Instrumentalist theory for the sake of coherence: Norwegian students’ views on campus lectures in social studies teacher education


  • Ådne Meling Volda University College


Teacher education, Social studies, Instrumentalism


Norwegian five-year integrated social studies teacher education programmes include comprehensive training in disciplines such as geography, history, sociology and political science. In this article, we report on a study of students’ views on the specific subject of social studies in the teacher education programmes. We conducted focus group interviews with students and asked for their reflections on their preferences for the theoretical campus training in social studies. In our case study comprising 23 student teachers in their third year of training, most of the participants thought their campus training should focus less on core subjects such as geography, history, sociology and political science and more on instrumental skills such as lesson planning in social studies. Many of the participants held the view that the social studies competence they brought with them from secondary school should be considered sufficient and that further training in social studies during campus lectures should be considered redundant. Moreover, some participants suggested that acquiring knowledge in geography, history, sociology and political science, which are the core subjects of social studies, should be the responsibility of the students themselves rather than of the teacher training programme.


Ådne Meling, Volda University College

Ådne Meling is associate professor of sociology at the Department of Planning, Administration and Social Science, Volda University College, Norway. He has mainly published research within the fields of culture and education.