DUBAI – Global Education & Skill Forum 1

It has been some weeks now that I have had the honour to participate in the Global Education & Skills Forum: I am one of the VTA’s now, Varkey Teacher Ambassador, being part of a group of 250 people that have made it under the last 50 teachers in the Global Teacher Prize during the last 5 years. The experience was a fantastic one. I have met many different people from all over the world. Teachers who want to do the right thing, just like I want to do it too. 

The first two days, we had our VTA summit. We got to know each other and spent some time to find out about each other’s projects and achievements. Very nice and inspiring. The second half was the Global education & Skill Forum summit. There too, many more people from all over the world, fantastic location and just the right weather. 

The sessions were very interesting, half on EdTech and the other half on general education. Interesting. Indeed, great ideas, yet sometimes a bit of beating around the bush. Sometimes, I don’t want to be arrogant, I have the impression that the essence of education gets overrun by the way of how to grade, uniform and meet the standards way of educating, well, teaching. Nobody spoke in-depth about the importance of child development, about the child in the moment of growth and discovery. I thought that that was rather sad. Problems are easy to put on the table, yet the prevention of these, by the sheer understanding of the child, was not put to the forefront.

But anyway, very interesting people, people with influence, leaders and decision makers. All present.

I am very happy that I had the chance to go and I hope I will be able to go again, we’ll see. :


If we call our adult mentality conscious, then we must call the child’s unconscious, but the unconscious kind is not necessarily inferior. An unconscious mind can be most intelligent. We find it at work in every species, even among the insects. They have an intelligence which is not conscious though it often seems to be endowed with reason. The child has an intelligence of this unconscious type, and that is what brings about his/her marvellous progress.

The Absorbent Mind

Maria Montessori


Inside or outside the box

The majority of people would always like to think outside the box. In some way that is their way to be innovative or progressive. Generally, there is nothing against this way of thinking, yet often it is ending nowhere hence to the incapability of thinking inside the box. This might sound a little arrogant but that is not the intention. I just want to pin out the fact, that it is time to start thinking inside-the-box, to set the base to do the outside-the-box thinking. Why are all the solutions always to be found outside the box? Have we actually covered the ground inside it? People hat want to think outside the box obviously have covered all their options inside the box and are convinced that hey will find, whatever they are looking for outside of it. Or is this just a way to gain more time to look for something that is not yet in their vicinity? Why is no one saying that she/he is thinking next to the box. Maybe because that is to close to the inside and hence, not enough time available to do the proper thinking, that is needed to find the solution necessary. Maybe it is another way to say that one takes a step back, or actually outside of a ongoing thought process, to come back again after and having refreshed their thoughts…

Maybe that’s it…

Thoughts continued …

In a world of a technological way of living, where Internet shopping is the most convenient in our fast living world, I see it as our responsibility, the responsibility of the adults/teachers that we protect and preserve the true essence of education,… reading and learning through experiences and the exchange of thoughts and ideas.

One needs to be careful to forelive this attitude to the children that will be our future leaders.

How can we accept, that knowledge starts to sit exclusively within machines that show us the way, in physical direction or mental self-understanding?

How can we accept that children are classified according to the ability of learning?

We need to stop, to let other people tell us what a child needs, when often the one element that is needed is ‘giving the time’ and that is neglected and seen as non-existing?

How can that be?

I think and believe that all children have the same ability to learn. Everyone is different and according to that, time, environment and approach needs to be adapted, prepared and respected. If we allow ourselves to respect and cherish these three factors, that are omni-present, globally existing for everyone, and most of all for free, would change a fair amount of fore-said, decision-made, prejudices and pre-conceived ideas.

Places like little book shops, offering additional writing and reading sessions are getting lost hence to big corporate companies, that give you all the happiness you need for the price of stripping your personality with or better for them.

My book shop goes against this way of living. My team and I know the people, we share a moment together through the process of making the decision, choosing the book that one wants. It is important to have the personal contact. That needs to be and is forelived in this environment. Children see and hear these conversations, wonder and ask questions.

Once again it is the environment that sets the mood and openness of oneself. It is the prepared environment that gives a sense of security and compactness.

Dr. Montessori said: Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment. The teacher’s first duty is to watch over the environment, and this takes precedence over all the rest.


I am one of them: Thoughts …

So why did I apply for the Global Teacher Price?
Reading about the outstanding projects of the other candidates, I need to admit, that I do not have such a big project – yet (except my little bookshop). I am “JUST” a teacher. Sitting in a wheelchair and still being a happy and positive person has an immense impact on students without even needing to talk about it. I represent a cause – just  being me.
Teachers don’t have to ‘be perfect’ and do big projects in order to be an important and positive role model to their students. But it is the way they show their students how to handle difficulties, destiny and fate, which is why role models similar to me, have a positive and horizon widening impact within the microcosm of a school.
In a world where perfectionism seems the major key to success, with countless ‘Instagram’ and ‘Social Media’ stars, imperfection seems redundant, but this does not reflect the majority in our society.


Geometry as a springboard to math

When there is a first combination … you will find a second combination.

I been thinking that these combinations are ideal ways to introduce a child in primary to various terminologies, words, language. One can apply terminologies found in algebra, explain the concept of variables with the pictures you see on the board. In that case the word sum could be brought to the child’s attention, that this word is linked to an addition, introducing the word quotient and product. For visual children this can be a good tool to give them these words. By experience a 10,  11 and 12 year old can by times struggle with word problems hence to a non-understanding of the terminologies they have in front of them.

These important words are often neglected because of the drive of having the right result or answer.

Of course there are millions of ways to give ‘the words’ to a student, yet within the Montessori material is so much that can be used for things, topics, facts and ideas but one doesn’t dare to do.

Another example…

I can explain (within the chapter of equations) what it means to maintain balance. It is visual, clear and attractive. ‘whatever is done on one side of the equal sign must also be done on the other side’;This board could be my introduction. Later one also can use a scale to let the children explore.

I will continue my investigation of the vabulous variety within the Montessori material, wher and how to apply the given in different topics of mathematics.


…. Identity

The question that I have had during the last weeks was how to actually define and explain identity? We all agree, that from a biological point of view, it’ s easy to define, explain or distinguish identity, your identity and the identity of another.

Yet, what intrigued me was to find a way to go further in finding the essence of identity.

First of all, I started to look for a simple way to express “identity” and ended up with the simplest way of communication… pictograms.

Would one be able to express oneself’ identity with the help of pictograms?


So first I need to find a way to understand, decide, decide, agree … where identity comes from and how it comes about.

I had the following thought…

Identity is linked to three basic and three additional factors.


Which create



I created n image to make it clear.



Based upon this guideline one can understand and classify ones own identity

Now coming back to my idea of pictograms.

If I follow these guidelines, I can in the simplest way show my identity.

On a historical note, Pictograms are the first way of communication in a “written” form to one and another.

To create an image with these guides, you eventually need to invent pictograms yourself, pictograms that meet or express your need. The list of the existing ones is long; there are many that could be used.

What I liked about this topic is that you have the opportunity to go back in time. To see where written communication had it’s beginning.

You probably think, where that has something to do with identity… Well, let’s say, it underlined and helped to be able to share, tell, explain and pass on ones own experiences that are linked to one’s own identity.

All in all, the topic identity linked with the story of writing is a unique opportunity to go back in time and investigate the creation of communication, writing and how it all came to be.

The story of the coming of life, the story of the hand, the story of numbers and writing are ideal stories to re-look upon again with children to lay a foundation to tackle the concept of identity. Additional you can talk about the fundamental needs of humans which will also open different paths towards a wider understanding of human evolution and development; reasons why and decisions that one has made, is doing or will do.

This is ideal for 6th grade elementary children, 1st and 2nd grade secondary.

Understanding and placing oneself in the global picture, is key and a nice eye-opener, helping children to ask the right questions about life, from the past to the present.