NAFOL profile: Kristin Gregers Eriksen
Primary school Social Studies as arena for citizenship – Do we need to decolonize the Norwegian educational system?
I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Culture, Religion and Social Studies at the University of South-Eastern Norway in Drammen. I have several years of experience as teacher educator in Social Studies, and great interest in teaching. My research explores how the aim of Social Studies education to be arena for democracy pans out in practice. How is it possible that even if being an egalitarian society, students in Norway experience racism in their everyday life at school? Why are imaginaries of Norway as homogenous nation reproduced in spite of political ambitions for valuing diversity, and why is the knowledge about the Global South still dominated by narratives of lack? I am especially interested in deconstructing the coloniality of education and exploring more just and open approaches to knowledge production. Even if I have my background in studies that emphasize texts, such as cultural studies and history, my experiences as teacher educator have motivated me to conduct classroom research. In my project, I have done observations and interviews with students and teachers, as well as teaching interventions. I think it is crucial that educational researchers are relevant for and cooperate with teachers and schools. This opinion makes me engaged in communicating my research to teachers and teacher students, and for the time being I am part of a group that writes textbooks for Social Studies. NAFOL has provided me with an overview of the diverse and broad field of educational research nationally and internationally, and opened doors to network and contacts from all over Norway. I am grateful that financial support from NAFOL made possible a research stay at the University of British Colombia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada in spring 2019.