During the mid-1900s Sweden underwent a process of change in light of industrialization, urbanization, and the social repercussions of the First World War. The social issue was extensively discussed in pedagogical and cultural contexts in which folkbildning (liberal/popular education) played an important role in the democratization of society. With inspiration ... (Show more)
During the mid-1900s Sweden underwent a process of change in light of industrialization, urbanization, and the social repercussions of the First World War. The social issue was extensively discussed in pedagogical and cultural contexts in which folkbildning (liberal/popular education) played an important role in the democratization of society. With inspiration from the Settlement movement in England, pedagogues such as Natanael Beskow and the author Ebba Pauli took the initiative to start Birkagården's folk high school in 1912 in Stockholm. Birkagården was a social and pedagogical experiment that aimed to overcome class differences and give the working class the opportunity to gain knowledge in social and political issues. The pedagogical program can be looked at as a progressive alternative in relation to the tradition-based educational ideals that were represented during this time in Sweden.
The purpose of the conference paper is to analyze historical documents to gain knowledge about Birkagårdens pedagogical practice during 1912–1918. The following questions will be explored: How was the pedagogical practice organized? Which pedagogical principles distinguished the teaching at the school? How did the pedagogical practice influence the children and the teachers at the school? Although the analysis will include all school stages, the focus will be on education for the younger children.
Birkagården's archive includes extensive source material that reflects Birkagårdens history. For example, historical documents from 1912 and onwards include annual reports, anniversary publications, and commemorative publications compiled by employees and visitors. All Ebba Pauli and Natanael Beskow's publications are preserved in the archive.
Theoretically this progressive educational community will be referred to as minor edutopia. Minor edutopias can be regarded as educational utopian spaces that emerge between past experiences of social and political turbulence and carry the expectation to find a way towards a better future.
By the mid-1900s, the modern school system began to develop, a process marked by the establishment of the elementary school. This paper (re)connects to the historical past in order to gain a deeper understanding of this minor edutopian community, and the pedagogical ideas that were implemented therein, in relation to the development of the school system after the mid-1900s.
Aronson, Torbjörn, ”Teologi och engagemang. Siri Dahlquist och Emilia Fogelklou i folkrörelse-Sverige”, i Siri Dahlquist: psalmförfattare, prästfru och teolog, red. Vivi-Ann Grönqvist, (Skellefteå, 2012).
Barton, H. Arnold, “The Conscience of the Rich: Djursholm, Birkastaden, and Swedish Liberalism”, Scandinavian Studies, Vol. 80, No. 2 (2008), s. 167–184.
”Birkagården: Den första tiden”, i Birkagårdens årsbok 1995, red. Rolf Johansson, (Stockholm, 1995).
Sundgren, Gunnar, Folkbildningsforskning en kunskapsöversikt del II (1998). Annika Pastuhov, Johan Lövgren & Henrik Nordvall, Forskning om nordisk folkhögskola: En översikt 1998–2018 med sammanfattningar, Mimers småskrifter, (2019),
Wikström, Charlott, “Himmelriket på jorden: Den allra vanligaste människan i Emilia Fogelklous edutopi”, i Moderna pedagogiska utopier, red. Anders Burman, Joakim Landahl & Daniel Lövheim, (Huddinge, 2021).
Winter, Jay, Dreams of Peace and Freedom – Utopian moments in the 20th century, (London, 2006). (Show less)