“We need to support the energy, passion, engagement, drive and will-power of our educational professionals to inspire, motivate and encourage their students.”

Magdalena Simons of The International School of Helsingborg, Sweden is the seventh member of the all-female, trail-blazing jury for the Hackathon for Youth: The Future of Education is Now.

We are so happy to introduce you to the readers. Please let them now about your recent education journey.

My name is Magdalena Simons, I come from Austria and since 2018, I’m the IB PYP Coordinator at The International School of Helsingborg (ISH), Sweden, where I have also been teaching since 2007. As a teacher as well as a pedagogical leader, I focus on inquiry-based learning, student action, and most recently, coordination of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) within our IB continuum school community. My active collaboration with the IB to create teacher support material for the enhanced PYP curriculum and further curriculum development started in 2016.

In addition to my teaching career, I have a master’s degree in nutrition science and I have worked in product development, product management, marketing as well as in public health before I moved to Sweden in 2006.

Magdalena, what do we need to keep, develop and bin to create learning for 21st century learners?

What to keep…

From an educator’s perspective, I think we need to support the energy, passion, engagement, drive and will-power of our educational professionals to inspire, motivate and encourage their students. To educate is a very demanding job! In an environment created for learning, teachers can change into the role of the learners and  learners can become teachers. In this beautiful symbiosis, learning happens collaboratively and stays authentic, regardless of the context.

What to develop…

In my opinion, we need to develop learning from a holistic point of view, taking health aspects, physical, emotional, psychological, social & mental well-being, individual talents, likes, dislikes, passion, socio-economic factors, family, friends and society in our local and global environment into account. Learning and teaching is a complex construct with the student(s) in the centre. Emotions and curiosity need to be evoked and personal relationships established to truly meet every students’ individual learning needs on their life-long learning journey.

What to bin…

I feel we have to bin the idea that learning is “just” acquiring and retaining knowledge and facts without critical reflection. The recognition of different learning styles of students rather than “one solution fits all” as well as the recognition of different learning needs should guide the critical engagement with a curriculum on what’s expected to be taught. To just “add” facts without giving a context to learning will detach students from local and global issues as they might fail to see how the learning connects to and impacts their lives. 

Twitter: @MagdalenaSimons

E-mail: magdalena.simons@helsingborg.se

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