Østerskov Efterskole: Learn by playing
By Nicolai Lisberg | Photos: Østerskov Efterskole
By creating an inclusive and imaginary atmosphere with a focus on role-play, Østerskov Efterskole is able to bring back the joy of learning to students who have lost interest.
It is said that the whole world is your playground, so why should a school be any different? That was the thinking behind Østerskov Efterskole, where the more traditional way of teaching has been dealt with in its own, unique way. “We are creating the world’s best education, where students don’t just sit and listen to a teacher, but actively take part in the teaching themselves. They interact as they dress up and do role-play in all our subjects, so instead of just absorbing knowledge with their brains, they learn with their entire bodies,” says Vibe Esdahl-Schou, vice principal at Østerskov Efterskole.
Every week, there is a new course, where all subjects become part of an overall story. One of these courses is called Peace in Our Time. The students are divided into nine different ‘nations’, all of them with a president, a minister for finance and a population. They then have to create a society and meet up with the other nations in the UN, where they have to deal with current affairs such as a migrant crisis or climate change.
“This is in many ways like the real world, where everything has a purpose. It’s learning by doing, while having fun, because everyone knows that motivation is important for young people to be able to learn,” says Esdahl-Schou.
A school for everyone
Østerskov Efterskole can house up to 90 students a year, and it prepares its students for the exact same exams that more traditional schools do, with the difference being that they make the way leading up to the exams more engaging. “A lot of our students had lost interest in the traditional school system. We aim to stimulate them by making them an active part of the lesson, and we see remarkable progress in their grades,” says Esdahl-Schou.
Other than that, the continuation school wishes to strengthen its students’ social skills and prepare them for the future job market, which is why teamwork is also an essential part of the classes, according to Esdahl-Schou. “In order to learn, you have to feel comfortable, so we try to make sure that everyone feels welcome and included. We like to believe that by doing it our way, we are creating the leaders of tomorrow.”
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