The educational philosophy and pedagogical practices of a Danish children's folk high school

The educational philosophy and pedagogical practices of a Danish children's folk high school


Peter Hornbæk Frostholm




With a starting point in an ethnographic fieldwork carried out at a children’s folk high school in Aarhus, Denmark during the COVID pandemic in autumn 2020, this feature article highlights how classic folk high school philosophy and pedagogy rooted within the ideas of Danish philosopher and theologian N.F.S. Grundtvig comes alive through my analyses as an underlying and somewhat subtle theme in the pedagogical practices at the children’s folk high school. In other words, this article seeks to explore how folk high school pedagogy is addressed in a modern take on a folk high school and seeks to frame what seems to be the pedagogical consequence of the pedagogy being carried out by volunteers.

The analyses are presented in two parts. Part one or what I call the educational philosophy of the place, with its throwback to Grundtvig, is rooted within short samples of the fundamental principles behind philosophical works of Grundtvig and shows how these seemingly dated ideas are practised as the educational philosophical framework of the school. Part two frames a brief presentation of theoretical notions of pedagogical tact found within the works of Dutch-Canadian pedagogue and professor Max van Manen and shows how the volunteers running the school are indeed practising pedagogy, some of them without having any formal qualification to do so.


Full content in PDF


Folk high school, Grundtvig, educational philosophy, pedagogical tact, Nordic values


Published in Volume 28(3) Nordic values and schooling during COVID-19: how to balance comprehensive education and sustainable pandemic regulations,