Two kinds of free schools apart from the state school system in Norway, are both originated from the impulse of Grundtvig and his concurrent intellectuals during the19th century (Skagen, 2018). One is the Waldorf schools, starting up in Norway in 1926 (Stabel, 2016), and the other is the Norwegian Folk high schools, first opened in1864 (Mikkelsen, 2014). This thesis presents a qualitative study of the Grundtvig-inspired core values of the Free Spirited
Norwegian Folk high schools. It is based on individual interviews with three experienced teachers regarding their experiences and reflections of a set of core concepts influenced by Grundtvigs anthropology and pedagogic ideas (Mikkelsen, 2016). The conclution of this study is, among others, that the teachers are familiar with these core values and concepts, to which they also relate on a daily basis in their practices. The study points out Norwegian folk
high schools close connestions to Danish folk high schools concerning values, pedagogics and intensions (Rahbek, 2017; Rahbek & Møller, 2015), while the Swedish and Finnish folk high schools differ quite a lot in these respects (Korsgaard, 1997; 2004). The study also accentuate a distinction between two separate organizations within the Norwegian folk high school movement; the Liberal- and the Christian folk high schools. The theory chapter of this thesis is focused on literature regarding Liberal folk high schools and the pedagogical ideas of Grundtvig. The research approach is mainly pragmatic qualitative (Merriam, 2009; Savin-Baden & Major, 2013), including some phenomenological approach regarding the field work and analysis (Smith, 1996; Kvale, 1996; Giorgi, 1997). The study further concludes that the core values and pedagogic concepts of Grundtvig are all parts of an holistic and normative set of ideas, and should therefore be interpreted and practiced accordingly. Freedom as well as individual responsibility for the common good, are central parts of this set of core values (Klonteig, 1992). According to the teachers interviewed as well as confirmed by the literature (Akerlie, 1983; 2001; Korsgaard, 2011; Mikkelsen, 2014; 2016), the independence and the freedom of pedagogic ideas and practices are the main arguments for the Free Spirited Folk High Schools existence. These core values are also politically and spiritually independent, as far as the teachers are ’Atheists of Spirit’, as Grundtvig articulated (Grundtvig, 1968a), which actually just means not to be extreme materialists (Slumstrup, 1983).
Keywords: Norwegian folk high schools, N. S. F. Grundtvig, The School for Life, Education
for the People, Grundtvig´s idea of Enlightment and Education, Freedom within the common good, Normative pedagogic ideas,