Non-Formal Education (NFE) refers to any organized educational activity that takes place outside of the formal schooling curricula. Designed to foster inclusion, it is flexible, learner-centered, and often focused on practical skills and knowledge that can be applied directly to real-life situations.
It can take many forms as: Outdoor education, Adventure education, Eco-Schooling, Story-telling, Critical thinking sessions, Arts, Sports and more!
In the latest Jump session, teachers from Greece, Spain and Germany united under the NFE insignia in order to compare methods, identify criticalities and develop new lesson plans.
It was a challenging week but full of interesting confrontations. All within the beautiful frame of Soverato’s eminent spring season!
The first day focused on an introduction to NFE. Besides the regular benefits we all know… We figured NEF has an added and underestimated perk, it gives the chance to teachers to be human and share their values and passion.
This is made possible, because in NFE, the teacher is not supposed to have all the answers. They act more as a facilitator helping pupils walk on their own learning path. Personal hobbies, experiences and life events can become a great pretest for generating a new lesson all bound up by the goal of developing new competences (8 key competences).
Teachers can look up information with their students helping them to evaluate the validity of information and create their own sensible conclusions. And most of all… Teachers can show that even they may fail and learn. Giving students one of the most important lessons of life “Failure defines the process… Not your self-worth.”
Such knowledge is the steaming forge of self esteem which then is the best predictor of your student’s success in life!
On the second day we explored Outdoor learning and the means to keep your students focused and attentive, planning content-based lessons and experience-based lessons.
The content-based examples covered Soverato’s history, some biology and sciences. The experiential based example regarded perception, ecology and pregiudism awareness by involving and reflecting on the five senses. In the afternoon, teachers were called upon reflecting over their best qualities and define some action to take in order to assure they would share such qualities with their community and pupils. Actions where written on the side of kites made for the occasion so to let them soar in the sky… Symbolically for the whole world to see!
On the third day, teachers grouped up in three teams and cooperated in the preparation of three outdoor NFE lessons. The results where beautiful and touching.
One lesson started by exploring the local beach and ended with the awareness about correct trash disposal and taking care of the environment.
The second one was about math and several locations and sites where used in order to evaluate shapes, calculate perimeters and areas finally understanding how math defines our world and we cant really do much without it! The last lesson was about interacting with locals, biodiversity and ecological awareness exploring our huma footprint on the environment and what we can do to be more conscientious in the way we model it.
In conclusion, NFE is a great way for teachers to take a piece of their heart and shape it in a beautiful lesson. To extract the marvelous elixir of passion and share it with pupils. Not only to pass test and guarantee good marks but also to become competent, creative and happy active citizens of tomorrow!
Author: Giuseppe Perrotti, JUMP Trainer