Artikkel publisert i Uddannelseshistorie 2020 (årg. 54), s97 - 115, ISBN 978-87-87185-12-7 / ISSN 0900-226x
The article investigates how the ideal of enhetslærere, i.e. comprehensive teachers, has played a significant role in the development of Norwegian teacher education in the twentieth century, and in particular in teacher education reforms in regard to the expansion of the comprehensive school in 1969. Enhetslærer as a concept referred, in that period, to a teacher who was prepared to work in a fully comprehensive school, combining primary and lower secondary level education. The ideal was reflected in a structural organisation of the teacher education within the college framework and in a relatively broad curriculum that was believed to qualify the teacher for teaching in all subjects at all levels through 9-10 years of schooling. The ideal also contributed to an emphasis on the teacher’s social and democratic skills that could qualify them for the task of social integration within the classroom. In sum, the ideal of enhetslærer contributed to a long-lasting generic teacher education model in Norway, and to generations of teachers with a social-cum-political orientation.
However, the article also points to an earlier more academic idea of enhetslærere in the history of Norwegian teacher education that differed from the one investigated. Further, the article asks if a renewed ideal of enhetslærer also shapes the development of both structure and content of teacher education today? The conclusion points to the changing significance over time of the enhetslærer concept and ideal, and sees it as being a so-called “floating signifier” in the Norwegian teacher education tradition that has to be investigated historically.