Marte Meo bloggen
When Learning Becomes Fun and on video
When Learning Becomes Fun was the title of a lecture Inger Hartelius and I held this spring 2016 in Göteborg about our pilot project at a Danish College.
The pilot project’s goal was to develop communication that is better at supporting students and teachers competences and mutual understanding in order to prevent absence and dropouts:
- How can we strengthen the desire to be together?
- How do we socialize with each other?
- How can we strengthen the desire to learn something?
Absence and dropouts are very common among young people at Danish educational institutions.
So how did we turn around a grim situation with absence and dropouts to at situation with motivation, learning and fun?
To be honest we didn’t. The teachers and the students did. We just did the nudging and the results are awesome.
When Learning Becomes Fun students don’t dropout
The main conclusion was that the Marte Meo method helps to keep students in school.
This is shown by the experiences of a group of students and teachers at the Roskilde Technical College, who participated in a pilot project supported by the Danish Ministry for Education.
For seven months, both teachers and students were filmed and taught communication and interaction based on the Marte Meo method.
- During these seven month teachers and students experienced When Learning Becomes Fun students don’t dropout.
Students said that Marte Meo has benefited them in ways that:
“far exceeded their expectations.”
They have received “tools” to work with themselves, their role and contribution to the learning situation.
For students, it has been essential for their benefit from the project that the focus in Marte Meo is on the positive – it has stimulated their motivation, self-confidence and belief in the possibility of improvement, and it has helped them to keep up their study at RTC.
The students say
”When I volunteered, it was mostly to get some time off from my classes, but I’m really pleased that I did it. I’ve gained some tools for myself. So it’s been really cool.”
”It has been a good experience. It has been well managed, and it has been a great opportunity for personal development. I have been very pleased with it. I’m no longer a bad excuse for the teachers – it’s not me who is sabotaging anything anymore.”
Eye contact increases motivation and learning
Common to the students is that they have become increasingly aware of what simple, but meaningful means can do to create good contact and interaction with teachers, and thus benefit more from the teaching.
”.. I have been better at saving this energy and going outside for a quick break. And then come back in and be calm and ready to work.”
”You see exactly how it works on the teacher. I still use it. I use everything I have learned, all the time.”
Marte Meo helped the students to improve and develop. When they improve and develop they want to improve and develop more. Now it’s fun.
- When Learning Becomes Fun, you enjoy yourself and you even enjoy the teachers. You are now in a positive circle.
Important and instructive to see themselves on video
Students repeatedly stress how important and instructive it has been for them to see themselves on video and especially to see the effect of their own contribution to the social and learning environment at the college.
That, in particular, has had a major impact on them.
The students say that participation in the project has given them increased confidence and courage with regard to their studying, and that the tools have helped them to ask for help constructively.
”Whereas before I used to just completely shut myself off, I am now better at saying – at acknowledge – that I really need help here, and then how to communicate that.
To say: ‘Sir, I really need help with this, would you please come and help me?’ So there is a difference in the way you ask. I’m getting better at it.”
When the students´ confidence and courage increase they become better students. Better students have more fun and achieve better results.
- When Learning Becomes Fun the living becomes more fun and more meaningful.
Dealing with concentration problems and ADHD
They can also use the new repertoire of tools that they have gained to deal with difficult relationships and frustrating situations and to handle things such as concentration problems and ADHD.
”Marte Meo has been a success in many ways. It has worked both on my ability to concentrate and the way I sort of ‘tackle’ the lectures and information from teachers, and I also think you can feel it a little on our teacher.”
When students get practical tool to cope with contact and relationship they get better self registration and behavior.
- Learning about relationships and how to make positive relationships make lives and learning easier and more fun.
- When Learning Becomes Fun it’s easier to make more positive relationships and deal with concentration problems and ADHD.
The students believe that the project has had a decisive influence on their studying, and they find that they can use the new skills in interaction and communication outside of their studies, both in their private life and, they imagine, in a future work life.
When Learning Becomes Fun you get benefits from it throughout your life.
What the teachers say
”Xx annoyed me very much, and also annoyed others, but I learned how to handle him just by naming him.”
The teacher says that Marte Meo has helped them both to break the negative pattern and engage in constructive interaction.
”I have a very good relationship with him now and he has helped 3-4 other students who were completely out of the class. They were very isolated and outside of social circles. Now they sit in a group of 6 people, where they help each other with all kinds of things.”
- When Learning Becomes Fun it helps to break negative patterns and commitment to positive relations is created.
Calmness and engagement in class
Just as students have become more aware of their own contribution to the class culture, teachers have also learned that they can contribute positively to the students’ engagement.
One teacher used Marte Meo to create calm and engagement in the classroom, among other things.
”I had a student who interrupted me all the time when I was teaching. And the suggestion was: “Well, you could try to acknowledge him a little, try to hear what he says; try to involve him, ask him: Do you have any good suggestions for this?” In the past I tended to involve him less the more he interrupted. But now that he feels heard, he has no need to be so noisy.”
- When Learning Becomes Fun it’s easier to create calmness and engagement in the classroom.
Putting tools into use
”I think that this idea of watching, waiting and following is quite important when you are standing at the blackboard – where naming students is particularly important when you are teaching and would like to have the student’s attention.”
”It is very clear that when naming them, you get the student to look up from the screen and look at you. It’s how you get eye contact.”
- When the teachers use the Marte Meo tools they can create calm and engagement in the classroom. When you know how to put the tools into use you become a master of leadership.
- When Learning Becomes Fun teachers as well as students become positive leaders.
Creating and strengthening bonds
”I use some of the tools that we have worked with: Name and watch, wait and follow – I use them. The relationship with the students becomes stronger, I think ”.
A teacher talks about their problem as an educator.
”What I think was my problem and still is my problem, it is that I think I have to say a lot. I rush ahead so that they don’t think it’s boring, and so they don’t doze off.”
Marte Meo tools helps the teachers to create and strengthening bonds and to be more aware in the present.
- To be more aware in the present help you to create bonds. When you know how to create positive bonds to other people new opportunities of learning and living arise.
- When creating relationships become fun learning becomes fun too.
Watch and wait
Marte Meo helped one teacher to see the utility in breaks: Rather than disengaging students, breaks help to maintain students’ concentration and engagement, because it gives them time to think and to get actively involved.
”Yes, I could see that some of those who did not participate a lot became active, and it was great. I have seen that I don’t always have to continually say something to keep them on track.”
Teaching becomes more interactive when teachers incorporate short watch and wait breaks in the classroom.
According to the students, the 40 minute long monologues make them switch off from the teaching, while video footage shows that when the teacher watches and waits, the students constructively contribute themselves.
Short watch and breaks are important because they help the students to take in the information. Short watch and breaks give the students’ time to reflection and to contribute to the learnings environment.
- Engagements makes learning more fun. Both teachers and students benefits When Learning Becomes Fun and interactive.
- When you begin to see the value of watching and wait learning becomes fun and powerful.
The video is absolutely fantastic
One teacher tells how Marte Meo opened his eyes to his own role as the person responsible for creating engagement.
”I really like it when students are engaged and actively participate in class. I think that the video tool has been absolutely amazing in that you see that the things you have had drilled into your head actually work, that students react to it.”
- When Learning Becomes Fun it is absolutely fantastic.
Regained his motivation
Marte Meo helped one teacher to watch students, which helped him to rediscover his joy for students and the teaching profession.
”I have been very pleased with the process – not that I have learnt anything new – what has helped me (..). I know that students were also able to see that something had changed about me. Some of them said: ”How funny it is to see that Xx has become more engaged.”
When you begin to watch the students and the colleagues’ initiatives learning become fun and efficient.
Better student-teacher relationship
Many of the teachers experienced that the student-teacher relationship had improved, while they are more divided on the benefits of the teachers’ meeting culture.
- Learning becomes fun when there is good contact and positive relationship.
Without contact there is no learning
The need for a better meeting culture
The teachers were initially and did not see the need for and the purpose of also focusing on their meeting culture.
However, even though the teachers were skeptical – they could see that the tools had an effect on the meeting culture.
”The video footage from our meetings shows that being acknowledged matters – so it’s not that it hasn’t made a difference at all.”
Seen from the outside
The teachers thought it would be relevant to also film the big team meetings, while they are divided on the need to film the smaller teacher meetings.
Seen from the outside, it is clear that there was a need for more meetings and a better meeting culture if some of the problems that students identify are to be resolved.
Despite the resistance, efforts to create learning and development of the teachers’ meeting culture was a success. Some of what the teachers have taken with them from the project is to have more structure to their meetings.
Transparent meeting culture
The teachers said that before Marte Meo, they would often leave after a meeting without being fully aware of what they had decided, and who was responsible for implementing decisions.
”One of the working points (problems, ed.) was: How can we get more out of our meetings? We have now achieved this through better structure and minutes.”
”I have become more aware of how important it is to have a good structure, minutes and good ending. It also makes me more motivated to go to the meeting and I don’t feel it’s a waste of time. I’ve attended many meetings in my life where I have felt it was a waste of time.”
- Marte Meo helps to teachers to see with new eyes and acknowledge the power of a good structure and minutes. A good structure and minutes make meetings more meaningful and save valuable time.
- Meeting and learning becomes fun and valuable, when you know how to create a constructive meeting culture.
In addition to introducing more structure to the meetings and making sure to hold them, teachers have also worked at being better at active listening:
” .. that about watching a video, it may not be enough just to sit and listen, but to nod and perhaps also say: “Well, it sounds like a great idea,” so the person feels encouraged and wants to elaborate.”
- Teachers listing to each other! Now meetings and learning become fun.
Anchored in practice
Both teachers and students emphasize that being filmed is crucial:
”To see what effect you have on others and the learning environment has been a crucial eye opener.”
For students it has, as mentioned, been crucial for their benefit from the project that the focus in Marte Meo is on the positive – it has helped them to keep up their study at RTC.
For teachers, watching their teaching, supervision and meeting culture on video has meant that the Marte Meo tools have been anchored in practice and coupled to the personal teaching style.
- A positive attitude and practical tools are crucial if you want to change negative patterns and implement new positive patterns.
- Learning becomes fun and meaningful when the patterns are positive.
Overall, the evaluation shows that the Marte Meo project has contributed to the positive development of teaching, teacher-student relationships and the teaching environment, and thus it is presumed to have counteracted dropout.
- The best effect is obtained when both students and teachers work on the student-teacher relationship and the teaching environment, both in terms of teaching and supervision.
Both teachers and students have requested the continuation of Marte Meo – especially in terms of the teacher-student relationship.
Students indicate that it is important to expand Marte Meo to cover many more people, preferably all students at RTC.
They argue that:
– Marte Meo provides tools for individual handling of contact and interaction situations, which can support the students in their studies at RTC, and in their private life and professional work life.
- Learning becomes fun and a life-changing with the right tools in hand.
Background, purpose and method
Absence and dropouts are very common at, among other educational institutions, the country’s technical colleges.
At the same time, the government has a target that 95% of young people should complete at least one youth education programme.
In recent years, RTC has launched many initiatives, such as measures to change patterns of absence, promote class solidarity and to improve tools for the overview of the education programme’s structure.
The initiatives have had a positive effect, although not to a satisfactory extent.
Therefore, it was decided to test new methods and learn from other industries that have worked with retention.
They chose, among others, the Marte Meo method that has shown good results in state schools, full-day schools and continuation schools, but has not previously been applied to the country’s technical colleges.
Teachers at WI identified communication between teachers, between teachers and students and between students as crucial for increasing the retention of students.
The project’s goal
The pilot project’s specific goal was therefore to develop communication that is better at supporting students’ and teachers’ competences and mutual understanding.
The following subsidiary goals were set:
- to support students in maintaining and increasing motivation to complete their education
- to support teachers’ use of their professional didactic, analytical and methodological skills
- to support teachers’ collaboration skills and the creation of a common understanding of the goals of the teaching and its relevance
- to support appreciatory classroom leadership in order to increase learning benefits
Participants and duration
11 teachers and 5 students on the Web Integrator programme (WI), Centre for Media and Communication, Roskilde Technical College (RTC), participated in the project that began on 1. September 2012 and ended 1. April 2013.
During this period, 5 students and 3 teachers each received 5 individual sessions of Marte Meo teaching. Additionally, two groups of teachers each received 5 sessions on how to hold meetings.
At the beginning of each case process, each participant or group formulated the problem they wanted help to solve.
During the process, participants worked with different working points (Marte Meo elements), which helped them in changing interaction and communication in order to solve the problem.
Behind the project
The project: ”Appreciatory learning environment – which prevents absence and dropout” is supported by the Danish Ministry for Education as part of the fight against increasing absence and dropout from the country’s youth education programme´s.
Head of Education Karen Nørgaard has been the project manager. Three external Marte Meo consultants and trainers have been assigned from Marte Meo Communication, Solrød Strand, MA. Steen-Lynge Pedersen (mobile: +45 20 71 97 17).
Hanne Warming, professor at Roskilde University, has evaluated the project through qualitative focus group interviews.
The interviews have been conducted with a view to a combined phenomenological hermeneutic and comparative narrative analysis strategy.
That is, an analytical approach which partly exposes the participants’ experiences and subjective assessments of their own benefits from participating in the project, as well as any critiques, and also allows for a more objective external perspective on the participants’ learning and development.
You really learn When Learning Becomes Fun
Since our Marte Meo project at RTS ended we have been invited to share our experience with professionals in Scandinavia.
Our message is that the Marte Meo method is an efficient program to help both teachers and students to create a positive learning environment that helps students finish their studies.
To put it simpler: When Learning Becomes Fun you really learn.
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