Movement For Improvement



Our third day in Belgium

Today was a very special day for us, as we had the opportunity to visit the Center of Experiential Education in Leuven and more importantly, to meet Prof. Dr. Ferre Laevers in person. He is one of the “founders” of experiential education and therefore the reason this project exists.
We had an extremely warm welcome and although our group was overwhelmed by emotions at first, Ferre’s young and casual self made us feel better as well. Soon an open dialogue began, in which Ferre asked our opinion on several aspects of education in general, but also of the experiential education method.
We answered questions like “What do you think is the most important value or attribute of high-quality education?” and the answers brought us face to face with the fundamental principles of experiential education: the well-being of the student and his involvement in school activity.
Ferre explained to us how these two things, so simple, are actually the basis of a child who will grow up to become a successful adult. “Our governments and education ministers all over the world expect children to have amazing results in school, but how can we demand that when those children have not been given a proper environment to achieve that?” he told us. And how true his words are, because after all, these are “two things that you can apply in any environment, from a kindergarten to a nursing home.” Some people believe that well-being cannot be measured, that it is too biased to be expressed in numbers, but Ferre counters this with the simple fact that you can see happiness on a child’s face, in their behavior, when they don’t know they are being observed.
Another fascinating thing he told us about was the process through which teachers go in order to become those people who walk into the classroom and make children marvel at what might otherwise have been a mundane lesson. Many people, even among us, believe that it is more a matter of inspiration and imagination, an idea that starts everything, but we have learned that it is a well-thought-out process that includes a lot of factors. Teachers, when choosing to use this pedagogy, must take into account factors such as: how much room for student initiative is left, ways in which they can express themselves creatively, the climate of the classroom and many others.
Today we had a unique experience and we were honored to have this opportunity, because it helped us really understand how much work goes into things that for us have become normal. Now we can look at them from another perspective, something which can only fill us with a sense of respect for all the dedicated teachers in this world who choose to provide an experiential education to their pupils. We believe that the information received today is extremely valuable, and the arguments in favor of this pedagogy are numerous, something that we hope those at home and not only, will notice as well.