Impressions of a workshop "Pedagogy of development in the Global South"

The pedagogy of development in the Global South”,

by Piotr Dzialak

Introduction: Another kind of teacher, and another kind of pedagogy for the development in the 21st Century. A teacher over cultural divisions, over social divisions, over economical divisions, over whatever divisions. Why it matters, and what teacher has to do with the development in Global South. Why is it then a problem that we know so much about Global South?

The workshop by Piotr Dzialak on “The pedagogy of development in the Global South” presented a new way of teaching and more specifically thinking about the Global South.

The worskhop introduced the participants to the BA in teaching at the Necessary Teacher Training College, DNS Tvind International School Center, Denmark, in cooperation with One World University. The main objective of this Bachelor is to give future teachers the experience of living in the real world. That world is their classroom and they are learning by doing. This is believed to be very important for future teachers, who will then talk about their own experiences to their students and as such be able to speak from the heart. The program consists of three years, each focusing on a particular practice field: year 1 at international level, year 2 at European level and year 3 at school level. To name but a few activities that are passing the review during the teaching program are a study travel to Africa, attending peace conference, activities related to climate change, ecological garden farming, teaching practice.

Following the presentation of the program, the participants looked more critical to their own education, and particularly were asked to be critical about the shortcomings in the existing educational system in Europe. Some gaps that were brought forward by participants are:

  1. Ability to think critically
  2. Communication skills
  3. Relationship management

In general, it was said that the existing educational system is extremely result oriented, looking at the perspective of knowledge acquisition with very limited attention/room for gaining social skills and attitudes build up through life-learning experiences.

The program at Tvind starts from a new approach, where everybody can teach others. And teachers in the program are ordinary people, talking from their own experience and background, sharing their own expertise. The role of the teacher shifts from knowledge transfer to connecting and coordinating information sharing between the people and the pupils.

In this regard, six common failures of current educational programs, that deliver school teachers, were presented:

F# 1: Not knowing the world

To address this shortcoming, teacher students are encouraged to go to the world and see it, experience it and personalize those experiences, bringing them back close to home. After attending the program, teacher students know what they are talking about as they have lived it themselves.

F# 2: Not knowing the audience (home)

Often, teachers have very little knowledge of what the lives of their pupils look like, although this is crucial to being able to understand and connect with the pupils.

F# 3: Theory without practice

Speaks for itself.

F# 4: Academic tyranny

Currently, main focus is on knowledge from books, and ancient researchers/inventors, and only few sports and arts, as well as limited participation in school management from pupils, as compared to the new approach where the management is running the school together with the pupils.

F# 5: Alienation in our society

There is an increasing voice for “ME ME ME”, forgetting about the focus on the group. This needs to be addressed by accepting others are different, respecting others as they are and prioritizing what is important rather than holding on to protectionist believes resulting in contrast between US and THEM as compared to WE.

To conclude, the workshop finished with some common prejudices, to see where this group of participants stands and as such identify some failures in development, and gaps in our knowledge on the South. The statements can be found in the presentation from Piotr. You can find the questions in the comment below (by Dzialak)

All in all, views of participants are quite moderate and varicolored and the need to break down GENERAL prejudices to specific contexts was made clear and obvious by all and to all participants.

Despite the valuable skills and attitudes that are taught in this bachelor, it is not recognized within Bologna system, which is considered to be the last and final fuck-up, F# X, as the world needs teachers who actively get involved in the world they live in and tackle issues like alienation, global warming and community problems.

Bringing us to the jobs students do once they have finished their bachelor program. Most of them end up being teachers, seen as providing eduction to children aged 0 to 9 years old, similar to principal education. But others get involved in other jobs, such as developmental project management in Global South, working with the youngesters with special needs, managers of NGO’s working on Climate Change, Peace and other big issues…

The teacher training college works in cooperation with programs training development instructors - working in the Global South - based on the same pedagogical principals.

The program originates from a failure of the teaching system that was observed in 1968, regarding discipline in the classroom. A group of young teachers got on bus and traveled the world, especially to Asia, where they met among many ovmnipresent poverty and unjustice - something not known to the Europeans living in a big comfort. From this journey, they wrote investigative guidelines that founded the basis for this new type of educational approach.

And the bottom-line is: “go it, be it, live it, tell it (the story)” :wink:

I had a good afternoon and enjoyed getting to know unfamiliar faces. Thank you.


Recognise the failures in education

…especially “academic tyranny”: if one is exposed to that as a young kid, a sense of permanent subordination to authority and lack of confidence tends to stick with you as an adult. Speaking from my own experience, it was only a couple of years ago as an adult that I felt I overcame this, mainly as an effect of socializing with Edgeryders like people. Otherwise even as an adult in my own local environments, schools practices get reproduced constantly - and people bow to status authority just because.

Thanks for posting your notes, @Briller_Loin76, any chance you can explain the connection with Global South in this pedagogy?

PS I also wrote to Piotr (@Dzialak on edgeryders should you want to keep in touch) to ask him to upload his presentation and notes.

The statements

The participants were supposed to decide to which extend they agree with the statment. Standing on the right side of the classroom - it’s mostly true, on the left side - it’s mostly wrong, and all the spectrum in between the classroom.

The statements were:

  1. People in Global South know little about the world.

  2. Africans are not really poor, have TV’s, phones, bicycles…

  3. People in global south look at Europeans as at walking wallets.

  4. Mauritanians are happy for foreign investment.

  5. Effects of climate change on Global South are still minor.

  6. Tibetans consider Dalai lama their spiritual leader.

  7. Many Chinese live in small villages with wooden houses.

  8. There are no elections in China.

  9. Colonial education was a big benefit for Africans.

  10. Migrants seek social welfare in Europe.

  11. Poor people spend their money on alcohol.

  12. Chinese ‘1-child policy’ is a disaster.

  13. Muslim women have no rights and are treated like slaves.

Don’t get the wrong impression: none of the statements are true and none of them are completely wrong. What matters is a degree to which they apply.

You can find more information: or by writing me a message: piotr.dzialak at gmail.