Maren Satke: person-centred approach in adult education
I have been working on (further) education projects since the start of my career 26 years ago. I have been managing EU adult education projects for almost 12 years now. What I like about this job is meeting different people from different countries who work in a wide variety of fields. My story is also about these meetings and collaborations.
I have been familiar with EPALE for a long time. But I only discovered the platform’s true potential quite recently. An incredible variety of EU projects are presented here and the initiatives to form communities of practice are extremely helpful. So, I will probably spend even more time here in the future and hope to get a lot of inspiration for my projects.
My first EU project was called Hattrick. It was about playing football, learning, and integration. I worked in a highly dedicated project team. I often commuted to bilateral meetings with Austrian colleagues; we visited football clubs to hold workshops, had many challenging but entertaining meetings, and were even given the opportunity to show off our football skills. In short, the entire project was characterised by personal contact and on-site interaction. Except for one colleague, I have never personally met the partners of the new ERASMUS+ project with whom I have been coordinating for the past 6 months.
So, when people ask me what the biggest change has been for me in the last few years workwise, the experience of the past one-and-a-half years dominates – the lack of personal contact, apart from on a computer screen.
Even though I have actively managed EU projects for many years now and have witnessed many changes in the working environment and in collaborations with project partners, this loss of face-to-face meetings has definitely been the most drastic change so far.
But have the effects of this restriction only been negative? Not entirely. Of course, I miss the meetings with partners – even just based on the fact that I love travelling! However, viewed from a different angle, the changes have made a positive contribution to the development of new perspectives in our daily working routines. “We were forced to grapple with new technologies and to apply them in practice...” Statements to this effect are very common in discussions with teaching staff whose working lives have also been affected by the pandemic. The same has happened to my line of work as well.
I have had to learn new skills and tackle new forms of online collaboration, which I find extremely positive! Finally, the exciting project that I am busy coordinating is also taking place thanks to the pandemic and is on the subject of Creative Change. This project examines new, outcome-oriented approaches in the management of EU-sponsored projects and incorporates the person-centred approach in adult education projects.
The term “change” describes the transition towards focussing more heavily on the use of online methods and tools, while the “creative” aspect refers to placing emphasis on innovative approaches and design-thinking during the work on adult education projects. Exchanging views with people in creative professions will also be incorporated into the project work. Creative Change combines useful resources for managers in the adult education sector, while at the same time creating a hub that brings together people and their experiences, ideas, and suggestions for the project work. Because my personal experience has shown that collaborating in virtual spaces means more than just being able to use the tools correctly. It also means, above all, being more attentive to the needs of the target group and partners of the particular project. Communication, interaction, and motivation – all of these aspects need to be taken into even greater consideration in the world of virtual interactivity!
The Internet has become a real treasure trove as a source of digital learning material over the last few years, although its sheer vastness does make it difficult to find specific information at times. In Creative Change, we aim to provide an overview of all these numerous resources, in particular of those which can be utilised in the area of adult education within the context of EU projects. However, Creative Change is also about the exchange of ideas among people who are involved in various kinds of projects as a means of sharing their suggestions, challenges, and success stories from which we want to learn how to make future projects more effective in the long term.
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