Bezoek uit Zweden

Medio november heeft een docent Engels van een Kunskapsskolanschool in Böras, Zweden onze school bezocht in het kader van een docentuitwisseling. Onderstaand haar evaluatie.

My name is Sofia Freij I have had the amazing opportunity to participate in KED Teacher Exchange Program. I got the chance to travel to the Netherlands and stay for a week. A week full of inspiration, interesting meetings and new experiences. I visited Stella Maris College which is a large school with 2100 students. Approximately 550 students aged 11-15 read according to the KED model referred, to as GPL or personalized learning.

The school is situated in Meersen, a town close to Maastricht in the Netherlands. Two years  ago the concept of personalized learning moved into a traditional school and the idea is that the number of students within personalized learning should increase and include students who study at upper secondary level as well. Students work with the digital logbook, the learning portal, coaching sessions, workshop and various lessons. They have theme courses and they work with steps. All very familiar.

My personal goal was to look into how students are informed about the requirements for different grades and how the communication about requirements impacts on students’ motivation to learn. I found out that the teachers spend quite a lot of time on giving the students feedback on their assignments and if the students don’t reach the goal that they have set they are allowed to improve their work according to the feedback given and present it again. Meaning that the students are always given a second chance to improve their skills and reach their goal.

On the learning portal students can find rubrics describing the competence required for different levels in each subject. The students say that they read them and that they are helpful but sometimes somewhat difficult to understand, which is something that I definitely recognize from my own students. Marij, my host, spends more time explaining them in relation to the student’s performance after his or her presentation, whereas I spend more time trying to make my students understand the requirements in advance.

What really amazed me during my stay was how well the coaching sessions were conducted. Even though the Dutch teachers have not been practicing for very long the quality was high. This and the fact that the students are allowed to study at their own pace was what the students themselves presented as their favourite parts of personalized learning. Marij and I agreed on the fact that the coaching session is a vital, if not the most important tool in personalized learning.

Even though there were some differences when it comes to schools in The Netherlands compared to schools in Sweden, the things we had in common were more significant than the things that separated us. I recognized many concerns and challenges and my host and I immediately found common ground for vivid pedagogical discussions on how to organize and structure the daily work with the students to enable and bring to life the vision and essence of personalized learning.

I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to visit and I am really looking forward to Marij’s visit in March. I wish this team and their colleagues the best of luck in continuing establishing personalized learning and adding something brand new to the educational system in the Netherlands.

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