Working for those that are marginalised, Pedagogy For Change in Denmark is doing what it can for positive change. Here, we find out more.
Through this article, we travel to Denmark to explore a wonderful and unique programme for those who like to immerse themselves in a purposeful educational environment for 12 months.
The Pedagogy for Change offers one year of training and experiencing the power of pedagogy – while one puts their skills and solidarity into action in Denmark.
This important program helps marginalised children and youth.
If you are asking how, keep on reading to hear more from Greta Lupieri, teacher at Pedagogy for Change, Team 2021.
Speaking to Youth Time, she elaborates on a new Pedagogy for Change team which is starting these days, with 16 participants, and also introduces us to the Planet Protection Conference.
Studies and hands-on training takes place in Denmark, where one will work with children and youth at specialised social education facilities or schools with a non-traditional approach to teaching and learning.
Let’s see together how this looks, and why it benefits the community.
Educators Addressing Society’s Needs as they Evolve
Initially, she elaborates, Denmark has a long tradition with community-based pedagogy anchored in humanism and the belief that everyone, regardless of background, should have access to education and the possibility for positive personal development.
As the society evolves, she goes on, the tasks of its educators change.
“In the old days, impoverished inner-city children were placed in camp schools in the countryside in their school holidays to get some sunshine, eat wholesome food and to put on weight.
“Today, the same institutions cater for obese children with social media addictions who need something different: they need to discover outdoor activities, experience friendships through communal activities like sports in order to gain confidence in themselves.”
So, the Pedagogy for Change programme works with several partner schools and care homes that look after children and youth who are marginalised in different ways.
“Often, they come from homes with few resources, or they find it difficult to find their place in mainstream schools, because they have special educational needs or are affected by a personality disorder, are struggling with identity issues, or have few social skills.”
They [the youth] do not fit in within the norms of schools or other social groups and therefore face loneliness and exclusion, Lupieri explains.
“Often, this type of youth is regarded as a ‘problem’ by the society at large. They are unwanted in social contexts, and often denied basic respect and dignity, because of their so-called challenging behaviour.”
In other words, they are excluded.
To counterbalance this, the Pedagogy for Change partners has run social or educational projects for over two decades.
“Schools and care homes where rebellious youth are met with respect, humanity, curiosity, activity-based programmes, and a vantage point based on solidarity and a will to move forward, together.”
Lupieri believes, an important aspect for social educators to succeed are openness, patience, willingness to form meaningful professional relationships and a focus on positive activities of different kinds.
“The starting point for participants in the Pedagogy for Change programme is therefore to organise activities they are passionate about – be it sports, music, cooking, taking care of animals, arts, skateboarding, manga, going for walks, eSports or whatever – in order to earn the needed respect and trust before they can take on other roles as positive change practitioners.”
According to her, it takes time to bring about actual progress–and community.
“The ultimate aim is to create another type of school, populated by another kind of teachers who are passionate about creating positive change together with their students–regardless of who they are, or where they came from.”, she explains.
Pedagogy for Change Improving Lives
Once joining Pedagogy for Change, participants work with children and youth at specialised social education facilities or schools with a non-traditional approach to teaching and learning.
Lupieri elaborates on how this program improves the lives of youth and their chance to be part of their communities.
One important aspect is to provide opportunities for these children and youth, meaning access to activities that they have never had the chance to experience, she says.
“It could be growing your own vegetables, keeping hens for eggs, going for tours to the local forest or beach, sailing, horse riding, learning how to play an instrument, biking or simply experiencing the luxury of having your own room to decorate.”
In addition, through several activities, Pedagogy for Change allows the marginalised children and youth to live an eye-opening experience which allows them to discover that the world is full of opportunities- for them too.
Events like Winter Concert, Poetry Festival or the very popular Olympics where many schools and care homes gather for two days of sports and fun stand as an outstanding example.
The aim is to instil confidence in the young people and hopefully for them to find motivation to work towards a future that they would like to have.
It is good for all of us to be challenged on our social norms and discover that the world and the people in it are more diverse than we first expected; she believes.
“Therefore, Pedagogy for Change trainees at the special schools or other social education projects means a lot for the children and youth there. Some of them suffer from anxieties and are not confident about roaming around in their communities, let alone the world. “
Along these lines, ‘Bringing the world to them’ by creating a multicultural environment is highly beneficial.
“The presence of different role models is important. Role models who speak other languages, introduce new kinds of food, share their unique passions, and who are happy to be themselves regardless of body shape, gender identity, background, or other uncommon or very common personal traits give the children and young people the possibility to meet someone who they can reflect themselves in. It is important for their personal growth,” she further adds.
Planet Protection Conference
Rather than having a conference, this year, Pedagogy for Change is hosting the Nature Now Camp, which will last two weeks.
“It coincides with the COP26 meeting on Climate Change in Glasgow, which takes place in November 2021. We structure the contents of the course in a way which is suitable for absolute beginners and seasoned climate activators, young and old.”
The Nature Now Camp is for people interested in learning about the science of Climate Change and Global Warming, its causes and effects and our possibilities as humans to act together to get to grips with the challenges at hand.
“This is super relevant for all of us and something that will be discussed abundantly in the media because of the important COP meeting where world leaders will hopefully do the right thing,” she asserts.
A similar camp with the same programme will take place at a teacher training college in Mkushi, Zambia.
“The participants in the Nature Now Camp will meet online with the participants in Zambia to exchange experiences and ideas and work together to plan practical solutions that people can implement, hands-on actions and other ways of engaging the local communities of the participants in the camp.”
Celebrating a Great Beginning
Team 2021 is the first 12-month Pedagogy for Change, so this pioneering team will be the first ones who will test-drive the programme
Lupieri recalls that this team has just started and is spending two weeks together to get introduced to the programme and to get to know each other, their teachers and their future practice schools or specialised social education institutions, where they will practice.
“In between lectures, discussions, practical actions, and daily life tasks, they have also had time to go for a sailing trip, play volleyball, go to the beach and do other kinds of sports.
“Most of them are very keen on sports, dance, and outdoor activities which is perfect – because they will use this to their advantage when they start their practical training.”
During activities, Pedagogy for Change has followed a strict protocol for testing, distancing, and in later months, vaccinations, during the whole pandemic.
As planned, a new team will start every year in August, and Pedagogy for Change will adjust the programme as they go along. At the same time, participants will study for a B-certificate in Pedagogy.
“That’s how it is: teaching and learning is an ever-changing process,” Lupieri concludes and invites us to like Pedagogy for Change Facebook Page.
Click here to check Pedagogy for Change’s short course.
Since we are in Denmark, let’s take a look at the wonderful work the Crossing Borders is doing in the country:
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