October 04, 2018
By: Christian A. Wandeler, Ph.D
This the story of a day of deep immersion in eduScrum. I flew 2000 km and drove 277 km to visit three schools in the Netherlands. My student Eric Herzog, a High School chemistry teacher, had conducted an experiment using eduScrum and we already had travelled from California to Geneva to present our experiment using eduScrum at the EARLI special interest group of INTERACTION, LEARNING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
Willy Wijnands was our co-presenters and when he invited me to visit the Netherlands to experience eduScrum in Dutch schools, it was an opportunity that is hard to pass up. I was able to free up a day to not only talk and listen about educational research, but go and see some of the most innovative schools in Holland. My goal was twofold: First, to be able to really go deep with Willy and understand the philosophy and mindset behind eduScrum. Secondly, to see the pedagogy being applied in schools and understand better how to teach this mindset to educators. Willy organized to visit three schools. We started with the VOX school. Anneke Volp and her team welcomed us and let us observe the classrooms, if one can even call it that. You have to imagine a giant maker space, however without fancy resources, but even more spirit. Three years ago the school started with an empty hall. Now it is bustling with students working on their projects and using eduScrum to collaborate and develop their teamworking and leadership skills. Second stop was the ASHRAM COLLEGE, Willy’s school. I got to interview the students and Willy showed me his classroom. I also got to sit in on a teacher meeting, who were discussing an upcoming visit from a school inspector. Then we went on to an innovative school in Amersfoort, who serves a broad spectrum of students and integrates vocational skills training and college preparation training. They wanted to discuss how they might use eduScrum in their innovative model. We drove 277 km and well guess what happens when you are in a car with a passionate educator for 8 hours? You listen. Willy has a wealth of stories and it was nice to have an extensive conversation with him, because true to his teaching philosophy he often says “I don’t have answers. I have questions.” He does guide students to finally say: “Who did it? I did it.” In the evening Willy immersed me in his workshop for teachers. A true example of what it means to do what you preach. As he is talking he is drawing, literally every picture more than a thousand words. And between the occasional Aikido move, and another espresso, we were going deeper and deeper. Willy is like a zen master. Except, fortunately he teachs without using koans. His explanations are crystal clear and simple, yet profound. The simplicity of excellence. What I have received is a gift that I hope every educator can receive and give. Someone generously sharing their experience, their wisdom, some failures, and of course all spiced up with wonderful stories. Thank you, Willy!
Christian A. Wandeler, Ph.D. Associate Professor in Research Methods and Statistics California State University, Fresno Kremen School of Education & Human Development