Thursday, March 9, 2017

Learning to Train Teachers

Experiencing first hand how the teacher training demand has increased tremendously just in the last year, mainly as a consequence of the new national core curriculum taking effect in August, the decision to package our own training offering at EdVisto as an independent product was a natural next step. Instead of letting school children wait for their teachers to get trained enough in new learning methodologies to dare putting them to use, I felt urged to push for a way to help catalyse the process of introducing our kind of solutions to them. Our digital product includes pedagogical guidelines behind the scenes that are not easily visible for teachers, who don't actively use digital products. So instead of focusing only on convincing teachers and decision makers to try the product, we decided to offer a training around the concept that also includes the theoretical mind shift necessary to try new solutions in the first place.

An important key point I think is necessary to highlight on a theoretical level to teachers is the importance of the facilitator role. With emphasis on encouraging students to creating their own learning material in collaboration, teachers could try to step back and enjoy guiding and monitoring the learning process rather than enforcing it. I've experienced teachers having a hard time letting go of the control, the need to know everything before introducing something new to their students. At its worst, I'm afraid the exaggerated over-preparation before class, each class, every day, all the year, is killing even the most ambitious teachers' enthusiasm to be the role model their students need them to be.

I think we need to learn to trust students' own creative process and ability to learn without too much teacher input. In the end, it's only the students' curiosity and willingness to learn that will define where their lives' learning path will take them. There are no guarantees that even a straight-A student will get a good, normal job after studies, nor necessarily want one. Even he or she can become a broke entrepreneur with a vision to change the world in a way no academic education alone can predict.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Academic Entrepreneur Combines Research and Practice - the Story Continues...

A short interview about my entrepreneurial story (in Finnish) has reignited my interest to continue telling my story on a larger scale. Two initial talks, at a local high school and at Aalto University Executive Education, gave me the opportunity to start reflecting anew on the entrepreneurial aspect of my last 10 years.

As a hobby project, I'm back to writing the complete first draft of my "5 Years in Colombia - How I Reeducated Myself in the Slums", while I'm a little more than 2 years in to working on making "Video Storytelling as a Learning Method" the next big thing in the education system of Finland and worldwide.

5 years have passed, since I moved back from Colombia and I have now spent another 5 years in Finland, the educational Mecca of the world. In Colombia, I got to visit 200 schools in the slums of Aguablanca, an adventure that started an eyeopening learning journey that still continues here in Finland. Here, after having worked with hundreds of Finnish teachers, while fine-tuning our learning platform that aims to grow global to empower the children of the world, I'm experiencing how all the pieces are falling into place in the grand jig-saw puzzle of my professional ambitions.

I'll continue using this space for my own reflections, possibly publishing some of the chapters from my book, possibly rehearsing some of the material I aim to use for teacher trainings. I've spent the last year and a half digging into the craft of storytelling, taking it as a professional training as well as a passion project to start developing my own storytelling skills. Although my stories might not be published here, my reflections will.