This issue focuses on motivation, which was also the theme of an NVL conference arranged in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers on 3–4 June in Copenhagen. Motivation forms an important basis for most of our actions. What motivates adults to engage in lifelong learning? Most adults lacking in study motivation have traumatic experiences of school and education, and the last thing they want to do is return to school. But, as surely as autumn turns to winter and winter turns to spring, there are many elements, initiatives and, last but not least, support and guidance available for those who need a spark to participate actively in lifelong learning.
In Denmark, the government has embarked on a series of financial cutbacks. DialogWeb has interviewed Hanne Pontoppidan, president of the Danish Union of Education, who underscores the importance of maintaining a broad perspective in adult education despite tough economic times. The Faroese article takes up the need for a comprehensive collaboration, led by the public sector and with active participation by the employer and employee organisations. However, the initiative must come from the authorities, Vigdis Johannesen says. Goodwill and a desire for a solution alone are not enough if no action is taken.
Reaching out to new target groups is a challenge, says Andres Pung in the Estonian article. In Estonia, various initiatives have been financed by grants from the European Social Fund.
The importance of teachers’ role in learning motivation is seldom emphasized strongly enough. In Turku, 44-old Gerd Jäntti is attending evening school and plans to complete the upper secondary school final examination. The Finnish article relates her comments about the role of the teachers, how well they respond to the students’ needs, and how encouraging and inspiring they are because they believe in their students and in themselves. The Swedish article describes ”Lärarlyftet”, a government initiative designed to improve the quality of teaching. Many teachers appreciate this initiative because they feel that the teacher’s role is often thankless and demanding.
In Iceland, adults with work experience have for some years had a chance to to have their competence assessed. Magnús Þór is one of the ones who have accepted this opportunity, which gave him improved self-confidence and enough courage to return to school. In addition, the article descbribes the results of research conducted by Auður Sigurðardóttir for her Master’s thesis at the University of Iceland.
This month’s Norwegian contribution takes up the issue of including the scientific perspective in the motivation debate. It’s not just about the environment, biology is important, too! This is the message conveyed by Hanne Finstad, Dr. philos and leader of Forskerfabrikken. Two other Norwegians interviewed in this issue, Morten Flåte Paulsen and Kathrine Fournaros, talk about how students can help and motivate other students.
Erik Hemming gets in the last word in an interview from the Åland islands. Erik was asked to explain his ideas and philosophy regarding foreign language teaching. In his opinion, teaching and learning a foreign language is all about pointing, talking, asking and explaining, whether at home or on the town. – Just start talking and you will learn little by little.
For now, all you have to do is start reading! Enjoy!
Link to the Conference report
Motivate me www.motivateme.dk