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What do you expect your teacher to do whilst for a whole week on a Canary Island in November in the middle of term? Sipping a glass of red at a small beach bodega taking a good break from the daily hustle and bustle at school might be one of the images popping up. To be honest, the cliché isn't entirely wrong, but let me tell you why it only shows part of the picture.

 Of course we actually did work on Tenerife. Together with my colleague Christiane Kalverkamp I attended the seven-day-training course "Applying non-formal eduction in school and adult education organizations". The structured course aimed to guide participants through the possibilities offered by the emerging trend of integrating non-formal working methods into formal educational pathways. It took place in the centre of Puerto de la Cruz, a touristy city on the north coast of Tenerife, and was financed by Erasmus+, the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. It provides opportunities for a wide variety of individuals and organisations. At Ottilie-Schoenewald-Weiterbildungskolleg the projects are meticulously organized by Andrea Hein and generously supported by our headteacher (thank you!).

 So far Erasmus+ staff mobilities have allowed me to travel to a number of destinations developing and sharing knowledge and experience in courses and job shadowings. What I came to understand on these journeys is the true meaning of European citizenship while interacting with colleagues from all over Europe using English as our lingua franca (hence the language of my report). Like in Chinua Achebe's saying, "The world is like a mask dancing. If you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place.", the programme enables me to see my school and the German educational system, but also my profession and ideals from many different angles. It makes me even more aware of why I chose to become a teacher and time and again has provided me not only with knowledge and skills but also with a motivational boost, which (hopefully) reflects on my teaching. Being myself a teacher in adult education, it is a key to stay a lifelong learner myself.


Alena Jahnke

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