The traditional method of education is outdated, and everyone can easily see it. We hear the voice of dissatisfied students, teachers and parents more frequently… Ant it seems that the conventional education can’t provide the modern society with optimum knowledge anymore. Therefore, we witness the introduction of new modern practices which are different from the existing principles. Many of those systems still remain at experimental level but the more developed systems show great potential and promising results which are many times better than the results achieved by the traditional methods of education in recent years.
Why are the innovative practices in education so successful?
Many of the currently developed educational programs rely on the alternative approach to the training process. Each of us is so used to the typical image of school – half empty classroom with a boring blackboard, – that any interesting and different approach automatically attracts new followers. It’s very pleasant and productive to spend the lesson under informal conditions, in the form of a conversation with the teacher, isn’t it? As a matter of fact, many modern educational practices are focused on making the education less formal. This greatly stimulates the interaction between the students and the teacher, reduces the psychological stress caused by the teacher’s authority, while the students become more independent and strive for real knowledge, not just high grades.
Countries with innovative educational practices
Many European countries incorporate modern practices into the traditional education. May be that’s one of the reasons why so many young Bulgarians seek education abroad. The possibility of getting a better education outside Bulgaria actually represents a belief that the things are quite different out there. Yes, the things are quite different. The European countries listed below are of the utmost interest for Bulgarian students, not without reason.
education in Germany
Although some people may doubt that the “strict Germans” can invent something innovative, in recent years the alternative methods of education become increasingly popular in Germany, for example Fachhochschule – a university that offers a huge base of practical knowledge in each specialty it works with. Many of the studies are carried out in the form of workshops, not lectures. Students participate in projects that best match their skills, they have more freedom in their decisions and ideas, and the final result doesn’t matter as long as the student manages to make the most of the practical classes. Fachhochschule has become an example for many schools and universities in Germany, and this method is very popular today, while the traditional education is practiced only in classic universities which have very reputable and prestigious teachers, and simply can afford it.
education in Estonia
This is the country that has found a perfect balance between the traditional and alternative education. The established form of education is still lecture but it becomes more and more outdated giving way to more modern methods of education, may be under a certain influence by the neighbouring countries which have achieved a great success using those methods. The group classes become more and more popular, and the creative approaches to problem solving are largely encouraged. Electronic education becomes a basic idea for many schools and universities.
education in Denmark
Danish students attend lectures, perform individual studies and prepare individual or group projects. Like in Estonia, the truth also lies somewhere in the middle here. The classic method of attending lectures still works, but the system innovations also work equally well. Starting an individual project is quite a challenge even for the most intelligent student. The projects are selected in such a way as to stimulate fast and precise thinking, interaction and creativity. Presenting a global problem as a study question is a common practice. When we talk about things that we are really interested in, we tend to think and talk more, and to analyze the words that we and our conversation partners speak. The projects are difficult to execute but very creative and interesting, so no one can complain of boredom. Maintaining a proper level of interest is the most important task for any teacher, however, it seems that it’s not a problem for Danish teachers.
In Finland, teachers are almost like pharaohs as everyone has an absolute trust in their knowledge and competence. And there is a perfect reason for that. Teachers have the right to use any methods to conduct their classes optimally. In other words, the end justifies the means. This made many teachers to become very creative in their attempts to control and diversify the study process. Finland is considered as a country with the best education in the world. The established educational system works flawlessly. It can’t be considered as completely “innovative” because it has been used for 40 years already, but nevertheless, it constantly develops and changes, always providing ideal conditions to the students. Less classes, more games, no exams, no homework – a heaven for any student!
And finally… we can be proud that our own country has contributed to the development of alternative methods of education in the world. Suggestopedia is a teaching method developed by the Bulgarian psychotherapist Georgi Lozanov, and it focuses on the environment as a driving force in the teaching process. The essence of suggestopedia involves acting on the subconscious level and stimulating the memorization and assimilation of a certain material using non-academic side activities. Although not widely known, this method has many followers in the world and even private teachers who practice it using specific courses. The successful implementation of the course requires the participants to be relaxed and calm, and the class to be carried out “in a playful manner”. Interestingly enough, suggestopedia enjoys greater popularity in other countries than in Bulgaria.
It is proved that the described methods work, and the teachers who practice them in the teaching environment achieve better results compared to the standard methods of education. In fact, the common thing between all alternative methods of education is the change of environment. A clever man once said that there must be 3 conditions for an adequate dialogue: a sender, a receiver and environment. The teacher is the sender of the message, and the student is the receiver. The only thing they need for establishing a good contact between each other is a good environment, be it verbal or virtual.