Teachers’ Seminar in London, 15th and 16th April 2010.
After being awarded Queen Sonja’s Prize, 54 of the staff at Løkenåsen were able to travel to London for a two day seminar at AND, A New Direction.
Løkenåsen has always emphasized the importance of each student feeling acknowledged, gaining knowledge and developing skills that are useful in society. Promoting students’ self esteem by finding out how to improve academic skills through a practical approach for students who do not find abstract knowledge interesting, is a topic that the school focuses on.
Because we felt that we needed inspiration elsewhere, we got in contact with Paul Roberts, Managing Director of the British Improvement and Development Agency, the main speaker at a seminar about creative learning. He introduced us to AND, which is an independent charity, working with London’s schools and young people to develop creative approaches to learning. Through partnership they build aspirations and skills, connecting young people to their city and the opportunities around them. Through their work with schools and other settings for children and young people, AND aims to ensure that all young people are equipped with the capability to realize their own artistic and creative passions and pathways. They are funded to deliver the London Creative Partnerships Program, as well as developing other areas of work. AND had prepared two very interesting and challenging days for the staff from Løkenåsen.
We were received by their director Steve Moffitt, and two representatives of his staff Natasha Silsby and Rebecca Branch. At Discovery, the AND center for creative learning, they outlined their main objectives and methods like using Creative agents, Order of Importance Cards, Mid Point Review, End Point Evaluation, Learning through partnership, Learning styles, Cross Curricular Activities and Creative Partnership, where artists and professionals are brought in to help reorganize schools. We took part in challenging activities to make us think more creatively and we were shown an inspiring reading center for young children.
We were also invited to watch a performance by Connecting Vibes at Islington College, an award-winning college which has become a resource centre for youth that benefits from different learning styles.
The following day we went to The British Museum where we were met by Sophie Lovell Smith who set us tasks we were to work with the rest of the day. At Wallace Place we met the Creative Agents in a workshop. The agents help schools to develop more creative ways of teaching. We had the opportunity to try out some of these based on the visit to The British Museum.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this kind of exchange of pedagogical strategies, ideas and approaches. The program organized for us by Steve Moffitt and his staff was extremely inspirational both in terms of what we learnt and in terms of the catchy energy and enthusiasm in which it was presented. It’s also immensely encouraging meeting people who are at the cutting edge of pedagogical development in Britain and a good starting point for developing pedagogical approaches further for teaching at Løkenåsen.