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The power of Erasmus peer-learning

31/03/2016
Christin Cieslak
Valoda: EN

/lv/file/peer-peer-learningPeer to peer learning

Peer to peer learning

One of the main advantages of Erasmus exchange is the power of peer learning. This can happen not only through the projects themselves, but also during the upcoming informational sessions on the introduction to the programme, schooling events for proposal writing and partner search events.

Peer learning gives you the opportunity to profit from learning possibilities as well as from encouragement from others. You can:

  • Practise foreign languages and intercultural exchange

  • Discuss different controversial topics

Practising foreign languages and intercultural exchange

Practising a foreign language in informal settings can create complex learning situations highly dependent on personal exchange.

In this context, native speakers can provide a language model for non-native speakers. Non-native speakers on the other hand can encourage each other to enter into dialogue and practise without feeling the need to be flawless. 

Since these settings are often not only multilingual but also multicultural, there are many occasions to experience behavioural differences and similarities in a variety of settings, from the highly formal to the casual. Interaction with colleagues from other cultural backgrounds can not only enhance our awareness of these differences and similarities, but also teach us how to properly and respectfully respond to them.

Discussing different controversial topics

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When we are exposed to a situation where we not only have to deal with foreign languages but also with new opinions or perspectives from colleagues, old convictions can be challenged. In the course of a vivid discussion, previous viewpoints sometimes need to be adjusted or even changed.

As other people bring their own backgrounds and experiences, there can often be different viewpoints on a single topic. Dealing with opposing viewpoints can lead to new insights and a broader and deeper understanding of the issue.

All this happens between peers where no top-down teaching is involved. People are instead teaching themselves by allowing themselves to challenge and be challenged.

Discussing different controversial topics while engaging in an intercultural exchange and practising foreign languages are only two learning opportunities conferences, workshops and panels can offer. Being all wrapped up in our daily tasks, trying to get on top of to-do lists, we often forget to enjoy the possibilities to enhance and grow through informal learning opportunities.

Reminding ourselves that every encounter can be a chance to broaden our horizons is a vital part of adult learning.

Christin Cieslak is an adult education graduate with a strong focus on general adult learning. She worked for the German National Agency Education for Europe and is currently an assessor for the ERASMUS+ program. She lived and worked in Belgium, Switzerland and China.

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