Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back from Luxembourg

One of the great things about teaching over the past decades was the opportunities for travel to other European countries to experience other educational systems afforded by the various European funded projects. I enjoyed short visits to Germany, Poland, Austria, Denmark, UK and Portugal.

I thought that was all over when I retired but I was asked to attend the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg last week and was delighted to go.

Twenty seven teachers (and one retired teacher!) - one from each country, took part in a teacher forum on internet safety which then fed into the general debate. It was most enjoyable to meet colleagues from other countries and see that the problems are the same everywhere. What strikes one is that in spite of overload and cut-backs teachers are still enthusiastic about their job.

The conference which was held in the European Commission Conference Centre in the Jean Monnet Building was interesting, with relevant input from a students' panel comprising two students from each country, the teachers' panel and researchers, academics, ministry of education representatives and other interested parties. The working language was English but there was simultaneous translation into a number of other languages. During boring presentations in English it is always wonderful to switch to French or German and enjoy the different flow of the language without the distraction of understanding what is being said.

We stayed near the venue on the Plateau de Kirchberg, 3 km from the centre of Luxembourg city where many of the European building are - no shopping or eating areas just high rise glass walled building. And the building is still going on. We did get a little time on the last afternoon after the conference finished to do a little sightseeing in the city centre. A typical European city but it has a long deep gorge winding through it which makes for spectacular sights.

More on Luxembourg with some pictures perhaps when I recover fully.

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