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Presentation and visualisation techniques were used in this part of the seminar to inform the other groups about the projects, but also to help put the projects into practice. Initially, the project results were presented for discussion in the language groups. One project from each language group was then selected to be presented in the plenary, and finally all the projects were placed in a forum, allowing them to be assessed by all the participants.
- 62 Check-list for a personal Action Plan:
The action plan must be specific, realistic and attractive!
It must be able to be integrated into your own work!
What would you like to do? What would you like to change, improve... ? What is your goal?
Why would you like to do this? What are the advantages? What is the benefit?
How will you do it? What specific steps are you going to take?
When will you begin? Which step will you do when and when will the planned action be completed?
Where is your project to be implemented? What is the envisaged location? What institution is to be incorporated into the implementation of the project?
What group is to be used to implement the project?
Who is affected by it? What are the names of the people who are involved?
What support / what assistance?
What support do you need from who, when, where and why?
The learning environment at the Herrsching workshop During the workshop, we worked on learning-related methods and material for more than two weeks. I would therefore like to present some thoughts on learning. As I am a university lecturer in Nuremberg, I shall begin with the story of the Nuremberg tunnel. It paints a very onesided picture of learning. One person knows very little, another knows a lot. The first person's head is opened up and the knowledge is poured into it via the funnel. If it were only that easy!
This method of learning is not appropriate for our workshop, because at the end we discover that we have all learned from one another. And this insight applies to the lecturers as weil as to the workshop participants.
Erich Kästner, a German author, coined the phrase of schools being the on the doorstep of Hell in the world of learning. Learning in schools and universities is mostly done in a sitting position. Learning is associated with sitting, with head-on teaching i.e. with a confrontational situation. And anyone who does not learn enough does not progress beyond this sitting environment. This learning while sitting is limited in its suitability for intercultural groups. Our learning therefore involves a lot of movement, including active exercises and events which become experiences and insights.
There are a lot of dead-ends in learning. At the Herrsching workshop we attempt to avoid all these dead-ends.
1. At schools and universities so much is explained that they can easily become onesided explanation machines and obstacles to actual learning. Monologues spread monotony.
2. On the other hand: It is a somewhat romantic view of learning to think that everything happens by itself, such as with superlearning and speed-reading. The crisis, the challenge and the resistance are all part of it! Our participants will confirm this.
3. Learning should be fun. But fun all the time? No, definitely not! We have dug deep into our reserves over the last few weeks in Herrsching!
4. Many teachers, instructors in adult education, and professors rely completely on new media - and are then scared that they will be replaced by them. There is only one answer to this: Anyone replaced by new media deserves their fate.
5. After all I know super teachers who have planned every minute of the teaching and learning. Unscheduled questions and discussions only disturb the lesson, the teaching material is more important than the pupil. In Herrsching we were particularly interested in promoting baffling questions, committed discussions and exchange of the many and diverse experiences which our participants from all over the world had to offer.
"The School of Athens" by Raphael is one of my favourite pictures with regard to learning.
That is supposed to be a school? Everyone is coming and going as they want. Some are copying things down, others are engaged in animated discussions. Plato and Aristotle, the two greatest philosophers of Antiquity, are walking through the middle. I would like to concentrate on one of the many messages portrayed by this picture. Philosophy has its origins in walking and talking to one another, as does teaching. "Pais", the boy, the child, and "Agogos" the escort. These are the two words from which the term "paedagogy" is derived. Being on a journey together, accompanying someone, looking after them and protecting them was more important to the ancient Greeks than sitting at school. The motto of the two weeks in Herrsching is therefore learning with movement.
- 64 And now to some of the main paths of learning as guiding principles for our workshop:
1. We have known for 350 years that it makes sense to learn with all the senses. In 1654, the great teacher Comenius wrote in his "didacta magna" that Everything should, wherever possible, be presented to the senses: that wh ich is visible to the sense of sight, that which is audible to the sense of hearing, that which can be smelt to the sense of smell, that which can be tasted to the sense of taste, and that which is tangible to the sense of touch. And if something can be absorbed by more than one sense, it should be presented to the differrent senses at the same time." Learning psychologists supposedly discovered this recently.
2. "All of life is problem-solving" said the philosopher Karl Popper. I think "life" can be replaced with "Iearning " in this saying. Solving problems, overcoming challenges, that is our daily bread during our Herrsching workshop. The aim is to overcome challenges rather than just be inundated with information.
3. Our participants therefore have a large influence on the way in which the learning is achieved. They must be active and direct their learning processes themselves. Many finish their presentations at 6 p.m., others work until 11 p.m. or later.
4. The learning environment. I know many educational establishments in Germany and often ask myself: Who can compete with this place? With the general conditions and environment, the excellent service, the media, the atmosphere in the seminar rooms and also with the surroundings, Lake Ammersee, the woods nearby. We know from the psychology of learning how important the setting is for learning. The setting is also a sign of esteem, an indicator of how important learning is to the Bavarian Farmers' Association and to the Herrsching training centre. The training centre can be congratulated for the setting it provides; it is the prerequ isite for successfullearning.
5. People learn better in good teams. I think that all participants of this workshop will be able to confirm this statement. But beware! I also know that bad teams can make team members worse.
6. "The soul's experiences become tracks in the brain." Manfred Spitzer, the brain specialist, wrote this in his book on learning. Naturally, we ho pe that we have left lots of tracks in our participants' brains.
Two weeks' learning in Herrsching: Getting to know one another and then information, intuition and inspiration. I hope that the participants in the Herrsching workshop return horne with new verve and with a bagful of ideas, skills, knowledge and energy.
Prof. Dr. Werner Michl, Lecturer
It is a great pleasure and honour for Bavarian and German farmers to be able to welcome as guests leadership personnel in rural youth work fram all over the world.
And the fact that Federal Minister Seehofer is visiting the 2007 seminar, that he holds it in esteem, and that he will be here to officially elose the event, is a particular honour. I would like to thank the Federal Minister and his ministry for holding the International Workshop in Herrsching once again.
Exchanging ideas and meeting people from beyond national borders is a matter very elose to my own heart. There is no greater challenge for us than to solve international problems or at least to look for solutions to them.
International problems often result fram crises and conflicts in rural areas and in the agricultural sector. What is at stake is often ensuring people have enough food, ensuring that their basic needs are met, and conserving the natural basis of life. The development of rural areas therefore remains one of the greatest challenges for the future.
And it is the young generation which really matters in rural areas and in the agricultural sector. Without young people we have no future. We must therefore motivate young people to take their future in their own hands and to shape it. The International Workshop in Herrsching ofters unique opportunities for meeting people and working towards this aim.
We need the leadership personnel's comm itm ent, skills and ability to awaken enthusiasm in order to improve youth work in rural areas.
Gerd Sonnleitner, President of the German Farmers' Union
During the entire workshop, the language-group lecturers and seminar coordinators in the plenary encouraged talks with the participants on questions relating to the content of the workshop and its organisation. Wherever possible, proposals, requests and suggestions were immediately picked up on.
The aim in conducting the seminar appraisal was to carry out an interim assessment after every section, both in the respective language groups and in the plenary. Different evaluation methods and techniques were explained and applied for this purpose.
At the end of the seminar, an oral appraisal was conducted in the language groups to summarise the points, and an open written appraisal was conducted in the plenary.
The participants were very positive in their comments during a general appraisal and were extremely satisfied with the way the workshop went and with the results achieved.
The teaching of methods to train leadership personnel and to improve social skills in the language groups was assessed as being particularly excellent. Only a few participants made critical comments on individual sections of the workshop. The excursions were feit to have provided important breaks and to have been an interesting complement to the work in the conference centre. The day-Iong visit to farming families and the concluding excursion to a mountain farm in the Alps were particularly popular.
What did the participants think about the atmosphere in the course? At the beginning people's expectations were high, but they were also sceptical and insecure. Who is taking part? How can I contribute? How will I be able to benefit?
At the end almost all participants were very satisfied. They assessed the workshop as having been of great to very great benefit for their work at home.
The lecturers also assessed the 2007 workshop as having been exceptionally successful.
They believed that the involvement shown by the participants had been very good. The participants were well-trained, and well-prepared for coming to Herrsching. All participants believed they had profited greatly from taking part in the workshop and were able to take an entire "case"-ful of new knowledge and experience home with them.
The public-relations work leading up to, during and after the seminar meant that there were several media reports about the workshop. This positive echo was reinforced worldwide via the participants' press reports in their homelands.
The overall conclusion of the lecturers, organisers and seminar coordinators :
the 23 rd International Workshop 2007 was very successful.
Dr. Wulf Treiber, Seminar coordinator