Stephan Frigo (Melbourne) te gast op Groevenbeek

Groevenbeek  heeft sinds enkele jaren contact met het Luther College in Melbourne, Australië. Twee Groevenbeek docenten hebben de school al een keer bezocht. Onlangs bracht docent geschiedenis Stephan Frigo een tegenbezoek aan Groevenbeek.

Hieronder vind je het verslag van zijn ervaringen:

 

My name is Stephen Frigo and I am a teacher from Luther College in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs. My role at the school is as Learning Leader for 9-12 History (equivalent of classes 3-6). During the 18th-27th September, I was afforded the opportunity to observe and engage in a strikingly different educational environment. This was a unique experience that has subsequently broadened my professional knowledge and challenged my own pedagogical approaches towards teaching, particularly in relation to student centred learning.

I came to Groevenbeek with the express purpose of finding out how the school encouraged and facilitated student voice, leadership and change agency amongst its student cohort. These are lofty ideals that most schools aspire to, but few manage effectively. From the outset, I was struck with my observations of the various classes as to how effectively the teachers were able to implement and deliver a student centred curriculum. It wasn’t necessary for the teachers to spend majority of their lessons ‘talking’ to their students. They seemed to have accepted the fact that they were not the ultimate repositories of knowledge and instead helped guide and direct their students in exploring and discovering the information for themselves, thereby affording them a greater sense of ownership over their learning. Furthermore, the effective utilisation of the school’s Student Panel has afforded the student cohort with a necessary platform allowing them to voice their concerns as well as things they view as pertinent and effective in their respective learning journeys.

Upon entering the school, I was struck by a multitude of things that were noticeably different from my own experiences of schooling within Australia. These ranged from the layout of the buildings, the clothing worn by the students (pupils at Luther College wear a uniform), vocational subjects taught in VMBO and perhaps most startingly the presence of farm animals on a school campus. Also, the fact that secondary students in the Netherlands are streamed into VWO, HAVO or VMBO based on rigorous testing undertaken in primary school is markedly different from Australian education where all students, irrespective of academic ability, are members of the same class.

Looking forward, the driving question for myself is what does student centred learning look like in my own educational context? How can I adapt my teaching practices and respective courses to afford the students at Luther College greater ownership for their learning? I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to travel to, observe and participate in the innovative learning practices taking place at Grovenbeek Christelijk College. A very big thank you to all staff and students who warmly welcomed me into your classes and my apologies for the mispronunciation of so many Dutch words, which admittedly the students took a lot of delight in. These sort of exchange programs are wonderful opportunities and I would wholeheartedly encourage the staff at Groevenbeek to consider travelling to Australia in order to observe an educational environment markedly different to their own.

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