How do you change the world? As part of the European Capital of Culture for 2017, Aarhus hosted a Rethink Activism festival in September where I met some interesting people, took part in some awareness raising exercises and learned about some innovative ideas.
Let’s look at the job of training teachers. How do you do that? Well you could teach theories of learning and pedagogy, followed by essays and exams to check understanding, and then send out your students to local schools to do some teaching practice, observed and graded by their university tutors and the school teachers.
you could ask that the teaching students go out in the world and learn about the world first and on their return work out the best ways of spreading the message about what they’ve learned around Europe (ie teaching). This latter option is the one taken by DNS College, Det Nødvendige Seminarium in Danish, meaning the necessary education. DNS College is a teacher training college in Denmark that requires its first-year students to plan and carry out a four-month trip to Africa as the first step to becoming teachers and to then spend 6 months of their second year teaching others what they have learned around Europe. The course is in English and attracts students from all over Europe. I talked to Marina from Spain who is in her third and final year, and Nadezda from Lithuania who did the course and is now a teacher on the course. So let’s go absolutely necessary.
Many of us would agree with the statement that Winston Churchill made famous that:
democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.
And yet many people are happy to see the number of democracies in the world rising; and a few people are excited by politics at the national level. But local government? Many find that very boring. And yet, if you think about it, local government should be the most interesting because it most directly affects you in your local area. During the UK referendum on whether to stay in the EU in 2016 I heard people saying that being in the EU meant that politicians in the UK at all levels had no real power but I discovered that this was not true when I heard about Peter MacFadyen in Frome and his idea of flat pack democracy. Peter and a group of other like-minded people got elected to Frome Town Council in 2011, started to make the whole process less formal and spreading the responsibility for the local environment back to the people of the town. So much so, that the Mayor of Seoul in South Korea sent a delegation to find out what was going on in Frome and how much could be imported into Seoul. So let’s go absolutely local and find out what Peter MacFadyen was up to.
And finally we’ll go to a restaurant that is trying to get the message across that we should eat less meat, more seasonal produce and more locally sourced food. Morten Storm Overgaard is married to Rikke Storm Overgaard who started Restaurant Moment in a small village near where I live in Denmark, in 2016, in order to put that message across by serving good food. In fact, the food is so good that many restaurant reviewers are saying that it is close to Michelin standard. But how easy is to spread the message of eating less meat, or no meat, in pork-loving Denmark? Let’s go absolutely vegetarian even though they don’t use that word at Restaurant Moment. Morten Overgaard has had visits from the Royal Jordanian family to study his techniques so this is another example of how people can change the world.
Are you changing your part of the world? Where did your inspiration come from? You can let us know in a comment here or on our Facebook page.
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The host of this show is: Anne Fox