Danish “efterskoler” and folk colleges are very special residential schools and unique to Denmark. Teaching is both formal and informal learning with an aim to support students in their personal development, help them to find their strengths and passion and to become clearer about their future path. This program is for you who wish to experience this unique teaching philosophy, test your teaching abilities, share your skills and passion with the students and take part in the vibrant life at the school inside and outside the classroom.
Efterskoler: Danish Efterskoles are residential schools, where students from the ages of 14 to 18 can choose to finish their primary education. There are about 250 efterskoler spread across Denmark and about 20% of all Danish students attend an efterskole.
Folk colleges: Danish folk colleges are residential school where students are aged between 18 and 30 years. There are about 80 folk colleges throughout Denmark. They are part of the non-formal educational system in Denmark.
All the residential schools deal with both the educational and personal development of the students. They embrace a common educational focus on enlightenment for life, general education and democratic citizenship. One of the things that are unique about the efterskole is the teacher-student relationship. Teachers and students are together all day from the time the students wake up until they go to bed and classes are based on dialogue and mutual learning between teachers and students. This often engenders a close, personal and non-formal relationship between students and teachers.
The different residential schools specialise in different themes, such as sports, arts, interculture, outdoor, drama, creative subjects, environment/nature, music, crafts, etc. Most of the schools have both Danish and international students.
This program gives you the opportunity to work as a volunteer in such a residential school. It is a great chance to experience the “enlightenment for life” philosophy practiced at the schools, to test or practice your teaching abilities, to gain experience working in a school environment and to learn how to interact with youngsters or peers from another culture. You will also learn about a way of teaching and teacher-student relationship which is probably very different from the one you have experienced yourself.
The volunteer tasks may include:
- Assisting teachers in language lessons or other subjects for which you have a passion or special skills
- Helping organise evening and weekend activities for the students
- Assisting staff in general tasks both indoor and outdoor
- Helping the teacher on duty outside school hours occasionally
- … and perhaps offering informal courses for the students in the evenings on subjects where you have special expertise or interest
Which tasks and responsibilities you will be given depend on your interests and skills.
Very often you will be invited to take part in some of the courses offered by your host school.