Svetlana · Teacher at DNS
I was born and raised in Lithuania (lovely country). Sometimes I think I was born with a certain condition, better to say beautiful addiction – the need of people around me. I often was called “out of mind” (always took it as a compliment) due to my wish for summer holidays to be over as soon as possible, willing to attend as many as possible activities outside the school and “chronic” interest for other people, in search for alternatives.
Searching for an alternative
Since the very beginning, education for me was about learning from, with and for people. So far, I managed to collect a few diplomas: philology, photography and social pedagogy. The last one brought me to Denmark, where I found the international community with the focus on alternative education and where I became another kind of teacher. The one who promotes curiosity, creativity and change. And this, by the way, is a radical move for today’s society.
Creative alternative education
Today, we need debates about feminism, peace, ecology, social movements, and much more. Creative alternative education offers each of us new perspectives and new ways of understanding. But we need people who will bring debates up, lead the creation of future projects, find solutions to big issues of our times. I do not believe in school.
Looking at history, at some point, it was a great idea to build a place where the one who is older shares the knowledge with the youth. I still think it can be a great idea if the school is an open space, a creative workshop where students are actively in charge of the learning process and willingly doing it; if the teacher is sharing experiences, common knowledge and not putting the strict frames on what and how the young should learn. As the purpose of education is not only to educate a person ready to work, but also to give tools for the person to learn about its talents and understand who he is.
Believe in teachers, not school
As such, I do not believe in school, I believe in teachers. They are activators of change. I think to be progressive, creative teacher is to be an inspired teacher, and to be a progressive student is to be inspired, active and fearless of failure. In this way, everyone becomes a global citizen, looking forward meeting challenges and improve the living. Isn’t that the goal of education?
At DNS International Teacher Training College, we promote a ‘hands on’ approach to learning, a spirit of enquiry and questioning. Here students are encouraged to work together to ask questions, explore different strategies of investigation, and create their own solutions. This approach is open about the fact that learning is an ongoing process that everyone is engaged in – teachers themselves might show that they are engaged in a learning process, rather than displaying laminated examples of the ‘best answer’ on the walls. Learning here means solving a problem in a new way and with people you normally wouldn’t.
Take risks and face fears
It means changing your perspective. It means taking risks, ignoring doubt and facing fears. It means breaking with routine and doing something different for the sake of doing something different. It means mapping out a thousand different routes to reach one destination. It means challenging yourself every day. Being teacher and learner here means searching for inspiration even in the most “boring” places. It means you’re asking random and even silly questions. It means creating without critiquing. And all of that, believe me, or not, is freeing up the mind. It frees you from certain expectations and stigmas, that I find it simply exciting.
Teachers lead the change
I choose to be a teacher, so I can question the education system and in this way, take part in its revolution. We need this on a global scale – to meet future challenges. And it means a lot on the individual scale too – to live a happy and productive life. And I do think this revolution can happen in every “classroom”. So, teachers of the world unite, let’s inspire much more to become the ones. Because, from my personal experience, to be a teacher today is interesting and exciting task – to create, to inspire, to imagine and lead the change. For me, it is clear you need to be a bit “out of your mind” to do that. 🙂
More Humans of DNS
I hope DNS will teach me the essential pedagogical skills that I will need in order to become the effective activist that I want to become, who uses education as a tool of mobilisation.
I feel it’s a key point to keep questioning what has been considered a norm. I would like to immerse myself into what we assume about learning and teaching and search for alternatives.
I have decided to join DNS for many reasons – one being that after my many adventures I have come to realise how important education is and that it plays a key role in societal change.
Theresa Link graduated from DNS in 2012. She has worked as a social educator and teacher in Denmark and Germany. Music and performance art are some of her passions.
My passion for learning makes me invest quite some time in finding out new things, new ways and new processes and, of course, my passion for learning made me become a teacher.
“Education must empower us to lead our own life, develop social connections, lift people up and bring them together. It must minimize the chances of being manipulated or becoming actors in someone else’s play.”