Our world is built on collaboration
People interact with each other to create the world we see around us. Everyone knows that collaborating can be difficult.
People speak different languages; have different cultures and goals and the list goes on.
But to make collaboration work people have to get to know themselves, accept differences and mistakes, and learn from others’ successes.
The Freinet school “De Klaproos (The Poppy)” planned a cultural visit to Brussels on the 16th of February for their 8-9 year-old students. They needed extra helping hands, so John and Sam joined their adventure. We went to Studio Globo where the children were submerged in a world of ethnical diversity. The kids were divided into small groups and each group was assigned a small house where they had to fulfil a certain task. The tasks ranged from: making a music performance to making a meal. The instructions they received were in other languages or brought in a way they were not acquainted with. They had to collaborate with their groups to figure out what the instructions meant. It was wonderful to see how these kids took on different roles within their group.
After a while some groups were asked to merge with other groups to collaborate amongst groups. This changed the whole setting and group dynamic. The children had to adapt, but took on the new challenge with vigour. Some children felt more at ease in a larger group while others were moving more to the background.
Afterwards the children were openly asked to tell what they had felt during the exercises. They openly discussed personal issues, seven though it often resulted in friction. The staff of Studio Globo framed the critiques so that the children focussed on constructive behaviour instead of destructive critique.
In the afternoon we visited Kuregem (the neighbourhood in Brussels where Studio Globo is located). It’s a neighbourhood known for its ethnical diversity. The walk led us passed Jewish schools; African export companies, Mosques and neighbourhood senior care centra. Although the children are not use to experiencing this vast richness of ethnical diversity, but they reacted like usual. Playful and interested in everything that's new.
Bottom line of this adventure: we got to learn more than they did. Going playful and full of energy through the world makes the weight of it all lighter.