Pedagogy of Self-cultivation, Pedagogical tact, and Ethics

We study bildung and ethics in the context of education for professions in the field of education and social work.

More about the research

The German concept “Bildung” has many different connotations, but at the heart is the idea that upbringing and education should aim at the child’s ability to transcend what is given.

This ability includes both his or her own givenness, but also the cultural and historical givenness and even the natural givenness. Upbringing and pedagogy are both about assimilating the child to what is given and about transcending the given in the light of fundamental values. Bildung aims at freedom, and freedom implies responsibility for (ethical) choices.

Upbringing and education require both adaptation and transcendence. In this view, a substantial element of education is the child´s self-activity. So, pedagogy is more about framing, activation, and motivation than about instruction. Keeping the balance between the child´s own initiatives and activity at one hand and care, instruction, and protection at the other requires a pedagogical relation and pedagogical tact.


How we work

Our research is characterized by the combination of clarification of concepts, with which we understand the empirical world, and field studies.

Our fields of research include:

  • Qualification of teachers and early childhood educators, development of a professional identity
  • Tensions between the development of (social)pedagogical work from within, on a pedagogical foundation, and political, administrative and institutional logics
  • Dealing with the dual purpose of education – useful skills and knowledge on the one hand and Bildung on the other
  • Value-education and the formation of ethical agency
  • Normativity in schooling.



Jan Jaap Rothuizen
  • Jan Jaap Rothuizen

  • Head of Research, PhD
  • T: +45 87 55 34 04
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  • Anne Mette Buus

  • Associate Professor
  • T: +45 87 55 37 20
  • Expertise: Early childhood care and education, children’s perspectives
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  • Chung Kim

  • PhD
UC Viden profile