Teaching Quality and Didactics/Subject Didactics

QUINT proceeds with a series of ‘study webinars’ focusing on the concept of teaching quality.

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Attendance link: https://uio.zoom.us/j/69111069458 (limited to the QUINT researchers)


In this (and the next (QUINT Teaching Quality Theory Webinar (31 March 2022), we will discuss the relation between the notion of Teaching Quality (partly originating in the US) and how it relates to the European tradition of Didactics / Subjects Didactics. While both approaches focus on ways of analyzing and thinking systematically about teaching and learning in relation to the knowledge contents and domains involved, they differ in epistemological and methodological traditions, conceptual language and terminology used, and to what degree they are tested out empirically – including supporting instruments (e.g. observation manuals and framework). The German educationalist Helmut Volmer (2021) argues, for example, how the tradition of general didactics is undergoing a form of crisis related to its lack of empirical data and its normative dimension, which tends to distance it from being scientific tested and thus also empirically relevant for teachers.

In this upcoming seminar(s), we will display possible convergences, divergences and crossroads between the two traditions and discuss how they could fruitfully complement each other. In this first seminar Ane Qvortrup (Text 1) approaches the notion of curriculum from the lenses of student -centered and inquiry-based teaching approaches drawing on Fenstermacher and Richardson (2005) distinction between good versus effective teaching. Text 2 (Helmut Volmer and Kirsti Klette) compare the American educationalist Lee Shulman’s concept  of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) and Subject Didactics, and point to strengths and similarities in both traditions, however arguing how the content often tend to get lost in studies drawing on the PCK approach.

Suggested readings:

Text 1

Ane Qvortrup (2021) "Elevcentrerede og undersøgelsebaserede undervisningsformer som god og succesfuld undervisning" in Edited by Vibeke Boelt, Martin Jørgensen, et.al. Tidsskriftet KvaN. - In Danish

Full version (pdf) - restricted access


The strong attention to quality has for a number of years entailed a risk of focusing too one-sidedly on achievable goals rather than the purpose of teaching. However, different perspectives on quality offer different suggestions on how quality in teaching should be understood and improved. In the article, Ane Qvortrup describes a number of characteristics of student-centered and inquiry-based teaching methods and, with reference to this, she proposes a model for quality that makes it possible to reflect educational goals in relation to more general purposes.

Text 2:

Vollmer H. J & Klette K. (Forthcoming). "Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Subject Didactics - An Intercontinental Dialogue?" in Edited by Florence Ligozat, Kirsti Klette & Jonas Almquist, Springer Publishing. 
Full version (pdf) - restricted access


The notion of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK, by the US-American scholar Shulman, since 1987) is widely spread all across the world is very influential and considered by many as the equivalent to what we call didactics or more specifically subject didactics in most parts of Europe. In this paper, Volmer and Klette discuss the two traditions and point to convergences and divergences between the two approaches. After sketching the achievements and development of the PCK model, we discuss the relationship between PCK and Didactics, more specifically Subject Didactics, which have unfolded in parts of Europe as academic fields studying and analyzing the teaching and learning of specific content areas in schools and classrooms.

About the TeQ webinar series: QUINT finds it highly valuable to work towards a richer, and to a larger extent shared, theory-based understanding of the concept teaching quality. Indeed, a principal ambition of the QUINT Center, articulated in the application to NordForsk, is to contribute to theoretical development in research on teaching quality through an empirical integration of perspectives. So, while occupied with gathering extensive comparative data linked to several subprojects and bringing new PhD students and post docs into the project, we would also like to facilitate conversations among the QUINT researchers about the theoretical aspects of our joint research objective. For this purpose, we invite QUINT researchers to a series of study webinars in which we explore and discuss theoretical aspects of teaching quality linked to the design of the QUINT subprojects. The aim is to develop an interdisciplinary and applicable understanding of the theoretical lenses with which we investigate teaching quality.



QUINT Centre Director Professor Kirsti Klette

This webinar is limited to researchers at QUINT.

Published Jan. 17, 2022 3:00 PM - Last modified Jan. 21, 2022 1:01 PM