Nordic Conference 2010


”Professionalisering af voksenlæreren?”

– En nordisk konference om kompetenceudvikling af voksenlærere

Professionalization of the adult teachers - challenges and chances

The Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL) considers the professionalization of adult educators as a crucial issue and during the past two years it has been intensively involved in the debate on the new roles of adult educators and the challenges this pose to further education programs.

In March 2010, 100 researchers and practitioners met at Malmö University at the Professionalization of Adult Educators Conference to learn about the latest research findings and to discuss the key issues concerning professionalization of adult educators.

In her opening Antra Carlsen the coordinator for The Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL) summed up, that the aim of the conference was to encourage the discussion about the professionalization of adult educators at a Nordic level, and at the same time create a mutual inspiring meeting between Nordic and European Ideas in this field of further training of adult educators:

“Competence development and raising the quality among adult educators has been a priority area for several years. Also the current strategy plan for the Nordic Council of ministers stresses the importance for raising the quality in teacher training and strives for better cooperation between the sectors of research, education and the sector of economy,” said Antra Carlsen and continued talking about issues,  that needed to be adressed:

“NVL's work has been to give adult educators more, better and different possibilities for further training in order to keep up with the challenges with work in different environments, different workplaces and in multicultural groups.  The work that has been going on in the Nordic network adresses the areas that we believe is still needed for the development. We know that the profession of the adult educator is not clearly defined in all the countries. We also know, that in the Nordic countries the training and education is rather theoretical and reflective less possibilities for practical methological training for meeting the challenges for diversed groups. We know that integrational ICT and mobil learning organizing flexible paths is not a mainstream within adult education programs.
We also need to look at the teacher training programs to see if creativity and innovation are integrated enough and how to improve these programs so that we can get the tools for the challenging working situation.”

The Nordic and European research brought together

The contributors at conference showed that being an adult educator consist of many things. It is a question of sociologi, psykology, pedagogig and social science and others. So there are more to be an adult educator than just an educator. That it self brings more status, more recognition and more identity to the role of being an adult educator.

The key notes were delivered by both Nordic and European researchers. Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Nuissl von Rein, DIE, German Institute for Adult Education talked about professionalization of Adult Educators. Challenges at European and global levels. Another key note was given by Hanna Walden, senior team coach in Team Academy and Partus learning Network. She talked about An innovative approach to entrepreneuars education through Team Academy experience” (link til artikel). Key note was also given by Dr. Jaap van Lakerfeld, Director of PLATform Opleiding, Onderwijs en Organisatie BV (PLATO). University of Leiden, who talked about Adult education in state of flux – about changing conditions and changing competences. And the final key note were given by Katrin Hjort, professor, University of Southern Denmark, SDU, who talked about Professionalising Adult Educators. Threat or possibility for Adult Education?”

Professionalization should not be academic

Johan Anderson from Copenhagen Adult Education Institute; CAEI was one of the approximately 100 participants who enjoyed the key note speakers talk about their vast experience on adult educators. Johan Anderson said:  “There is a trend in the Nordic region today, which indicates that the wish for an academic adult education will grow. I do not think is a good trend, because we will be missing practice. And if you must be a good adult teacher, then you have to have much practical experience. Therefore we have to examine, what is required of a good adult educator - and this conference will certainly help doing so.  It has been interesting to learn about the Nordic projects and of course this conference provides an excellent opportunity to discuss and network with the other participants.

Another participant who also had a very positive impression of the conference, Eva Andersson, associate professor of Pedagogic at Göteborg University was wondering about what we mean, when we are talking about professionalization of the adult educator. She also thought that the discussion of market orientation in relation to professionalization was a very interesting issue. Can the market orientation go hand in hand with the professionalization or is it two opposite things? Another issue, that Eva Andersson pointed out was how can NVL help professionalization at the Nordic level? And finally she said: “I am excited to go home and digest all the impressions and contributions and reflect and discuss about these issues. I've had a lot of benefit from networking at the conference. I think, that it is important to meet other people who have a different approach than myself.”

The Professionalization of Adult Educators Conference were organized by NVL and The NVL taskforce on Adult Education, Nordplus Adult projects: BABAR, Needassesment, Malmö University

Program (pdf)

Foto: Västra hamnen och Turning Torso Malmö, fotograf: Johannes Jansson/
Foto:Västra hamnen och Turning Torso Malmö, fotograf: Johannes Jansson/