Thank you for embarking on this great adventure with us! We hope that we will be able to pick your interest, make you discover new educational approaches, make you think and travel with us. Today, for this very first publication, we want to introduce you our project a little bit more. To explain you what it is, where it came from, how it will materialize. Thereafter, each week, before our departure, we will tell you about the preparations, the meetings that we will make here in Quebec, the countries that we will visit and the reasons that led us to choose them, etc. But first, what is it Apprendre autrement ?
Apprendre autrement is a project whose main objective is to discover the different learning methods developed for children aged from 0 to 12 around the world. Whether it is the public school services of the countries we will cross, an alternative pedagogy or even a traditional way of transmitting knowledge, we wish to highlight it in an objective and open way. In Quebec, like everywhere in the world, there are major questions about our education system. Whether it is the debate related to kindergarten for 4-year-olds, the high dropout rate, the way to reach boys, the public system versus the private system, etc., education is making headlines day after day if we agree or not on solutions (or on the funding required) to solve the problems we identify. And yet it is not the lack of implemented reforms in recent decades, is it?
What if the solution was elsewhere? What if opening up our horizons, thinking outside the box and questioning not only portions of our programs but its entire structure, led us to something completely different? This is what some countries, like Finland have done, with the results that we can see today. But then, why not just implement the Finnish program all over the world and especially here if it works that well? It’s the kind of questioning that inspires our project. Is there really an educational program that could be applied wall to wall, everywhere on the planet, or at least in industrialized countries and be suitable for all? Is it really plausible to think that a program, as fantastic as it is, can suit all children, no matter how they learn, the country and the values in which they grow up and their particularities? In our opinion, only one thing is certain, we have a lot to learn by looking at what is happening elsewhere!
During the first year, we will cross Europe, Asia and Africa, to discover the world of education. From the Finnish school system which is the current ideal of the planet, to the teaching of the values and traditional knowledge offered to the Maasai children, via the daycares in the woods in Denmark, the very demanding school system of Japan, the two speeds of India, alternative pedagogies present everywhere on the globe like Montessori, Reggio or Waldorf or even unique lessons developed in connection with the mores and customs of the country or the social class of children, our reports and writings will aim to promote children, their parents, their educators, their schools, their daily lives. We hope to be able to continue our journey for at least a second year in order to allow us to deepen our research in Oceania, South America and North America.
This blog, and a Youtube channel which will be launched in the coming months, will allow us to testify, day by day, of our discoveries and offer a voice to all those people who are at the heart of the learning of children from ‘here and elsewhere.
By the time we leave, set for July 15 2019, we will meet people who are already doing things differently, here in Quebec, in order to have a bases for our discoveries, to be able to make concrete links with what is happening here. To better understand our context. We will obviously share our discoveries with you, all over the next few months. Far from us to judge or determine, here, as elsewhere, which system is the best. We wish you and us to open our horizons, to raise awareness, to question ourselves together and even, why not, to stimulate debate. So do not hesitate on feeding us, to share your opinion, your ideas! As long as it is done with respect, it will be a pleasure to read and hear from you!
Apprendre autrement is Geneviève Gauthier, Montessori educator (an alternative pedagogy for which I am trained and who I currently use with the children in my daycare) and journalist by training, and David Garceau-Gosselin, computer technician and film maker – fitter for the project, who have at heart the development of the child and wish to work to improve the general knowledge of what is happening in education everywhere around the world.
When we return, we plan to put together a conference and documentary on this trip and possibly, to write a book. And we hope to be able to continue our research on the subject in the long term by visiting other countries, with the aim of expanding this new knowledge.
So take a seat and make yourself comfortable! We are leaving for a long journey to discover education!
Geneviève and David