The School for Life: N.F.S. Grundtvig on the Education for the People (N.F.S. Grundtvig: Works in English)

N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872) produced a major body of work in the fields of theology, education, literature, politics, and history. He was also a poet, a hymn-writer, and a translator. In particular, however, it is his educational writings that over the years have attracted international attention from the USA in the west to Japan in the east. In recognition of his influence the European Union called its adult education project the Grundtvig programme. As part of its agenda to digitalise and translate some of this vast output, the Grundtvig Study Centre at the University of Aarhus is pleased to publish this broad selection of Grundtvigs writings on education in a completely new translation. The texts vary in form from poems and songs to articles in periodicals, introductions to books, an open letter to the Norwegians and a private letter to the King of Denmark. These texts, taken together, will provide a solid basis for international scholars without knowledge of Danish to be able to work closely with Grundtvigs ideas on education for the people. The book is accompanied by a CD (MP3 format) with the texts read by Edward Broadbridge and the introductions by Clay Warren.Community Review

  • Broadbridge, E., Warren, C. & Jonas, U. (2011). The School for Life: N.F.S. Grundtvig on Education for the People. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 440 p./illus. (audio CD included). ISBN: 978 87 7124 002 3: $64.00 (hardcover).
    Reviewed by: Dawn Jackman Murphy, Marie Fielder Center for Democracy, Leadership, and Education, Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California.
    For those English-speaking communities interested in the origins and history of folk education and adult education in Scandinavia, The School for Life: N.F.S. Grundtvig on Education for the People provides a charming and much-needed entry point. Broadbridge, Warren, and Jonas, take the reader or listener (an audio CD is included with the book) on an exploratory journey through Grundtvig’s seminal writings on education and life and connect his philosophies to the long and robust history of folk high schools and adult education in Scandinavia and beyond.
    Would it surprise you to know that Grundtvig and his theories of education and learning sprang from the influences of the American and French Revolutions, as well as his experience with sterile and mechanistic instruction? The editors and translator invite readers to share in Grundtvig’s frustration with the educational opportunities of the time (see “The School for Death” (p. 195)), and to celebrate his ideas of the ‘historic-poetic’ and his call for a “different kind of learning [that] not only extends to all that is knowable, but embraces it as a living idea and with a common purpose” — the enlightenment of human life (p. 62). The democratic ideals let loose in the 18th century helped to form an enduring educational approach that at its core emphasizes empowerment for peoples and set a structure for cultivating community.
    This book is organized in three sections; it opens with Ove Korsgaard’s essay addressing Grundtvig’s philosophy of enlightenment and education, continues with chronologically presented samples of Grundtvig writings, and ends with a Clay Warren essay focusing on international reception of Grundtvigian educational ideas. The book draws from Grundtvig’s poetic mythologies, song lyrics, philosophical and anthropological musings, and responses to events of the time. The editors and contributing essayists illustrate his impact on the people and civil society of Denmark while inviting the reader to entertain broader connections to contemporary conceptions of adult learning (andragogy) and lifelong learning. Considering the prolific nature of non-English analysis and resources on Grundtvig (largely Danish), the editors have done an exceptional job of selecting broadly, while providing illuminating extracts that tell the story of the conceptual birth of schools for life through the growth of the “folk high school.”
    The committed reader will have no trouble in devouring the essays and engaging with Grundtvig through Broadbridge’s translation; the length of the book (440 pages) does, however, present challenges to the casual reader. The editors solve this problem by including an excellent audio recording with the text. Have you always wondered whether you are pronouncing “Grundtvig” correctly? Well, while you travel through time, song, and philosophy with this book, you will also emerge with a strong hold on the pronunciation of the name of its inspiring focus courtesy of Broadbridge and Warren as the readers.
    For years, I have encountered the photograph of Grundtvig by Adam Lønborg taken just five days before his death. From this photo, I gathered only the sense of a serious and stoic mind. What I have found instead through this book and its translations is a vigorous, passionate, and inquiring mind fit not only for the transformational times of the 18th and 19th centuries, but one that can inspire the transformations of the 21st century as well.
  • When you are about to take a big exam, make sure you eat an adequate breakfast but keep it a little light. Don’t go into a test hungry, or you’ll have a lot of trouble concentrating. Do not overeat either; however, so you don’t have to deal with an upset stomach.Remember that you have to eat healthy foods. The freshman 15 can make a negative impact on your life if you do not eat properly. Make sure to be mindful of your eating. Avoid overconsuming fast foods and pizza. Although this may see seem like a quick and affordable solution, the pounds can slowly start to creep up on you. Also, you won’t be receiving the energy that you need in order to perform at your best in class.

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