Learning with Lithuanians
Byåsen secondary school in Norway posted a profile on the Nordplus Frameworks database. It was hoping to pair up with another school on the topic learning-related cooperation. The school, in Trondheim, did not have to wait long.
“The Lithuanians found our profile on the Nordplus website,” says Byåsen school project leader Espen Viken.
Lithuanian teachers Rita Bagdanaite and school psychologist Gitana Kaupiene thought the project, looking at differences in education between countries, would be interesting to their students.
Art of Learning
The project was named Art of Learning. Its goal was to learn about the differences between the school systems and methods of education in the two countries. It also set out to discover which methods are best in certain educational settings. In Norway, for instance, there is great use of ICT and both teachers and students use PowerPoint frequently. In Lithuania, meanwhile, there is more use of the blackboard and traditional ways of teaching and learning.
“The students are pretty much the same in both countries but there is a huge difference between student cultures,” Viken says. “In Lithuania the students are more disciplined and they put more effort to their work,” he continues.
On the other hand, Norwegian students are more independent and willing to find their own solutions. In the beginning the Lithuanians got the impression that Norwegian students do not make an effort but they changed their opinion when they got to know Norwegian methods of studying.
Building Lasting Relations
The single most positive thing about the project was the experience of contact between people. Relations were built between the students, teachers and host families.
“Our students have learned a lot about being hosts and I have noticed they have changed their way of thinking in some important matters,” Viken concludes. He says there are students still keeping in touch with their new friends and that some of them are planning to visit Kedainiai, Lithuania, in the summer holidays.
Would like to do it again
In addition to helping personal development, the Nordplus project has allowed students to find out what kind of learning methods are most efficient, and in which settings. As a school Byåsen is very interested in doing similar projects in the future.
“The project has been successful and, right now, we are waiting for the result of our application and we would like our Lithuanian friends to come to Trondheim again,” Viken says.
Text: Gunnstein Husa/ SIU
Photo: Zilvinas Mencikovas