Portugal Trip - post 2

More from my trip to Portugal...
This is funded by ERASMUS, which I blogged about a few days ago as potentially being threatened by Brexit...

Day 2

Temperature was forecast to be over 40 degrees, and we met the group at the school. The plan was to introduce ideas of learning, and theories relating to pedagogy.

Session 1 was a chance to introduce myself and my own thinking about the purpose of education, and the experiences, which had shaped my teaching and writing over the last 30 years. After around 350 CPD sessions around the world over the last eight years, this was one of only a few where I was speaking to educators who were not geographers, so my discussions had to be more ‘generic’ in the sense that I couldn’t assume that the activities I used were applicable to a teacher of philosophy. There were also four or five of the group who had limited English, so my comments were translated a few slides at a time into Turkish, which meant pausing, and waiting to see that no further clarification was needed. My thanks to Nihal and Yusuf who did the translating.

After the first hour, we broke for the first of many glasses of hot black tea and biscuits and fruit. The outside temperature was soaring.

Session 2 started to develop the idea of connectedness, and the importance of this in developing teacher pedagogy. It was one of several words beginning with ‘C’ which influence our practice (although not all of them started with a ‘C’ when they were translated into Turkish). I shared the idea of geographical enquiry and we talked through Alex Couros’ model of the connected teacher. I learned about some of the connections they used, including some of the national VLE and network tools that are used in Turkey.

Having developed our connections we broke for lunch.

This was at O Raposo, and we had the first of quite a few grilled sea bream which were cooked perfectly. Lunch was an unhurried affair again, as was the walk to and from the restaurant, in baking heat.

Session 3 covered all afternoon, with a break for black tea, was in an ICT classroom in another part of the school building, with a view overlooking the municipal swimming pool, which was popular given the temperatures, and the fact that the school holidays were well underway in Portugal. I moved from the personal to the theoretical, and outlined some of the main theories of learning and pedagogy, drawing on ideas from Piaget to Vygotsky. We discussed how applicable these might be, and also discussed the greater focus on the assessment in Turkish schools, and why it was important that teachers thought about the methods they used, as young learners are exposed to different tools and experiences. We also reminded ourselves of Dewey’s comments that education was not just about preparing for future lives, it was a major part of young people’s lives for many reasons. I heard some really positive stories from the colleagues of their careers in Turkish schools. One of the ideas was about the context of learning and how it might influence pedagogy, and this came against the backdrop of the attempted coup in Turkey, which took place after the group had left the country, and which attracted great interest whenever a news story came on the TV in the restaurants where we found ourselves each day.

The first day ended with a summary of the main ideas that had been covered, at around 5pm, just after the peak of the heat, so it was back to Cuba to cool down in a pool with a cold Sagres and some local rose wine.

In the evening we went back to O Raposo for a meal, before I was challenged to a pool competition, which I won of course.


Me with some Zappa
Vidigeuira in the heat
Some connections
Me and Jaime with Mission:Explore slide