Non-traditional training: Some basic concepts
Some words from the teachers at the learning centres about some basic concepts of the training you will receive in the Preparation Period. A hand-on, non-traditional approach to learning is used at the learning centres.
About traditional education systems
In many traditional educational institutions, students are faced with the fact that there is no time to learn about the human condition. Therefore, societal issues like stress, loneliness. discrimination, inequality or alienation are not debated and addressed – unless you do a course specifically about these topics. Also, the overshadowing challenge of how to deal with climate crisis is simply absent.
Students are not encouraged to learn in depth about these subjects in a way that brings about an intellectual awakening. How to deal with the enormous challenges that lie ahead is not something that traditional education systems take upon themselves to solve.
When young people go on strike for the climate, traditional politicians scold them for not respecting the rules of the education system.
Children are subdued
Most educational systems take it for granted that children will have to fit into their prototype mould, rather than the system catering for the needs of its pupils.
Most schools are not interested in the duality of life and work. As a consequence, they do not ask how the child shall become able to solve the problems of life and work. This means that children are oftentimes left alone in the struggle to find meaning in the world. The significance of living is simply not dealt with or discussed in most schools.
The result is that the child becomes subdued. He or she becomes yet another child that fits to the pre-defined prototype. The question is: What is the value of knowledge if the child is left in confusion about how to handle life itself?
Non-traditional teaching and learning
As you may have noticed by now, we much prefer “teaching and learning” as opposed to “education”. This is because “education” has a top-down aspect attached to it. Often, a curriculum is imposed from a ministry or similar, with few possibilities for teachers or students to influence the content or the methods used. Therefore, we prefer to call it “teaching and learning”, because this means having the students and their teachers at the centre of the process.
At our learning centres, we insist that teaching and learning does not take place inside a vacuum. Instead of pretending to exist in a vacuum, we focus on the status and conditions of the past, present and future world. We do this to provide tools that the former child, who has now grown into adulthood, can use to make their mark together with others to improve the lot of humankind.
So, this is not an “easy” kind of schooling, neither for students nor for teachers! The training is described in a programme book, with each week having its own headlines, courses, tasks and goals to strive for.
One example: Working in Trios
Here is one example of how we view teaching and learning as a collective process. We believe that working together, using each another’s strengths and solving problems together, are essential skills to have – especially when you are in the business of creating positive change.
Therefore, you will work in Trios. A Trio is a nucleus of three people who stick together about the daily day, the programme, the studies and the responsibilities. Why three you may ask? Three is a good balance. Two people may easily agree or disagree without having to go deeper in their considerations. Four can easily agree to disagree and therefore split. In a Trio both of these are difficult options. So, in our experience, a Trio is a good support in sticking together for the right reasons.
A holistic undertaking
In short, our learning centres maintain that teaching and learning should be a holistic undertaking where all participants acquire knowledge and skills, both theoretical and practical, which will make them able and willing to act in their present reality.
Volunteers should learn how to work together, combine practice and theory, learn by doing, develop critical thinking and, importantly: experience how they can be agents of change.
Some questions we try to answer are: How do we take responsibility for ourselves, our team and our immediate communities – and ultimately humanity and the planet itself?
This is but a short introduction to the non-traditional learning approach we use at the learning centres. We hope to see you here, so we can explore further, together.
By the Teachers’ Council
Aspects of People, Planet, Prosperity, and Peace in training of international volunteers to be useful and respectful allies of marginalised communities.
DAPP Zambia’s Children’s Town project assists in the rehabilitation of former street children and other young people in need of a secure base and vocational training.
As part of their initial training to become useful international volunteers, the team participates in arranging an event, for example, a conference, a concert or a sports event.