Call for Papers: Tensions, coherence, and/or progress in early childhood teacher education (ECTE) in the Nordic countries


In this special issue, we invite articles on “Tensions, coherence, and/or progress in early childhood teacher education (ECTE) in the Nordic countries”. More research into the Nordic models of ECTE is needed for several reasons.

One reason is that scarce research has explored ECTE programmes in the Nordic countries. Although the organization of ECTE programmes differ between the Nordic countries, one commonality is, among others, the Nordic tradition for a social pedagogical and democratic approach to ECEC. Official ECEC policy documents and curriculum in the Nordic countries have often been based on broad principles, values and goals left open for interpretation, and the pedagogical practice and the quality of education and care in ECEC has to a large extent been trusted to the ECEC professionals.

Another reason is that the Nordic ECTE programmes exercise their mandate in a political field characterised by rapid changes. This is seen, among other things, by an acceleration in changes in governing documents and national guidelines for both ECEC institutions and ECTE programmes renewed in line with transnational and national political currents. As a consequence of the Bologna-process, that aims at an European Higher Education Area, ECTE is transformed in bachelor-programmes with a tension between a classical professional expertise and the requirements of public and private purchasers of competencies. With increased focus on neoliberal policies in higher education, new tensions arise when Nordic ECTE is confronted with neoliberal rationales of productivity, efficiency, and accountability. Among the changes are increased requirements for competent and qualified staffing in ECEC, while at the same time ECTE programmes are often underfunded and confronted with a recruitment problem.

Yet a third reason is the complexity of the structures of ECTE programmes. We need more research on tension, coherence, and progress within the programmes. Nordic ECTE programmes are complex integrating a range of disciplinary fields, either as individual disciplinary subjects or as integrated knowledge areas. This has resulted in different educational debates, related to the place of pedagogy within the education, the identification of core elements in ECTE, academic hegemonies in defining core elements, the weighting of practice, etc. While debates are ongoing, ECTE is confronted with the question of how to realize a comprehensive, coherent, and interdisciplinary educational program in complex, and at times contradictory, educational landscapes. How affects this complexity educators and students' development of professional knowledge and professional identity?

The terms tension, coherence, and progress open for multiple perspectives and topics, including, but not limited to, the topics introduced above. Examples of topics to be explored, in one country or by comparing two or more countries, are:

  • Tensions, coherence, and/or progress in ECTE in historical perspectives (e.g., changes in society, tones/tendencies, policies, and/or national curriculum)
  • Tensions, coherence, and/or progress within the education program, between theory and practice, or within/or between courses or subjects/disciplines.
  • Teacher students and teacher educators learning/development, professional identity and/or bildung in ECTE


We welcome multiple perspectives on tensions, coherence, and/or progress in ECTE in the Nordic countries. We ask the authors to engage in the relevant research literature, to clearly defining the terms they use and to position themselves within the research field(s). The summary should be between 450-550 words. The summary should include information on the article’s contribution to the field of interest (in other words, why do we need your article now?). The summary should also clearly describe the aim(s) and research question(s), theoretical framework/perspectives, methodological approach, and main findings/point of discussion of the study (if the data already are available). The articles can be written in English, Danish, Swedish or Norwegian.

The summaries will be evaluated based on the relevance and the quality of the research projects described, and on a balance of topics and countries represented in the special issue.

You will be asked to review one article if your article is accepted for submission of full manuscript.


Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15.02.23

Submit the abstract here. Mark the abstract with the abbreviation ECTE.

Deadline for submission of full paper: 27.06.23

The special issue will be published Summer 2024

Authors should adhere to the journal’s author instructions:

Guest editors of this special issue are: