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Programme - Togetherness Conference 2021



  • Tuesday October 5th - Extra program activities - School visits, cultural events, dinner etc.

    13:00             School visits (choose one)
                          1. Free school (primary and lower secondary education)
                          2. Efterskole (lower secondary education – boarding school)

    17:00             Dialogue: Friendships vaccinate against prejudices
                          Özlem Cekic, chairperson The Association of Bridge Builders

    18:30             Dinner                     

    20.00             Pianist and storyteller Rasmus Skov Borring

Wednesday October 6th 2021 - International Conference

8:30 Registration and coffee
9:00 Welcome

Welcome speech
Moderator:  Anna Bruun, The Danish National Centre for Foreign Languages

9:30 1st keynote address:

Trying to be at home in the world: Education for the present

Professor Gert Biesta, Maynooth University

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    Education has become a central concern of policy makers and has not just created much unhealthy pressure. It has also distracted education from the much more urgent questions that are facing humanity: questions of the sustainability of our planet and the sustainability of our human togetherness. Here we find an entirely different agenda for education, which is often discussed in terms of global citizenship, intercultural understanding and democratic dannelse. While these terms are helpful in pointing at a different concern for and direction of education, they run the risk of putting a different pressure on education. In this contribution Gert Biesta will explore these issues, raise critical questions about global citizenship, the role of understanding in education, and the connection between education and democracy, and outline a more precise and in a sense different orientation for education.

10:30 Coffee break
11:00 2nd keynote address:

Global Citizenship - Concepts. Models and Applications

Professor Emeritus Michael Byram, Durham University

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    It is a commonplace to say the world is globalized and internationalized, although often without further reflection or analysis of what these concepts mean.

    Citizenship education often includes encouraging learners to become involved in ‘active citizenship’ in the here and now - and not just at some point in the future, after the end of education. The ethical issues involved in this for teachers is another problematic dimension of this area which Michael Byram will attempt to analyse, leaving the audience to decide for themselves what ethical stance they might take.

    Our conference title, finally, introduces the notion of dannelse which takes us beyond the instrumental purposes of citizenship education. Michael Byram will venture some suggestions and ideas about what this means and how it might impact on the practices of citizenship education.

    His purpose in this lecture will therefore be to examine concepts and models in some detail and, where possible, illustrate them with practices in education systems.

12:00 Lunch




13:15 Choose one workshop:

1. Meeting the challenges of our time in education: Global citizenship education, intercultural understanding and democracy

Professor Gert Biesta, Maynooth University

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    The workshop will build on the issues raised in the keynote, focusing on the question what it means for the practice of education – the practice of teaching, of curriculum, of school organisation, school architecture, leadership, and policy – to engage with what ‘our present time’ may be asking from us as educators.

2. Global Citizenship - Concepts. Models and Applications

Professor Michael Byram, Durham University

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    The workshop will take further and give more opportunity to discuss the concepts and models introduced in my lecture. This will include matters of how to introduce ‘social identity’ concepts into the classroom, and how learners might be led to greater understanding of their own identities and the social groups to which they belong - including the notion of ‘being a world citizen’. The issue of assessment will be one focus. The Council of Europe’s Portfolio for (self) assessment will provide the starting point and the purpose here will be not only to look at a practical example but also to consider the ethical issues. This then takes us to the wider ethical issues of citizenship education which include matters of moral relativism or universalism, and Michael Byram will attempt to stimulate discussion of these and the practical consequences.


3. Translanguaging and global education. Is there a link? (cancelled)


4. Creating global capability through travel and education

Associate Professor Iben Jensen, Aalborg Universitet

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    This workshop will focus on the potentials and challenges in travel practices as part of education. Drawing on a field study from Danish efterskoles (2017-2018) the workshop will discuss how all forms of travel both seems to have a potential for learning but also are challenged by the global power structure which reproduce the relation between students from global north and global south. The workshop will also discuss to which extent we are able to develop global capability through travelling and how new didactics could be evolved cultural encounters at home.

5. The power relations in global citizenship education – a challenge and an opportunity for learning

Associate Professor Louise Tranekjær, Roskilde University

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    Power relations form an integral part of globalization processes, not only in terms of more or less adversarial relations between nations, religious and ethnic groups, but also in terms of migration, mobility, citizenship issues and not least in terms of knowledge and education. This workshop focuses on the latter dimension of power, which in many ways reflects the others in the sense that curricula, educational policies and specific teaching activities are shaped on the basis of particular nationally, politically, ideologically and culturally shaped ideas about what is to be taught and learned by whom. Such ideas are based on, and supported by global power structures and relations. The workshop will take an empirical point of departure in Louise Tranekjærs’ field work on teaching activities related to global citizenship, intercultural dialogue, citizenship and peace education. On that basis, the workshop will explore the ways in which power relations manifest themselves not only in curricular activities but also in the interactional and social relations between students and teachers as they act, perform and engage with one another in the cultural and linguistic encounters that different learning situations involve. The workshop will discuss and identify how power relations play out in different intercultural learning contexts and how they present a potential challenge but also an opportunity for transformation of students’ (and teachers’) understanding of themselves and the other.  

6. Digital challenges for intercultural dannelse in school practices

Associate Professor Maria Pia Pettersson, UCL University College

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    ‘Co-existence or no existence’ one of Piet Hein’s grooks, sums up a wisdom, which seems to be strikingly apparent. Nevertheless, the ability to act together on issues important to coexistence requires intercultural competence, a crucial educational goal. Globalization and the increasing digitalization make intercultural education no less important and have a lasting impact on schools. Furthermore, digitalization places demand on didactics, on language and culture-learning methodologies, as well as on the development of learning materials and learning technologies. Teachers have to respond to the challenges, ensuring to motivate and stimulate students to immersion in language and culture issues relevant for the development of intercultural competences.

    The workshop will introduce concepts, and digital learning materials, developed within the project “Teaching concepts and digital teaching materials for intercultural education in foreign language classes”. Furthermore, the workshop will discuss advantages and challenges of learning methodologies and materials related to the development of cultural awareness and intercultural competences, as well as how to determine their quality.



7.   Intercultural competence and language competence (cancelled)


8. Democratic dannelse in a post-political era

Associate Professor Jonas Lieberkind, Aarhus University

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    An important fundament of the modern democracy is the commitment and active participation of the citizens. The political communities are a result of the citizens’ engagement in social movements, and, not least, reactions to the dominant power relations. Hence, the political engagement of citizens has contributed to the establishment of society. Political engagement, however, does not come of its own accord. It is an important educational task to prepare future generations for political commitment and participation. Today we are witnessing an increasing individualisation, a rising discontent across countries, a blurred collective discourse, populism, fake news. We are, as the post-political slogan says, beyond left and right. What will keep us and the future generations ‘together’, and how to commit and participate in a society challenge by post-politics? The assumption is that democratic Bildung currently is challenged by new and post-political currents. Based on young people’s political education and changing attitudes toward society, the workshop will explore and discuss contemporary drivers and barriers for togetherness, political engagement and democratic Bildung.

9. Democratic education – between pedagogy, participation and place

Headmaster Rasmus Kolby Rahbek, The Academy for Free School Teaching

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    Building on the Danish free school tradition, especially the Folk High Schools and Efterskole, this workshop will take aim at democratic education from the perspective of pedagogical practice, asking questions like: How do we learn to live together? Can participation be taught? When it comes to participation, what comes first – taking part or being part? Furthermore, we will explore how issues of place plays an import, but often overlooked, pedagogical role, not least when it comes to aspects of community and togetherness.

15:15 Coffee break
15:45 Symposium discussion

1.   Gert Biesta
2.   Michael Byram
3.   Iben Jensen
4.   Rasmus Kolby Rahbek
Moderator: Anna Bruun

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    The theme of the conference will be discussed in the symposium. In this intense space, we invite you to listen out for thought patterns, to make connections and to share insights and creative thinking.

16:45 Final comments
  Chairperson The Danish Free School Association
  Chairperson The Efterskole Association
  Headmaster The Academy for Free School Teaching

The international conference is a result of close cooperation between the free schools in Denmark.   
If you have questions please contact:

Jakob Clausager Jensen
+45 22361153

Programme (pdf)

Contact information:
Jakob Clausager Jensen
+45 22361153
Jakob Clausager Jensen
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