Education should be a global experience where the best of every model, system and culture is shared and built upon to maximise the opportunity, provision and possibility of every learner and educator. Tools such as sharing platforms, social media, online training and teachmeets have improved this possibility in recent years but rarely are there cross cultural and linguistic associations accessible to the “average teacher”. Some of us will have trained internationally but almost always from the experience of the English speaking international community or in are own mother tongue.

In this post I will be sharing my own experiences whilst, for the first time, attending and presenting at international Edcamps that are not housed in my own mother tongue or cultural norms. On 19th March 2017 I am attending EdCamp Sant Andreu just north of Barcelona in Catalonia, the semi-autonomous region of Spain. A free to attend and community-driven event, the EdCamp will be attended by over 200 local teachers and me. I will be the outlier, the black sheep and I hope to make an impact. During the Edcamp I will be speaking and, potentially, presenting in the Catalan language. It is a language I have been learning for some years. However, my usage has always been very informal and I have never conducted any professional experiences in Catalan. Therefore, the pressure is on and I hope not to humiliate myself nor slow down any procedures and processes during the event.

Beyond the challenge of the language are the cultural differences that I believe, but also assume, exist between the UK and Catalan educational systems and norms. During the limited number of times I have entered schools in Barcelona, I have always found a great difference to my experience in British institutions. Corridors and learning spaces look and feel different. Moreover, my educational discourse with Spanish and Catalan colleagues verges on zero and I anticipate that there will be significant gaps between my own experiences and the typical challenges and patterns experienced by my colleagues in Catalonia. I am asking myself questions about whether I will have anything to offer them and, likewise, what I can learn from my Catalan hosts.

My own specialisms reside in challenging dominant educational models and in ensuring that all students experience an individualised and self-paced learning journey. Where does this sit in the Catalan system and identity and how can I support them in understanding my deep-rooted educational ideology? What experiences and ideas will my hosts bring to the EdCamp that will be relevant to me and how can I apply them in the future?

Within this post I will be presenting a minimum of three video diaries of my experiences building up to, during and after the Edcamp Sant Andreu. I will be recording my own thoughts and feelings but also asking for my Catalan colleagues to appear on camera and to answer a few questions if they wish. I hope that through this pursuit a series of divergent and even disperate opportunities present themselves and that those experiences can be presented to you.

Please tune in to the videos and please post comments about your feelings and views on this experience. All interesting and engaging conversations will be published here. Contributors are welcome to write in the following languages:

Catalan

Spanish

French

German

Dutch

English.

If your language is not on this list I am afraid we will not be able to publish your comments as we do not have the facility within our business to moderate the comments at the appropriate level. Apologies.

Comment, question or suggestion

James Simms

Director of The EverLearner Ltd

Creator of mypeexam.org