The 3rd of March several people met for the first time in Copenhagen. Suitcases and large rucksacks were invading the pavement while completely unknown people exchanged their first words. Latvia, Estonia, Holland, Germany, Italy, England and of course, Denmark were the different backgrounds my colleagues Eider, Ariane and I just started getting more familiar with. «8 different languages, diverse cultures and unpredictable ways of thinking» is what I thought at the very beginning. At that moment, I could not imagine how many things in common the 28 of us had, what a fantastic trip we were about to live.
We all were enrolled on an Erasmus+ Programme called «European Education – Utopia or Reality». For a whole week, teachers and students who feel passionate about education took part on a training course in which we had the chance to focus on comparative education and learning approaches in both, a national and a European perspective. Not only we gained knowledge about different national educational systems, but we also had the opportunity to visit various educational settings in Denmark developing alternative pedagogies. We celebrated our cultures’ similarities and differences, and we made a product with all we had gained on an ending Conference at the Danish School of Education.
Tim and Simon, the leading trainers at this course, did a brilliant work planning challenging, dynamic, and flexible activities for all the participant’s profiles. All those dynamics occurred one and a half hours from the capital, in a small town situated in the south of the island Zealand; definitely, a calmed and inspiring learning environment to develop all our dreams into achievable plans. First of all, we started building the main principles that were going to guide participants’ cooperative work: disrupting, challenging status Quo, having enough freedom to stimulate ownership, respecting perspective differences, empowering diversity, enjoying the process and unlearning what we had learnt.
We redefined teachers’ role in society, reflected about didactics, planning and knowledge about the leadership of the learning sessions regarding contact and contract.
I remember being challenged on team-work by playing with Lego. I must confess I found that activity merely brilliant. We were told we were going to be assessed on our cooperative abilities on exceeding different tests. More poorly or successfully, we went through the experiment. Finally, we made a word-cafe to evaluate the activity, how we felt and whether we were successful or not. What a surprise when trainers said they were not going to «give us the results». We all felt bewildered about it, we made such a significant effort and finally, and we did not have external feedback. Maybe that was the critical point: we had already assessed it ourselves, and that was the most significant contribution to our learning experience.
After building team-work and learning different strategies and methods, we got prepared for our workshops at the «Dreams of European Education Conference». Depending on our foremost concerns, we created different settings and experiences to explain to the public what we had learnt about the next topics:
- Inclusive (equalized) Education
- Content and Teachers’ Conditions
- Learning Spaces
- The Goal of Education
- Teaching in the Future and Assessment
We loved sharing our work to the community, and we hope they also enjoyed experiencing it.
I can say I felt the way a learner should feel: willing to learn, prepared to contribute, uncertain about the result and inspired to create.
A huge thank you to the Shokking Group Denmark‘s organizers for making this experience possible, to all the participants from and with who we learned that much and ultimately, to Arantza Arruti, for believing in us and opening the door to find out what makes us happy: learning to teach.
Lucía Barrenetxea Minguez
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