Saturday, February 24, 2007

LEISURE ACTIVITIES, EDUCATION & THE PUPILS IN FOCUS

Today I made a 2 hour ride on the back of KENTEC’s skidoo outside the city. My objective was to hear and learn about places where young people spent their time riding their machines. I was also interested how they navigate and therefore invited one of the young men associated at KENTEC- snow life Sisimiut.

During one of our stops I asked both men how come that there is not much focus on the skills acquired from e.g. riding a skidoo or a dog sledge in the school (or is it so?). From what I observe, the people who frequent the country are very good in knowing where they are and what they do. E.g. a skidoo going up a steep hill represents ultimate coherence of the human body and the machine. There is a lot of concentration involved.

I asked also, when the young men did start riding a skidoo. He said probably around 10. Getting an old wreck and getting it work was the first step. Then getting experience from every ride. Having some accidents, repairing the machine, practice, fun, practice, fun.

“Is there any way to use skills acquired from skidoo riding in school work? I see a lot of commitment, concentration.” The answer (as I remember it/it wasn’t recorded); “Look, you can’t translate this energy to text if it is what you mean.” ME: “These trips, like today, they are just leisure activities?” THEM: “Yes, you go out there, sometimes when the whole world hurts, this is better than a bottle of whiskey. You know places like ours can be isolated and therefore you sometimes kick the machine and go out in the country and clean your head. You don’t want anyone to take pictures of you. Just go and get it out of the system. On the long trips, 2 or 3 or more days, there’s a lot you can learn. Discipline from getting the machine out of snow everyday, getting your tent up, cooking your own food and so…”

The reason why I’m writing about this subject is because I’m doing research in areas of leisure activities and their “compatibility” with the agendas of the newest school statutory Atuarfitsialak – at least some of the main agendas – the focus on the WHOLE individual.

From what I understood by talking to teachers, the pupil is in focus in the educational system now. OK, does it mean that the educational system is more focused, or does it mean that the pupil, his environment, family etc is in focus?

My argument in relation to this theme is following. In a 10th grade class, there are let’s say 20 pupils. Most of them are for sure involved in leisure activities. Some have skidoos, dogs and sledges, play music etc. At least ½ of them have frequent contact with the environment outside the city. Some of the pupils spent most of their time in the city, maybe or go out on the country when they’re forced to do so. Would it be wrong to think that those different groups of pupils, who each acquire different skills in their everyday life, could share their experiences, visions and knowledge? Isn’t it what the primary school is trying to focus on, to bring the everyday life, cultural background into the class room and use it as a knowledge bank? I don’t know. I’m keen to learn more about all of this. In the upcoming days I shall talk to the local teachers who have their pupils from 1st grade under the new statutory. I will ask them the above posted questions.

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