A view on learning in Go:

My meetings here at Göteborg University have been held in the School of Pedagogy, which sits in three buildings, labeled, fittingly for an education school, as A-B-C.

But someone showed some imagination, and managed to start my brain spinning, by giving each hus a more lyrical name. I know the dictionary definitions, but I still can’t quite pull these names into a unified whole. Perhaps a Swedish colleague can help?

Hus A, the largest, is named Utsikten, which means “view.” That’s very appropriate, as its windows look out on the beautiful canal with its trees and walkways. The building is trilobite shaped. Its curves mean that each window has a different view. I think of the label as suggesting that we need to look out at the world.

Hus B is named Åsikten. This can also be translated as “view,” but here, I think it means point of view, or opinion. It reminds us that when we examine the world, we all see different things.

Finally, Hus C is named insikten, meaning “insight.” So, we have a view, a point of view, and an insight. Is it saying that as we consider our own view, then that of others, as in Peirce’s community of inquiry, that we develop insight? Or, does it mean that learning involves looking both outward and inward, then recognizing the fallibility of all knowledge? Does insight here really mean reflection, as we find in the water of the canal?

Or, is all of this just playing with the root sikt, and the untranslateablity in order to drive English speakers crazy? I suspect the latter, as I see Göteborg becoming Go:teborg on street signs, and then just Go:. But regardless of the deeper meanings I’m missing, this is just one of the many charming things I’m finding everywhere we look in Go:.

4 thoughts on “A view on learning in Go:

  1. I think this play of words denotes a very typical humour found only in Gothenburg :-). My interpretation is that it is all a play on the word stem “sikt”, which like you wrote means “view”. The prefix of each name is then a play on how the building is located.

    Utsikten means view/outlook, and the building is given this name as it is the main building which has the nicest view of the town from its panorama windows.

    Åsikten, I believe, is a play of the word Å which means ‘small river’ or ‘stream of water’. From building B/Åsikten, you have a view of the river.

    Insikten, I believe, is a play of the word in, which means inward. This building is faced inwards. Have a look at this picture: http://www.ufn.gu.se/digitalAssets/1280/1280269_pedagogen460siffror.jpg.

    Obviously, all words have double meanings, as you already pointed out (view-opinion-insight), which is part of the very dry Gothenburg humour and the town’s tradition of giving new buildings fun and clever names (often with double meanings).

    There is a wikipedia page on this with much more information, but it is unfortunately in Swedish 🙂


  2. I like it that you continue the play! Seeing is necessary for both our humor and our education. Thanks for improving my “view” of the School of Pedagogy at Gothenburg.


  3. These are my *views* on this, stated without having any *insights* whatsoever regarding how the architect was thinking when naming the buildings, therefore *expecting* you not to take it too seriously 😉 (Hope you notice the wordplay, though…)

    ‘Utsikt’, besides denoting for example (a room with) a ‘view’, can also mean ‘expectations’ / ’prospects’ / ’chances’.

    ‘Insikt’ means ‘understanding’, ‘realizing’ / ’seeing’ (something) / ‘knowledge’ (of), or, ‘insight.’

    ‘Åsikt’ is (point of) ‘view’, ‘opinion’.

    Hence, I guess (and hope) that *view* is a truly integral part of the names of the buildings, meaning everything from great views *looking out* on the world, to (hopefully) equally great views *looking inside* of you; as a human being and a student at the School of Pedagogy at Gothenburg University.


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