Adults learn from studentsRed Wing resident Carol Duff is attending the international peace conference "Build Bridges, Not Walls," taking place in Drammen, Norway this week. Ten students from Red Wing High School are also attending.
By: Carol Duff, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
DRAMMEN, Norway — Our Red Wing students have been divided into five groups in this Build Bridges, Not Walls conference. Four are assigned to visual arts, two film, two photography and two to global understanding.. Each of the groups has students from Northfield, Norway and Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as the Red Wing students.
Adults, who are here, are assigned to other tasks. Thus students learn to work together with other cultures using various forms of media.
Today, we adults have visited a primary school. There were 396 students in this school including 24 multicultural students who do not have Norwegian as their first language. In addition to all the other subjects, religion is taught beginning in the first grade. Religion includes not only Christianity but also the other four major religions of the world.
Lunch is sent to school by the parents, with fruit and milk provided by the schools. Students eat lunch in their classroom.
All students have the right to equal education. The educational goal is to have a school where childre fulfill their highest potential and becomes a secure and independent individuals.
Because as much emphasis is placed on social skills as on academic skills. Finland ranks higher than Norway academically. Norway ranks average with Europe. However, Norwegian students feel better about their school experience.
Danvik School calls itself a democracy as do the other schools in Drammen. There is a student government. Indeed, student leaders had the task of explaining their school, its rules and standards, to us. Students and teachers vote together on plans for the school. Teachers often follow students for up to three years of their student life.
No grades are given in elementary school but parents and students are given feedback on learning and parents must sign a review each week. Teaching is done as a team with all classrooms being open doors for observation, encouragement and suggestions from the teaching team.
Beyond the student government team, there are also student leaders in “well-being.” These leaders are chosen by the students. They lead the way in inviting participation by all students, listening to instructions, following rules, showing like of others, greeting others in the morning, respecting their environment and caring about others. There are photo examples to show how to do this.
This is an election for six months with rewards, for this service, by the community of a gold card giving them discounts at things like the cinema. Teachers are to try to catch positive behavior and show attention to it. Thus school becomes a real team among teachers, students and parents.
Red Wing students arrive in Norway
A group of 10 Red Wing students are attending an international peace conference called Build Bridges, Not Walls in Drammen, Norway, this week. The students left Saturday and arrived in Norway Sunday afternoon.
Students Connor Bergin, Franz Harris, Michael Diercks, Emily Dech and Gunner Tubbs wrote about their first impressions:
“It has finally set in, we're in Norway! Arriving at 4 p.m. on Sunday with a total of 10 hours of flight, the jet lag was horrible. The excitement kept us awake.
“Right from our arrival from Oslo, we've been packed with activities. Our first dinner was delicious.
“The next day we started our activities: the activities vary from filming to discussing human rights and even to discovering our families’ history. We were put into these groups according to our interests, along with people from all over the world.
“Even though it's only Monday night, we've met life-long friends, shared our stories and laughed over the same jokes despite the cultural and language barriers. Judging by our first day’s stay, this trip should and will be a life-changing experience.”