The above picture was taken in a schoolhouse from the 1800s. What I think is sad is that many American classrooms still mirror this one that is over 200 years old: desks facing front with the teacher the center of attention as well as knowledge. In Sweden, the vast majority of the schools that I visited had completely thrown this model out the window. In fact, those that don’t follow this model threw it out the window long, long ago.
I’ve learned during my trip that there are many similarities between our systems of education, but also many differences. I’ve also learned that, just as in the US, schools vary so much between school districts and even between schools in the same district. Overall, I would say that each country has its strengths and challenges.
I look forward to returning to my classroom (I plan on getting in there on Monday!) to start implementing the furniture and design ideas that I gained while on my trip. I also look forward (as always) to digging in with my students and starting our new cooperative research and projects.
I am so thankful to the White Bear Lake Education Foundation for the grant to travel here. Even though I speak the language and have been in the country so many times that I feel like a could live here agin with a drop of a hat (and even gone to a whole year of high school here!), it was such an eye-opening experience to spend time here looking at everything through the lens of innovative educational practices. Who knows, I was offered jobs pretty much every school I went to…I wonder if WBLEF has a grant for moving expenses? ; )