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Nivoz Podium

Dialogue at the tables

The symposium Unfolding Human Potential (feb/2017) was organised with the practice of teaching as its starting point, followed bij dialogue and experience of 8-10 participants at 12 round tables, supported or challenged bij academic input at the end. Jasja van den Brink and Annonay Andersson were two of the participants. Jasja is a pedagoog, an educational coach and trainer, beside member of the @school team of the film Down to Earth and edublogger at Hetkind.  Annonay is a member of the NIVOZ institute, she is child psychologist as well. This is what they wrote and reflect…

Chapter 1: The (true) nature of teacher-student interaction


* by Jasja van den Brink

Inspired by several talks and two practice-based videos of and RVC De Hef, we embarked on a conversation about the (true) nature of teacher-student interaction. The leading question was: How do we perceive children’s well-being as they grow up and take responsibility, and what qualities of interaction are important to guide the development of children?

If you clear away the stones on the path, your children don’t have to trip over them. ~ Old Native American proverb~

One of the first reactions stated it was important to be open to your students, because it is in this relation that teaching can take place. Someone else added that this is the basis of education: being instead of performance. We should shift our gaze off the nowadays focus on ‘competence’, to the ‘ethos’ of teaching. At school, we are the ones who introduce children into the world. And what is it that we’re showing them? What we think or who we are?

Read more from Jasja, dialogue 1

* by Annonay Andersson

After seeing the videoclips, people were struck by several things:

  • They focused a lot on the so-called ‘soft issues’, that inspired me.
  • What resonated with me was that the role of the teacher should not be seen as ‘alone’. No one can make a difference on their own.
  • This is the ideal world, what is shown here. My mind wandered to the the more problematic side to teaching though…
  • Being authentic applies to all teaching
  • I noticed that Naima used other words, like love and soul.
  • What inspired me was the balance you have to search for as a teacher between helping en pushing
  • Both films show the importance of self-awareness

Read more from Annonay and her table

Chapter 2: The (true) nature of teacher education

* by Jasja van den Brink

The second dialogue of day one was centered around the question: What does it ask from professionals in education to guide our children’s development within educational institutions and how should they prepare professionally for this? How do they perceive their responsibility?

I always like to be out of my comfort-zone.
That’s why I’m a teacher: You never know what happens!

~ Marta Zorilla Ferrer, Escola Marina, Barcelona

The first response was teachers should inspire their children to love learning. Teachers can teach by example. You must be able to be vulnerable, to be at ease with chaos. And that’s easier said than done, because in our fear-based system we are taught to control everything. As a teacher you try to keep balance between chaos and structure; maybe pedagogy should be perceived as an art-form! Art is always a bit messy and chaotic. It involves thinking out of the box, creativity and courage. Teachers nowadays – generally speaking – tend to respect rules too much. The solution simply can’t be to dismiss all rules. I think it’s an asset to know and understand the rules well. And then it is up to you to decide – moment to moment – to keep, bend or break them.

How should we stimulate this ‘artistic’ mindset?

Read more from Jasja dialogue 2

* by Annonay Andersson

Read more from Annonay, dialogue 2

Chapter 3: The (true) nature of pedagogical leadership and school development

* by Jasja van den Brink

The second day, about the nature of leadership and school development, started with some inspiring videos and talks with ‘the leaders’from Laterna Magica, Titus Brandsmacollege en L école Singelijn.

Management is doing things right;
leadership is doing the right things.

– Peter F. Drucker, management consultant and author

Our discussion opened with the statement that true leadership in schools can be defined by the willingness to share power with others in your school. These leaders talk about ‘our’ school and ‘us’. They really care about their staff and their people. They let their role as principal be defined by the questions and needs of other people. Their inspiration comes from clear values, supported by theory and practice. And, as we could learn from the example of Laterna Magica, they also are in a learning relationship with their inspector.

Read more from Jasja, dialogue 3

* by Annonay Andersson

This is a transcript/summary of the table conversation with:

Detlef Hardorp – European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education
Anne Jan van den Dool –
Marianne Rongen – Primary school
John Rizzo – Consultant / Education Entrepreneur, Brussel
Dorothee Krekelberg – HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen-Arnhem
Hester IJsseling – Primary School De Kleine Reus, Amsterdam
Corina van Doodewaard – CALO – Windesheim University of Applied Sciences
Saskia de Bruijne – De Kleine Wereld Rotterdam

Read more from Annonay, dialogue 3

Chapter 4: The (true) nature of enabling educational research (towards a new scientific ethos)

* by Jasja van den Brink

The last discussion-topic of the symposium was: What can research ‘bring’ to education? And is everything desired in educating our children for their future measurable?

We started off with someone’s statement that the way research is done nowadays, leads to alienating. We collect data, and 4 or 5 years later we produce an unreadable article. It is unfair to expect teachers to get the knowledge via osmosis. If we do research, we have to give teachers the training and rapport to implement the new ideas. It’s not enough to only inform the director of outcomes, we have to spin this around. And it simply takes time, to really understand the core of what is being researched. One of my messmates gave the example of some extensive research he had done on play and its benefits. He was very enthusiastic about the outcomes, but the way these outcomes were translated to the schools was the biggest disappointment in his career: The whole experiment was summarized to: Play is good. And to stimulate this, a ‘Play-agenda’ was handed out to the teachers that year. ‘Just don’t look’, his brother advised him.

Read more from Jasja, dialogue 4

* by Annonay Andersson

Read more from Annonay, dialogue 4

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