Teacher Perspectives of Challenges Within the Norwegian Educational System


  • Sarah K. Anderson Mayville State University
  • Katherine L. Terras University of North Dakota


Norway, educational challenges, teacher perspectives, teacher appraisal, professional development


This research examines teacher perspectives’ of educational challenges in Norway. Norway is one of the most well-resourced, prosperous, social welfare states in the world, yet the OECD (2011) recognized students’ weak basic skills and insufficient teacher ability in content and pedagogy, along with engagement and imbalanced resources as points for educational improvement. An open-ended questionnaire was administered to 138 teachers practicing in Norway to explore challenges from their perspective. Teachers reported the following challenges: completing government paperwork with competing pedagogical demands, adapting teaching to each student due to large class sizes, motivating students, managing social and emotional problems of students, and meeting society’s increasingly unrealistic expectations. Teachers perceived their challenges to be a result of a poorly built educational system, not from deficits in their teaching skills. We concluded from this study  that teacher voice and participation in improvement decisions are needed, given some discrepancy in perceived challenges among these findings, international surveys, and policy-related reports.

Author Biographies

Sarah K. Anderson, Mayville State University

Dr. Sarah K. Anderson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Education and Psychology at Mayville State University. She teaches courses in special education, methods for secondary teachers, learning theory and evaluation and coordinates student internships. She is a former special educator who worked with high school students with emotional disorders, learning disabilities and other health impairments. Sarah has served on the ND advisory board for transition, and she is a Fulbright Scholar who spent the 2011-2012 academic year in Norway. Her research interests include teacher appraisal, transition, progress monitoring for RTI, and effective instruction.

Katherine L. Terras, University of North Dakota

Katherine Terras received her Doctorate and Masters degrees from the University of North Dakota. Her areas of emphasis include special education and teacher education. Dr. Terras’ Bachelors degree is in elementary education. Prior to UND, Dr. Terras held a professorial position at the University of Minnesota, Moorhead. Dr. Terras teaches courses on emotional/behavioral disorders, behavior management, and assessment. She predominately teaches courses using online delivery and is currently researching methods for effectively modeling and simulating course content with this delivery system. Dr. Terras’ main research interest involves qualitative studies that investigate educational outcomes for students with emotional or behavioral disorders. Particularly, she is interested in the effects of canine companionship through the incorporation of dogs into school settings or through service learning projects.






General Refereed Papers