Niels Brouwers is normaal gesproken docent biologie op The International School The Hague maar is op dit moment een jaar met sabbatical. Samen met zijn vrouw reist hij een jaar lang door Europa en bezoekt GLOBE scholen. Benieuwd hoe het gaat? Wij houden je op de hoogte!
Niels heeft de GLOBE-landen coördinatoren van Litouwen en Letland onmoet
Monday 5 december 2022
In the International School of The Hague, we teach our students to be lifelong learners. Trying to lead by example, this year I want to learn as much as possible from my peers regarding the implementation of GLOBE in schools across Europe. Besides visiting schools, I recently met up with the country coordinators for GLOBE in Lithuania and Latvia.
When I was in Vilnius in early October, I made arrangements to visit the country coordinator Gretė Vaičaitytė at her office of the governmental organisation ‘Lithuanian Centre of Non-formal Youth Education’. The centre Gretė works for, organises extra-curricular activities for school children across a broad range of areas, and GLOBE is one of the activities that is promoted. Latvia became a GLOBE member in 2002, and 70 schools have contributed to the program since then. During my visit, I had a very warm welcome by Gretė, and was shown around in her centre, meeting with the deputy director of the centre Gitana Viganauskienė and several of her colleagues.
In the middle of October, I visited Latvia and there I met-up with the country coordinator Krisjanis Liepins, working for the non-governmental organisation ‘Children’s Environmental School’. This NGO aims to promote environmental education in schools, and GLOBE is part of their portfolio. The organisation facilitates building school networks in environmental teaching, through national and international projects and seminars. In Latvia, since 1999, 30 schools contributed to the GLOBE program. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit a school in Latvia because of COVID restrictions, and as a result I also met Krisjanis online. He had put a very nice presentation together for me, highlighting some of the great projects and activities that they had organised over the years.
One of the things we discussed during these meetings was the value of having interactions between students and GLOBE teachers from different schools. In the Netherlands, it is normal that every year students have an opportunity to present their work in a national GLOBE conference. In Lithuania, a student conference is also organised every year, however, in Latvia this has been harder to do because of a lack of funding. I believe that students attending a conference is crucial for the GLOBE program to be successful, as this will instil the enthusiasm in students for doing science, and they can learn new things.
Presenting your work to others and having your peers show interest by asking questions is a great opportunity to learn social and presentation skills. From my own experience when attending scientific conferences, I really enjoyed this part of being a researcher; to be among like-minded people and to learn from each other’s experiences. Just having a good time by spending time together, significantly contributed to these experiences as well.
To have GLOBE teachers meet in these events is equally important to build and maintain the GLOBE community. In my visits with the different country coordinators and schools so far, I have already learned so much and have been inspired. By just sharing experiences, I have been getting more and more enthusiastic to properly rebuild the GLOBE community in ourschool. More importantly, I have made some excellent connections for the future, and opportunities for collaboration have emerged. For instance, I was asked to contribute to the annual meeting in Lithuania that was held 3-4 December. I prepared a presentation and video about my journey and what I have learned so far. This was shown on the 4 th of December to the students and teachers to hopefully inspire enthusiasm for contributing to future (international) conferences and generate possible collaborations. And who knows what further opportunities this will bring!?
My journey has brought me to Slovenia, where I recently visited two schools together with the country coordinators. More on this in my next report.
For now, warm greetings from snowy Slovenia,
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