Rob Osborn, UK to DK, October 2013
I am always overwhelmed by the generosity of our hosts and their amazing ability to converse in English so that we always feel welcome and at home. The visits to the different schools and colleges made me realise that restorative approaches are at the heart of the ethos and culture of their education system. The schools all looked like extended families with all the members be they staff, students or parents working together with a common purpose.
Co-operative group work seemed to be a feature wherever we visited. I am really interested in how this ethos and culture is developed from an early age because from the lessons we observed the students seemed to be happy to work together with anyone regardless of whether they were friends or not. It seemed to be accepted as normal practice. I know that Danish teachers have far more non contact and preparation time than English teachers but that can only be part of the reason.
From visiting a number of schools in Scandinavia I am always aware of the family feel to them with everyone expected to look after each other. There seems to be less of a hierarchical academic driven approach and more focus on a holistic approach to each student. This does not seem to affect academic attainment -rather it seems to promote self esteem and the confidence to work to the best of their abilities. I think we have a lot to learn from each other.