14 junho 2019

Testimony: Emergency Pedagogy Training Course in Lisbon by Marta

“Morning has come, night is away, rise with the sun, welcome the day”

What a hopeful message for everyday life! And what a wonderful image to bring to someone emotionally wounded… That was the way we started our day at the Emergency Pedagogy (E.P.) training course, by singing to this song in the morning while moving to warm up and get ready for the seminar.

When I first heard Bernd Ruf on a seminar about Emergency Pedagogy, a few years ago, it totally resonated with me, and I was sure I wanted to know more about it. Luckily enough, it was possible to do it this year, this time at a deeper level.

Through this course, I was able to:
- recall the process of trauma
- understand how the emergency intervention can be effective after the very first weeks after the traumatic event
- learn the specific methods used by E.P. (I tried them myself during the practical lessons)
- learn the school curriculum and its different levels of therapy (from the music and arts to the body care, nutrition, storytelling, gardening activities and even the architecture of the surrounding buildings)
- get some tips on the mental hygiene a carer/educator can have.

It was an intensive week, full of valuable information and impressions that are still reverberating inside me. I could address two different aspects of this training course: the seminar itself, and the cultural approach.

Concerning the seminar itself, one of the most interesting things I realize was that emergency
pedagogy works especially during the 8 weeks after trauma. This could explain why it is so hard for
me, as a kindergarten teacher, to help my children dealing with their own troubles. In one hand, I do
not actually know their real traumas because it is not something obvious (like a child who would witness war or a tsunami, for instance). On the other hand, even if I would know something really terrible, I would be working at a long term after- trauma period, which would be less effective since it
would be turned into a disorder.

Another very interesting discovery for me was that although E.P. is based on Waldorf Education, there is no need to advocate it. Having Waldorf education as a background myself, it was somehow easy for me to connect to the methods presented, but I was very willing and curious to try a different perspective, as if I would not know anything about it. As a consequence, I found out that this whole experience allowed me to get some fresh air on Waldorf education and to reconnect to the Steiner philosophy again – like I would recall inside me why I fell in love with it long time ago, so to speak. A third impression that meant a lot for me was to observe very clearly the individual approach of each of us during the arts classes. It surprised me to see the amazingly different drawings/paintings /sculptures that resulted at the end of the class!

Concerning the cultural aspect, it amused me a lot spending time among European mates, observing different backgrounds and different ways of dealing with work/time/subjects/politics and even the gastronomy. And to observe some stereotypes (including myself)! It really sparkled me joy. In another level of the emotional spectrum, the testimony of Ahmad (the Syrian youngman who shared his own experience as a refugee) was a strong moment for me that surely brought me awareness of my own intolerance. 

To sum up, for me this training course was a really good experience, with a great organization and structure. The team behind it is itself an inspiration, since they were very well articulated altogether, and they are clearly tough workers! 

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