Firstly I’d have to introduce myself in order for you to understand my background and how it interacted with the topic of the TC. So. My name is Artur Safonov and I’m a student of the University of Turin in Italy. It’s not the first time for me being a student, I already have one degree in languages that I got back in Russia where I am from.
The TC I took part in was devoted to analising and creating non-formal activities for educators to use in their practice in order to develop critical thinking. So basicly the perfect profile of a participant would be reassumed as an “educator”. Which I was not and most probably I am never going to become. This means that I was quite judgemental about myself before coming to the project. Even though that according to my first degree I am a teacher of German and English, I was never trully interested in that role. I just never felt that I’d fit in.
I don’t want to surprise you. After this experience I didn’t change my mind, I don’t think I ever going to become a teacher or an educator. Although the experience itself was mindblowing: I’ve got to know and work with such strong professionals in education field. School teachers from Romania and Turkey, university professors from southern Italy.
I guess what you’d be surprised to know is that it looks like the school system in Romania and Turkey is more progressive than an Italian one. These are some of the conclusions that I directly was happy to contribute to from a student perspective. A mostly pathetic perspective of a student in a role of a simple and primitive reciever of information which Russian and Italian education workers would call Knowledge with the capital “K” or even written in uppercase.
It is a primitive role of a robot. But I’m sure that from a contemporary image of the robot that we have now, or a computer if you wish, we don’t expect any critical thoughts. The robot just exersises it’s memorising skills and might also expect the progress to give it a more spacious memory drive. A memory drive that modern computers and overall internet have is already thousands times bigger that a human brain is able to memorise. That sort of a human robot looks just like a joke next to any gadget in a hand of any teenager.
Where do we have a chance to beat the computer? Here come critical thinking skills: the most important skill to choose, to choose what’s important and what’s not, setting the priorities based on a persons interests and life goals, navigation skills, learning to learn skills.
As I was saying I’m a perfect example of a traumatic result of a Russian and Italian education systems that made me believe that being enciclopedia is more important that a choice maker. I think this TC was a moment for me to break that kind of illusions and finally admit that navigation and choice skills are way more important for my personal future growth.
So, to make things short. This TC didn’t make me want to become a teacher, it didn’t change my mind. But now I have more confidence in running my own activities, running it with a group of people I share values with. Now I have a much better understanding that educator is not anymore a role with a strict definition and which also includes much smoother combinations of skillsets.
Again in my experience I got convinced that practically anyone can contribute something to any kind of experience. So this idea just brings me to a conclusion that participatory approaches are very important and it’s also very important to have a various group composition. In this way I was able to share my scholar and university experiences from a student perspective and to address them to the teachers and educators I shared a beautiful and productive week with.