European Education – Utopia or Reality? – Training Course Report

Many changes and innovations have started with ideas and imagining how something might be different and better. People in this photo are united by few facts: they all have a significant educational background; gathered in the framework of one training course in Denmark; and also – they love to dream, learn, and make positive changes. Among the participants are also representatives of CGE – Anastasiia Soholovska, Sofiia Pyshnieva, and Tamara Puerto. They are willing to share their experience and reflect on what the future of education means for them.

Our training course began with a meeting in Kopenhagen, where the bus took us to Rødvig – a town on the coast of Baltic sea. We started with settling in our cabins – small cosy houses, where the atmosphere made those who lived there to feel like a small family. We have found tasks for cabin team on our table just as we entered – and it brought even more feeling of community. Every day has started with breakfast in cabin – it was a great time of the day to chat, discuss news and share our impressions.

On the first day, we were setting our own aims for the training course and exploring the program. We also talked about what competence means for us, and later – what skills are the most important for 21st century. We didn’t know how exactly education systems in other European countries look like, so it was very interesting to hear about types of institutions, marking systems, conditions for teachers’ work in Denmark, Spain, Italy, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. For the activity every team came up with its own creative way of presenting information and numbers. We found out good practices, new types of educational institutions as well as common challenges and issues.

An emotional moment for everyone was the storytelling session. It seems that storytelling can be such a powerful practice in education. That’s the way to learn from other people, take a look at different experiences, something that can be an effective call to action. The participants shared their stories that were very appealing and thought-provoking.

During the next days we learned about different tools and methods that we can use in our teaching practice, discussed the differences between formal, non-formal and informal education, roles of teacher, facilitator and mentor.

One of the best memories was LEGO Maniac session. We were split into teams and needed to perform various tasks – starting from constructing a LEGO model being limited in time and quickly adapting to changes, doing it with eyes closed to making a model under supervision of a strict instructor. One of the tasks made us face a total freedom in what we wanted to create -which was also a challenge. In the end, we realized that the session wasn’t about competition (or not only about competition), but being in different learning situations. The session was followed by a great discussion and reflection. Beside the reflection in a group, each of us had his or her own reflection tool – a notebook for the moments, when new insights, discoveries or just some thoughts worth writing down came to our minds. We could just offer a random moment of reflection and take our time to write down as much as we need.

I didn’t expect to learn so much about the Danish educational system. Not only I heard much information during the sessions in Rødvig, but also got the opportunity to visit different types of schools – Efterskole (“afterschool”), Friskole (“free school”) і Højskole (“folk high school”), talk to the principals and educators, see the classrooms and understand how they function from the inside. Learn more about them here.

After the great sessions and study visit prepared for us, we took a lead in preparing our own activities. Each of us was looking forward to the Dreams of European Education Conference in Aarhus University. In teams, we prepared interactive activities that all the attendants of the conference can involve in. Every group had its own room – physical room and a room for creativity, great ideas what to present to all who are interested. It worked really well.

At last, we spent two wonderful days in Copenhagen, explored the city, visited interesting places and left to our countries with the best memories and inspiration.

I can’t underestimate the impact that week had on me. In only seven days I changed and extended my perspective on education, opened new perspectives. Beside the best experience of a training course I ever had, the participants were the ones who made this time wonderful. They shared so much of their knowledge, energy and positive vibes during the open space and the whole week. I’m missing them and hope to meet some day again.

Warm thanks to Shokkin Group Denmark, all the organizers, supporters and participants for making these days so memorable, exciting and enriching!

More impressions and thoughts from Sofiia Pyshnieva and Tamara Puerto:[0]=68.ARBVuc-cGTix4N7yseR2QFguMSAmhHyD5XfNmVMvI8IDaCJJnnynReYRVPemPK-qg1T4d73a89F6LLhlo9IKCugDfSiTB4kDyOx3Y7NhXBm6qQoTbeQNnaIFEKXv5JorijVVoTHog2wtm8B5IkqBZ68iQ01DV7eXIglU0KWGUgDsxnQTedukmQnuBAHC9QffGKHXeR3eZ60eb0WJ&__tn__=-R

Why do we go to school? That is the question lingering in my mind since I participated in the training course. Most of us, the lucky ones (I guess?) go to mandatory school for 11 years or further. We don’t really know or ask why. We just do! And after all the years of reading and studying and presenting exams what do we have left? Hopefully valuable life lessons and skills that will last for a life time, but most often than not, a huge amount of information that we didn’t want to learn in the first place and for which we don’t really find any practical applicability in our lives. Do we go to school to become automated machines to supply the job postings of the future without questioning? Or rather to become whole, happy, independent human beings? Whatsoever, is the latter even achievable? And how? Don’t we need both? To be full happy caring humans who also contribute to society and care about the other? These were the questions and topics we aimed to discuss in our Training Course while we shared our personal experiences about the educational systems in European countries as well as a little bit of ourselves. By the tune of amusing didactic games and exercises aimed at getting to know innovative learning and teaching methods, educational systems and didactic tools, inspired by a beautiful location on Danish coast and the exciting city of Copenhagen. We, a diverse group of vibrant people, passionate about education, embarked to the dream of building together the future of European Education. A future where learning is fun and exciting for everyone, including those with different skills, where we can learn by doing and by interacting with the world and the others, and where we are involved in making the decisions related to our education. A safe space where we can express and find ourselves while we get the skills we will need for the present and for the future, skills as diverse as emotional management, adaptability and empathy or digital skills and problem solving , a space where learning feels so natural that some years further we don’t end up asking ourselves why did we go to school at all.

Tamara Puerto

Cge representative

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