Introduction to The Nordic Secret category

The Nordic Secret (Andersen & Bjorkman, 2017) has five Parts: (1) Setting the Scene, (2) Personal Freedom and Responsibility–Bildung Philosophy, (3) The Scandinavian Spring—Implementing Bildung, (4) Exploring What We Have Found, and (5) Looking Forward.

The following blogs (The Nordic Secret category on the right) are written as letters to the authors. Each blog responds to texts in Part 5, which starts with the following statement: “There are some useful, concrete lessons to be learned from the Nordic secret that can benefit others” (p. 381). That is what we all want from a book—insight into how our learning can make the world better.

I, too, hope “concrete lessons can be learned from the Nordic secret;” but I also recall Kubow and Fossum’s (2007) warning in Comparative Education: Exploring Issues in International Context. They argued that education policies and results cannot be picked up from one country and placed into another. Too many factors prevent transfer–culture, history, values, and other variables.

Andersen and Bjorkman would probably agree with that point, but they would also argue that careful consideration of a nation’s current educational situation, along with a clear idea of where policymakers want education to go, gets them ready to consider what the Nordic countries have achieved. Throughout the book, they argue that institutions, philosophies, and structures need to be built before improvement efforts will be successful anywhere.  

That is also the perspective of the following letters to the authors.


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