EDITORIAL

Let stories speak

Four countries, Denmark, Finland, the UK and Portugal, produced together a series of eight short documentaries. The stories are testimonies of the power of learning - and of the power of international cooperation in the field of adult education.

Lee grew up in a Northern English community, in a family of miners, hard hit by the recession of the 80s. With precious little opportunity to fuel any ambition beyond mining or construction, Lee drifted, and got into drugs. Lee’s manager at his call centre job recognised his potential and suggested getting back to learning. This was a decisive moment in his life.

Hailing from a family of teachers, Sigrid vowed never to become one herself. Which of course she did. She educates youngsters at Krogerup Folk High School, a typical Danish residential institution of non-formal learning. Her subject: how to change the world! Sigrid teaches active citizenship through a variety of methods including trade simulations and actual campaigning.

Enough of reading about Lee and Sigrid. Go watch their stories!

This issue of Elm is built around eight short documentaries from Denmark, Finland, the UK and Portugal. Among them you will find Lee and Sigrid. You could also watch how Veli-Antti, a Finnish music educator builds a learning team out of him amateur symphony orchestra. Or how Portuguese Idalina fulfilled her ambition to become a solicitor after 30 years of working in a textile factory.

Each country features two videos, one of a learner, one of an educator. This reflects the two main target groups for the videos: The learner stories are intended to be testimonies of the power of learning, aimed at the general public. The educator stories are more geared towards sharing good practices among European adult educators. In this issue each educator video is complemented by an article elaborating on the practices and methods seen on the screen.

The videos were produced within an Erasmus + project, coordinated by Elm’s publisher the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation. They are a free resource for anyone to use and spread, also available on our Vimeo channel.

A most heartfelt thanks to all the learners and educators who shared their stories with our production team – a true privilege, and a learning experience for all touched by these stories.