For two sunny days, April 29 and 30, Kharkiv became a hive of new educational activities and discussions.
The third national EdСamp Ukraine 2017, referred to as unconference, gathered about 650 teachers and students from all over Ukraine, domestic and foreign experts in the field of education from 20 countries in Beit Dan Centre.
Minister of Education Lilya Hrynevech and Kharkiv Governor Yulia Svitlychna attended the event yesterday. The Minister joyfully took part in workshops, answered the journalists’ questions on the issues of Ukrainian education. Lilya Hrynevech have called the participants of the event “the agents of changes” highlighting that she is aware of the difficulties the innovative active teachers face daily at work and that she is supporting their initiative.
The main events of the session were discussions on modern trends in pedagogy, sharing new ideas and practices and intensive learning with a lot of fun.
“It’s not a question of technology or students. It is a question of us, educators, of our learning environment evolution. We should keep learning. If we stop learning, we are dead. That is the main change, which the system of education needs. And every person is both a teacher and a student,” says a participant of the unconference, educational activist Philippe Greier from Brazil.
Greier adds that a few years ago he have had no picture of Ukraine so he is discovering the country and Kharkiv for himself. His first surprise was that Ukraine “appeared to be so close” as he could get here taking a three-hour flight from Vienna. Another astonishment for him were local people “who are not only very friendly and helpful but also very professional”. Now Greier is planning to organize an educational tour to Kharkiv this fall.
The most welcomed guests of the unconference were 15 teenage students from schools of Stanytsia Luhanska, the area located in the immediate proximity of ATO zone. The students live and study under an everyday threat of shelling or Russian attacks though they are eager to get knowledge and benefit their land. The main purpose of their coming is taking part in an open lesson as juries and evaluating the teachers. The children came with their teachers due to a support of Serhiy Zhadan Foundation, which funded all the expenses of this trip.
“The children are happy to come to Kharkiv, they dreamt of speaking Ukrainian as at home they mostly speak Russian outside the school,” says Ruslan Tkach, principal of Pertopavlivka (Stanytsia Luhanska) school 2. The director says that patriotic education plays a huge role in the region. Also, an educational exchange when teachers from Western Ukraine and America come to teach in the East of Ukraine is vital.
“The war will end when the Russian soldiers leave our territories. As we all see, there are Russian troops in occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Without Russian weapons our people in all parts of the country will be able to reconcile and find a common language very fast, no matter which one – Ukrainian, Russian or Hungarian – they speak,” says the school principal from Petropavlivka village.
Note: The first EdСamp took place in May 2010 in Philadelphia. Since that time, the movement spread to 28 countries throughout the world and over 200 EdСamp events have been held. In December 2011, the Edcamp Foundation was formed to “promote organic, participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators worldwide.”
Text, photo: Olena Sokolynska