BLH3220 Culture and Identity - Nordic Childhoods Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Culture and Identity - Nordic Childhoods
Bachelorstudium i barnehagelærerutdanning - samlings- og nettbasert
Bachelorstudium i barnehagelærerutdanning, heltid
Culture and Identity - Nordic Childhoods
30 stp.


Culture and Identity is one of the courses under Nordic Childhoods. Joint events with the other Nordic Childhoods courses are integrated into the course. The student`s cultural background is a resource during lectures and class room discussions, through experience-based learning and critical reflection. The course includes fieldwork observations in kindergartens and schools, in addition to visits to relevant sites.

Important components in the pedagogical work with children in a Nordic context are play, learning related to play, nature and community surroundings. In this course, the focus is on the Norwegian educational system in both a broader and more specific Norwegian context.

Culture and identity adress the question of who we are, and is related to definitions of the other, as well as by the other: Who are 'we' and who are 'the others'. These are not static concepts, but are rather subject due to sociocultural change both nationally as well as globally.

One of the defining forces of culture and identity is religion. Religious diversity is part of cultural diversity and the changes that have developed globally, hence it also affects culture and identity in the Norwegian context. How does this affect Norwegian childhoods?

The power-relations and political forces around the child and childhoods are important drivers of these changes, producing various kinds of school systems, and preschool and kindergarten systems. Culture and identity is therefore not only about who we are, but also very much about childhood perspectives and construcs and how they affect us. The question becomes not only who we are, but also 'Who do they want us to be'?

Norway, like most other societies today, is a 'multicultural' society. The Sami indigenous people living in the Nordic countries have long been a part of this cultural diversity. Related to this, it is also important to focus on power relations between minorities and majorities. Culture and identity, involving definitions of 'us' and 'them', also enables racism and discrimination towards ethnic and linguistic minorities, as well as the politics of assimilation of the Sami. In this and many other regards, Norway and Nordic societies are no different from other countries, showing attributies similar to those of he rest of the larger global system, which Norway is a part of.

Anbefalte forkunnskaper

The language of all teaching and supervision is English, and the students should therefore have a working knowledge of both spoken and written English.


After completing the course, the student should have the following learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence


The student

  • has awareness and knowledge of the factors that constitute a person's identity
  • has knowledge of the concept of ‘Culture’, and an awareness of the individual student’s culture in particular
  • has knowledge of childhood and identity construction


The student

  • has skills in observing and analysing a new educational and cultural setting
  • has skills in communicating across cultural and linguistic borders
  • has the ability to facilitate inclusive practices in groups characterised by diversity
  • has the ability to observe and compare different educational settings

General competence

The student

  • is able to reflect on experiences of other international students’ languages and cultures
  • has an awareness of the implications of living in a globalised world
  • is able to develop an awareness of challenges and possibilities within multicultural perspectives in education
  • is able to reflect on experiences of the multiple cultural settings in kindergartens / schools in Oslo

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

Culture and Identity - Nordic Childhoods is a full-time programme of study, where the topics will be addressed through lectures, seminars, student presentations and discussions. In addition to the period of ordinary teaching, there will be a period of fieldwork, report-writing and presentations. There will also be a variety of excursions to museums, cultural institutions and other institutions relevant to the course.

The students are expected to share aspects of culture and language from their own countries as a basis for their own presentations and discussions in the class.

The course will provide opportunities for interaction with Norwegian students, who will be able to assist in practical matters and provide guidance on exploring the Oslo region.

Fieldwork in schools and kindergartens is an integrated part of the course. The students spend four weeks of fieldwork observing and analysing different educational and cultural aspects of the classes or children's groups they attend.

Appendix: Progress clarification for internal students

(Applicable to Norwegian students only.)

The course is open to internal students from the Department of Early Childhood Education (full-time students and part-time students who have taken a full-time specialisation and can start this course in January) in the sixth semester. The students follow the approved Study Plan for Culture and Identity - Nordic Childhoods (30 ECTS).

The following clarification applies to internal students:

  • Internal students must complete a five-week supervised and assessed period of practical training.
  • The semester paper counts as the student’s bachelor’s thesis. The paper must be written in English on a topic related to the course.
  • Internal students retain bachelor supervision resources while taking the course, and are assigned a supervisor from among the teaching staff involved in the course, as far as possible.

The internal students otherwise follow the same programme and coursework requirements as the external students, including the final oral exam, which, together with the written assignment, makes up the basis for the grade awarded for the MCI course.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

  • Active participation in classes and discussions (minimum 80% attendance)
  • Individual presentation of one's own culture with reference to educational challenges
  • One paper on a topic addressed in the course, of approx. 2,000 words +/- 10 %

Course requirements shall be met by the deadlines. Course requirements are evaluated as pass/fail.

The right to take the exam depends on the successful completion of coursework requirements. Compulsory coursework assignments that are not completed by the agreed deadline will not be accepted, and the student loses their right to take the exam. Students are themselves responsible for keeping informed about relevant deadlines. In cases of illness or other inconveniences, students must make an appointment with their tutors for an extension, within the deadline for the coursework. Coursework that has been handed in at the right time but that has not been accepted, will be given a new deadline.

In cases where coursework is handed in on time but is not accepted, students are entitled to maximum two new attempts. Students who have lost their right to take the exam because of unmet coursework requirements, must get in touch with their tutors to organise completing the coursework requirement the following term/study year.

Vurdering og eksamen

The final assessment consists of two parts:

  • Oral exam based on the course syllabus and experiences from fieldwork (50% of the final grade)
  • Semester paper of 6,500 words +/- 10%, on a topic addressed in the course and based on an extended period of fieldwork (50% of the final grade).

The grades in the two parts are equally weighted and used in the calculation of the overall grade for this course. The final certificate of 30 ECTS will be awarded on completion of the above-mentioned requirements and exams.

Resit exam

If a student fails the exam or is absent at the time of the exam for a valid reason, the student is entitled to resit the exam the following semester. The resit exam will be organised in the same manner as the ordinary exam. The students are themselves responsible for registering for the resit by the given deadline.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

All examination support materials are permitted. However, sources must be stated in accordance with applicable rules for source References.


Grading will be in accordance with the ECTS grading scale, with A-E as pass grades and F as a fail grade. The criteria for the different grades will be presented to the students at the beginning of the course.


Final assessment will be reviewed and approved by internal and external examiners.