The call for proposals seeks to fund workshops that will improve teacher education to benefit society at large, while Norway’s Education Law §1.1 states that “education shall give insight into cultural diversity and show respect for individual views” as well as “promote democracy, equality, and academic ways of thinking” by encouraging pupils to “think critically and act ethically and environmentally” as in addition to opposing all forms of discrimination (Kunnskapsdepartementet).
In higher education, many of the ethical values described above are developed through students’ introduction to theoretical frameworks which aim to help them perceive, analyze, and understand the world around them. However, Norway’s Education Law implies that any theory informing pedagogical practice ought to be transformative, gesturing to the inclusion not of pure theory but of critical theory. Critical theory seeks to society it in order to promote positive social change, justice, equity, and democracy. Since education is an interdisciplinary field that brings together many critical-theoretical methodologies and practices, finding inroads into relevant cross-disciplinary critical theory is central to the rubric of education.
However, critical theory is difficult to understand and therefore challenging to introduce to undergraduates. Despite this, developing a basic understanding of central critical theory is essential to students’ academic success. As teacher education has now become an integrated master’s program, it is increasingly important that students be introduced to relevant critical theory early and equipped to apply it in their academic work and pedagogical practice.
This proposal seeks funding for a two-week workshop for university educators. The workshop will aim to demonstrate the pedagogical, ethical, social, and political relevance of critical theory, and to help participants develop concrete strategies to introduce critical theory to undergraduate teacher trainees.