a result Bildung outcomes such as self-determination, co-determination and solidarity are most present there. With regard to self-determination for example, the results varied from the high of 3.26 in Switzerland to 2.61 in Norway. These preliminary findings are in line with our theoretical understanding of theories of Didaktik and Bildung as well as education systems in respective participating countries as we expected values for the Bildung-related concepts to be the highest in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. An analysis of these three items with a pooled sample of data from seven ESS rounds covering 2002-2014 showed similar trends to the results obtained with 2016 data. The differences in results between Didaktik and curriculum countries are statistically significant.
Hopmann, S. (2007). Restrained teaching: The common core of Didaktik. European Educational Research Journal, 6(2), 109-124. Hudson, B. (2003). Approaching educational research from the tradition of critical-constructive Didaktik. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 11(2), 173–187. Klafki, W. (1998). Characteristics of critical-constructive didaktik. In B. Gundem & S. Hopmann (Eds.), Didaktik and/or Curriculum (pp. 29-46). New York: Peter Lang. Klafki, W. (2000). The significance of classical theories of bildung for a contemporary concept of allgemeinbildung. In I. Westbury, S. Hopmann & K. Riquarts (Eds.), Teaching as a Reflective Practice: The German Didaktik Tradition (pp. 85-107). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Siljander, P., & Sutinen (2012). Introduction. In P. Siljander, A. Kivelä & A. Sutinen (Eds.), Theories of Bildung and growth: Connections and controversies between continental educational thinking and American pragmatism (pp. 1-18). Springer.
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