Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Experience Oriented Education and other educational concepts?*
Experience Oriented Education is more than an educational theory. Where some schools especially depart from the offer (methods), others of products (test data) the Experience Oriented Education is aimed at the process that is going on in the children in the group. It investigates the experience current of people , visible in wellbeing (how somebody is doing) and involvement (how somebody does it). The Experience Oriented teachers take interventions on the basis of those observations why which deep-level-learning develops. Teachers have attention for a well-prepared environment, room for initiatives of children and are full of attention en empathic when talking with them.

Many other concepts have currently adopted wellbeing and involvement. ‘They add it on’. In Experience Oriented Education involvement is not on the schedule. It is rooted in the attitude of all participants.
Recently a teacher said: “No, now apart from wellbeing and involvement. How must he learn the tables? Well, so not apart from wellbeing and involvement! Recently a teacher said: “No, now apart from wellbeing and involvement. How must he learn the tables? Well, so not apart from wellbeing and involvement!
* See also preface
How do children achieve at schools for Experience Oriented Education?
In the connection with secondary education it seems that children usually manage very well. Children are striking in a positive way because they are used to working independently, to planning and taking initiatives. Furthermore they are well equipped at their own level to look up the things they do not know. Not all teachers are already used to getting along with critical, self-conscious children. But if the potential becomes visible in a positive way teacher and pupil often become good partners also in secondary education.
A maths teacher of a secondary school thought ‘the children’ from ‘Experienced Oriented Education’ troublesome. Namely they asked him for other work when they had already mastered the instruction subject matter.
Is every child fit for Experience Oriented Education?
Experience Oriented Education tries to link up with the unique development which a child goes through. It is a very adaptive way of education. Does a child need more rest and structure then it will have to be taken ‘by hand’ by a teacher as long as possible. Does a child need more time to master the subject matter or does it need more challenge then that is possible. A child with a lower intelligence does not have to go to special education beforehand. If wellbeing and involvement are good and if development takes place at his level, a child can go through the school (possibly with adapted final terms.)

Of course there are practical restrictions: also classes in Experience Oriented Education often have 25 to 30 children in the group. It must be organizationally en practically ‘workable’ for teachers and the group. Of course there are limits! And sometimes .. a child is at the right school, with the right teacher and yet they do not hit it off. Teachers in Experience Oriented Education do not resign in this, but some relationships are very complex.
Have you ever met somebody who thought his IQ was too low?
…… Well!
How do you overlook all the processes?
When you see an Experience Oriented class in operation, you see an active group with intense interactions. The teacher manoeuvres in between, guides the corners, gives instruction to big or small groups and helps individual children. A good class organisation is indispensable: richly arranged, neat corners, clear working moments and good agreements. In the class folder the teacher puts down what happens every day in het circle, during contract work, project work, workshops and free moments.

The moments of observation are important in which the teacher takes time to pass in revue all the children. One reflects regularly. With reference to this the teacher prepares a new offer and interventions. The levels of the children are recorded by means of observation lists. On them the classical, group and individual offer is being tuned. The CEGO has developed clear child following systems which register the progress and stagnations.
Indicate before how much time and which space children get.
Be clear about the criteria by which you judge children.
They must know what the limits are and when they ‘are going well’.
And if children only want to build…..
Of course we are striving for a variegated development which enables children to manage in many situations. However, there are periods in which you can keep children hardly away from certain activities. The criterion is in principle ‘just’ involvement. If children for example build for days and the involvement remains high often a qualitative improvement can be seen. For a child of 6 years old that only piles blocks a closer diagnosis is required. But kids that first pile and later build more complex houses show their development.

Not everything at the same time. Children that make a rapid progress in reading can sometimes give other work less attention. That need not be a problem. Experiments can (in consultation with colleagues and/or parents) often give much insight within a time limit that you can survey yourself. However, giving confidence, observing well and remaining in consultation are conditional.
Sam, five years old, asked his teacher daily to read aloud the same picture-book even three times. She kept doing this and kept enjoying his involvement. After a few weeks he asked: “ Shall I read it aloud?” He read the book aloud without any mistakes. And from that day all books he laid hands on.
What are the limits of Experience Oriented Education?
Every school has its own rules in which are put down the normal manners. Besides that agreements can be made which count for individual children or groups of children. Depending on the agreement it must be communicated a class level, sublevel or school level. Children must know within which limits they may explore. Rules must be clear and must be dealt with consistently. Agreements must be made in consultation with children and must be must be lived up to. It is important that the course of things is discussed with children from 6/7 years old once a week. If children do not stick to the agreements, they cannot ‘be present’ for a moment. Children that talk in the silent corner or cause unrest during the circle conversation are taken from that situation for a while. How long? Till they are coming back again because they know what is expected and feel that they can deal with the situation again. Children that learn this can guide themselves more and more. They feel and indicate what they can and cannot handle and why. Of children that cannot come to grips with this and keep crossing boundaries an experience reconstruction an be made (see chapter about widening care.)
I had a look at the cleaning up schedule and asked a child why it had not cleaned up the arithmetic cupboard. He asked me: “What is the arithmetic cupboard?.
What is the role of parents in an Experience Oriented School?
Parents are very important as partners in schools for Experience Oriented Education. At all levels. Together teachers and parents take care of the education of children. So a good communication about children is essential. The threshold to walk into the school must be low.

It is important that parents experience that school policy is not only made on their own child.
At the moment that wellbeing and involvement are at stake and when reconstructions are made the contribution of parents is relevant. Thinking together about making optimal the wellbeing and involvement works inspiring both ways.

At group level there are for example workshops, excursions etcetera. In all kinds of ways parents can contribute to a richer environment, more attention for children, more possibilities of educational offer than when a teacher is the only one.
At school level parents can think along in different work groups at a practical and educational content level. Furthermore there are of course administrative tasks such as the participation committee and parents’ board.

If you choose as a parent for an Experience Oriented school you choose for a way of looking at children for dealing with each other respectfully and having confidence in developments.
The child belongs to itself and the rest may help it becoming that.
Must you introduce all ways of working before you are a school for Experience Oriented Education?
The ways of working have been tried and give a great chance for involvement but do not guarantee it. More important than the form is the involvement itself. The five involvement enhancing factors help you in arranging and guiding whatever form. For example it is not about children having sat in the circle but that they have become communicatively more competent. It is not about them having a large vocabulary but that they also dare to use it.
If you want to teach children tell the clock
you must give them a boring arithmetic lesson
Is working in an Experience Oriented way sufficient?
Of course this one concept is not sacred. From the networks in which we work together in all kinds of ways with others we have experienced the necessary importance of sharing knowledge and experience. All who are fascinated by psychological, pedagogic and anthropological problems of education are sources of inspiration for each other. But from practice we experience a big difference between schools which formulate no or a one-sided starting point (being aimed at core targets or for instance purely demand directed) and the schools which maintain the complexity. More sharply than from wellbeing and involvement we do not see fundamental learning. The variables are one of the first criteria that are easy to understand in the new educational paradigm. The knowledge society can work on development full of confidence which can show ‘the new human being’ to full advantage who can use his talents maximally to take responsibility for his unique life in linkedness with himself, the other and the surrounding world.
Many teachers do correct enough but look around insufficiently.
The minister, core targets, the inspection, the parents….
Have you ever spoken to the minister? How many core targets do you know by heart? How often do you see the inspector? You must be able to justify yourself to the minister, the inspector, the headmaster, the colleagues, the parents, yourself but especially to the children. It is by no means illogical if the appropriate authorities ask how you do it? But how often do you speak to the minister, the inspector, the headmaster? It is by no means illogical that parents want to know how their child is doing. They have a right to know if their child is developing maximally (wellbeing and involvement) and where the child is approximately with regard to peers (competences). But teachers who can hand over the tested state of affairs from day to day are more oriented on administration than on chances for development.
When the inspector was visiting and asked if I knew that he came for understanding reading I told him to have a look in the kitchen.
When he came back he said they were baking cookies.
“And if they taste well later they can read and understand well .” was my suggestion. With something delicious with our coffee we had an interesting discussion in the afternoon.
If you are proud of your education you do not wait until the inspector comes but you invite him.
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Next: Chapter 12