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I have continued to do the interviews.

I interviewed a girl from Latvia, the Head Teacher, a Danish girl that has had some social problems background, the Danish language and culture teacher, another Danish student that has high goals in his education, and the Media Design teacher.

As I think I explained before, I wanted to interview two students from each one of the 4 courses, but as I talked to some of those students I realised that most of them had similar backgrounds and goals. As it happens, I figure that my study will gain more if I interview people with different backgrounds and goals because then I will have different views of this school system, so my work will be much more complete.

For example, the girl from Latvia was in another school. That school closed because it went bankrupt, so they got their students to come to this school. Anyway, she is very disappointed with both schools because her objective was to learn Danish to a very high level, since she has already a very good Danish level. Well, this schools are not supposed to teach a topic at a very high level, they are supposed to teach several topics in a broad level so that the students can try different things and figure out what they want to do next in their life, or to give the students some background to prepare them to the University or some other kind of higher education.

So this school would be appropriate, for example, for someone that wants to come here to study in a University but has to learn the basics of Danish language.

Below there are the results of the photo marathon from last week. They have been in a wall of the school for some days but only now I thought about putting them here.

dead and alive new fragance dirty brian what’s up? snoghoj by night snoghoj by night morning has broken barbie girl stand by

Here’s some more work made by the “Media & Design” students. These are hanging in the eating room walls.

cimg0801-640x480.jpg cimg0802-640x480.jpg cimg0800-640x480.jpg

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Yesterday my teacher sent me her comments to my interviews. They were very useful, she made very good suggestions so I spent the night changing some questions and adding some more questions in the scripts.

After that I tested my interviews with some of the people here at the school, one of which is an English teacher, so I also changed how some questions were writen. Having finished that, I started my interviews.

Right now I have interviewed 4 students and one teacher. The students interviews are taking about 30 min. each and the teacher took over 1 hour. The interviews were very interesting to do, specialy the teacher, who is a very experienced teacher having worked in a few folk schools and regular schools, as a teacher and also as a Head Master. He really knows what he was talking about!

Anyway, now I’m starting to be worried because if I do all the interviews I want to do, this means around 10 hours of interviews to type down to the computer! It will take me ages to do that!! It would be nice to have some software to do this for me… Anyone has any ideas?!

This past few days nothing has been happening. I’m waiting for my teachers in Portugal to reply to me. At this momentonely one teacher didn’t reply to me.

Maybe you are asking, “why does he need their reply?! just do what you have to do!!”. Well its not that simple. I need to do some interviews to students, teachers and the head teacher. I have prepared the interviews, with all the objectives laid out for all questions.

But, since this is a true investigation, I must submit the interviews scripts to a board of specialists. These specialists are 3 teachers in my University. They must check the scripts, and comment them so that I may correct what problems they may have.

Anyway, heres a step by step description of how it goes:

  1. I must observe what happens in the school and ask questions, informally, about how things work. This way I gather information so that I can know what questions I must put to people.
  2. I make the interviews script, and submit them to my supervisor which will help me correct them. The scripts go back and forward until they are OK.
  3. I submit the scripts to aboard of specialists, indicated by my supervisor. They comment my work and I make adjustments.
  4. I use the scripts in 2 persons that are not part of my study, so that I can see if I asked everything, if some things don’t make sense, etc.
  5. I make adjustments again.
  6. Finally I have my script validated, and I can use it with my investigation subjects.

Now, moving on to another subject, this weekend, the watch teacher was not a teacher. It was one of the girls that work in the administration. So this makes me think that being a “watch teacher” is not about being a teacher its about being someone responsible and experienced, who can coordinate things. This is actually in the same line of thought as everything else in a folk school, we are all teaching each other and learning from each other.

Today I went with my Turkish friend Gulsan to visit the school where she is teaching. It was really nice, I took some photos and I could talk to Danish teachers about subjects that are currently very discussed in Portugal. So this is what I got:

Administration: They are hired by the “community”, a group of people composed by teachers, parents people from the community and one member of the city hall. The administration must work to make school marketing to attract students, so the students are not forced to go to the nearest school. At the same time they have to deal with reality, which is quite different from the wonder school they make with the marketing. This was explained to me by an older teacher.

Teachers: They are hired by the management and the parents association, just like in a private company. The school puts an ad in the newspaper and people reply to it.

Teachers Evaluation: There is none. I understood that there are some talks about it, but still nothing in concrete. I talked to an older teacher and he explained to me that he felt it was something impossible to do because there are too many variables. (I wont give my opinion on this subject, I’m just stating he’s opinion on it)

Physical equipment: The school was very big and with a lot of doors out, but still the temperature was far better that what I see in Portuguese schools although whether in Portugal is quite better. They have heaters all over the school, in all rooms and every 3 meters in the halls. The teachers room, is 3 times bigger than the one in my school in Portugal, although the number of teachers is 2/3 the teachers in my school. More than that, there are several teachers rooms. In that room, they even have a small kitchen, with a refrigerator, free coffee, some fruit and whatever you need to cook something. In fact, that happens with lots of the rooms. Take a look at the photos.

Teachers lounge 2 Teachers lounge 1 Teachers work room Primary school lounge Primary school lounge Cooking class room Library Science class Science class

 

On the 23rd day nothing happened, it was a very boring day, so on the 24th I went out for a walk in Fredericia. It’s a small town, not much to see really. I’ll post some photos here.

On my way to Fredericia Torben, the head teacher, gave me a ride in his car. I found out that he is actually German, he lived there until he was 18 and then moved to Ahrus, Denmark, where he lived for 20 years.  Can you immagine a Spanish guy managing a Portuguese school? In Portugal, I’m sure there would be many voices against it. Thats the difference between developed and undeveloped cultures.

Saturday was a boring day, nothing much happened. I found out that my supervisor emails keep going to the garbage can automatically, but now I have solved the problem. Anyway, I finished the Interviews scripts and sent them to my supervisor. I got he’s OK, and now I have sent them to 3 other teachers, specialist in this line of work, so that they can approve or correct my scripts. I will keep waiting for their reply.

Sunday, I have taught a Karate class. I had 6 students, all girls. Don’t know what happened to the boys. Anyway, everything went fine although I don’t remember many Japanese words (I practised it for 10 years but stopped 8 years ago), for me it was easier then I thought, for them it was more difficult than I remembered. But they actually seemed to like it, they asked me to teach again tomorrow. 🙂 Which I, obviously, will.

So you see, anyone can teach anything they are capable of, here at the school. You don’t need to be a permanent teacher, nor a student. In fact, for example, there is an Italian girl here that is teaching Italian here, but she’s not a teacher nor a student, she’s just living here while she is in a Comenius program, teaching in a regular school in Fredericia. By the way, everyone makes the community chores, like cleaning dishes and cleaning the kitchen, even if you are just living here.

Today I asked for some documentation about the schools students, so that I can get the information about average ages, nationalities, so forth so on. However, I will only have those documents next week because Torbin (the head teacher) is really busy today, there are 14 new students coming in, and he has to search for the documentation. In fact, he’s always busy, running around showing the school to people, lots of public relations, lots of contacts.

Thank you Mizé for your comment on my previous post, I would like to point out the moments (+- minute 7) where he states:

Kids are growing up in an environment that is continuously changing (…)

There is a great [social] variety, so there will be a great variety of kinds of education (…) or should be! (…)

The things that students should be learning (…), they should learn what advertising is, and whether to believe it or not. (…) Because they are sorrounded by it, its their environment (…). They need to know about money, they need to know what daily life is like. (…) And they don’t get that in a traditional education system. And there are many other things that they should learn. And each kid is different and should not be treated as a product in an assembly line.

And since I’m checking he’s interviews, here’s another one where he starts talking about education in minute 15:

[in the industrial revolution] they said “What we need is an education system that will introduce (…) industrial discipline” (…)

[the current education system] It’s designed to produce kids that will be good little factory workers (…)

(…) those kinds of factories are not going to exist for the kids coming out of our schools today (…)

(…) kids learn more (…) from people outside the school (…) so why not bring some of those people into the teaching program?! (…) “I’m a pilot, I’m a dentist, I’m this, I’m that… this is what I do…” (…) show what a bank is and how it relates to a department store (…)because the outside world is where they are going to be living, not in a classroom (…)

Today they are saying you can work from home, are they saying to kids they can work at home? No.

To end this post I drop here some of he’s quotes that I consider very important and that I have read in some books from other authors (i.e. Peter Drucker, Paulo Freire):

“Society needs people who take care of the elderly and who know how to be compassionate and honest. Society needs people who work in hospitals. Society needs all kinds of skill that are not just cognitive; they’re emotional, they’re affectional. You can’t run the society on data and computers alone.”

Alvin Toffler interviewed by Norman Swann
5 March 1998

 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Rethinking the Future
March 1997