UNITED co-hosts “The Power of experiential learning & non-formal Education”


On 9 October 2021, UNITED was part of a panel on “The Power of experiential learning & non-formal Education” which was co-organised by the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance and the Virtual Education Academy amongst others.

The first speaker on the panel was Balint Josa, director of UNITED for Intercultural action. He started by giving a brief overview on the differences between formal, non-formal and informal education. Non-formal education plays a big role during our childhood, but as our intellectual capacity grows, a need for a more formal education starts to develop. Nevertheless he stressed the importance of personalization of education to keep up the students’ motivation. Many different types of non-formal education were introduced by him, amongst them using sports as a tool to teach history, values or human rights for example.

Further on Richard Francis Apeh, Co-Founder of Ed4Future and Consultant for Humanity Consulting, presented the six key elements of transformative pedagogy. He picked up on an idea that has already been a popular saying in his home country Nigeria for a long time: “Experience is the best teacher”. The teacher must therefore not be seen as the one who holds all the knowledge in a classroom nor are students simple recipients of this knowledge that he hands to them. According to Apeh, a shift in perspective is needed: Students are a part of the solutions for issues that their societies face. Their own experiences and realities are forming the knowledge they are receiving.

Dr. Farooq Sulehria had a rather philosophical approach on education and criticality. The assistant professor of the National University in Lahore, Pakistan, argues that students can no longer be seen as objects but rather as subjects. The most important aspect when it comes to criticality is a matter of what can be achieved with it. As reported by Dr. Sulehria, it is the fact that criticality helps learners achieve certain kinds of competences, like social and emotional competence. Another point raised by Dr. Sulehria was that education is an important tool for transformation in third world countries.

“You do not have to be rich to be critical, you have to be creative.” – Dr. Farooq Sulehria

The last speaker of this panel Indrė Maršantaitė, head of Inconvenient Films Class and human rights educator, introduced some interesting tools for formal as well as non-formal events, them being the Living Library, Theatre of the oppressed and documentary films on different kinds of topics (emotional literacy, human rights, conflict management, group building etc.).

After the very informative and thought-provoking first half of the session, that over 2000 Indonesian and other educators from around the world had joined, the co-host Neringa Tuménaitè started off the live Q&A.

“How do you challenge yourself to become a better educator?”

“How do I, as a teacher, build critical thinking when some students are too shy to even ask a question in class?”

“How do you best combine the teaching methods in non-formal education?”

Those were just some of the questions of the Q&A. To hear the interesting and professional answers of the speakers, make sure to watch the entire event on Youtube under this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05ApKdyndqI (If you prefer to only watch the Q&A, it starts at 41:30min).

by Emma Seemann