Schooling in Europe - by Sue Gaardboe
Why the trip?
I was invited to join a group of senior academics from UniSA on a fact-finding trip to Helsinki, Copenhagen and Barcelona. The University is looking to redevelop its Teacher Education facilities, and was interested in us looking at cutting-edge design of buildings, courses, teaching and schools in Europe. I was invited to accompany them as an educationalist with an interest in the application of digital technologies and problem-based learning. Of course a trip like this only manages to brush the surface of a hugely complex field. Teaching methods and student success are linked to so many things - community expectations about the way children behave and are treated; the standing of teachers and the role of schools in the community; funding models and national or societal expectations of priorities for funding, to name only a few. But even within these limits our examinations can help us to see our own place in the world, and help us see directions that could be of value.