Nordahl Grieg vgs in Washington DC.

DSC_0093Last week, a group from my school attended the COSN conference in Washington DC. How on earth did that happen? I like to think that we made it happen, by being as true as possible to our vision and our goals.

We started Nordahl Grieg videregående skole in 2010. This year, Jan 2014, the pupils we brought to London and Paris in january, translated our vision into “Daring Minds Interacting” in English. They were not satisfied with our grown-up version from last year: “Bold minds in harmonius interaction”, so they changed it. Just like that. I think this shows some very important qualities: The pupils feel like they own the vision. It’s theirs, so they want the best possible translation, a translation they can relate to. It matters to them how it is understood and recieved. And they wanted a more active English translation, to them, it is about something they do, the way they work, and think.

We have taken a socio-cultural view on pedagogy. We believe in working together to learn, and that it should be done not only among pupils, but also among teachers, among leaders, and across these levels: Pupil-teacher, pupil-leader, leader-teacher. It implies a willingness to share, and to be open to what others have to contribute. My privilege is tutoring pupils from different classes and programmes before they do presentations like the ones they did in DC last week. To see them collaborate, using technology in the best possible ways to interact, and how they become friends in a matter of minutes, is a treat. There are no primadonna-attitudes,and no prestige in having it their way, just a willingness to make the best possible result together. Is it just the way they are, or did we do something right? I am not quite sure. What I am sure of, is that we encourage it.

As a logical consequense of our pedagogy and vison, we have chosen to be very transparent about our work. We have a lot of visitors all the time, we travel, and we also use social media a lot. It can be challenging from time to time, when it is taken as “bragging” and thinking that we are better than everybody else. You are not supposed to be too proud and happy about your work, some people think. But we cannot pay attention to things like that, when it’s all about making the best possible school for our students. Connecting to the outside world is key to make the pupils understand that they are part of the world, and that what they do in school, how they choose to work, matters. They need these 21st century skills to take their place as the generation that will have to solve all the emerging problems we have left them with.

We are proud that we were invited to speak at the COSN conference. We are extremely proud of the way Andreas and Louise represented our pupils. They were amazing. We made some new friends, that we hope to work with and learn from in the future. We want to share and work together with the rest of the world, making the best possible education for the future.