In Hungary I got used to the old school professor-speaking-student-listening way of teaching. I had to sit in lectures all day long, learn theory from books, recite learned theories on tests and never get practical experience. (Well we had an internship semester, but I didn’t use any school knowledge during that period, that is for sure.) In Denmark it is exactly the opposite. Every class is a discussion, students are as much part of the conversation as teachers. There are theoretical readings that we are supposed to read before the class. During the class the focus is not on teachers presenting those theories, but more like discussing our interpretations, and how we can apply those theories in real life. We are encouraged, sometimes expected, to contribute with our opinion. And there is the practical part. Instead of tests, we have projects. In groups we have to solve a problem, most of the cases are real life cases, and present our solution to the teachers. Instead of grades, we get feedback.
At firsts I hated this system. I didn’t understand why they can’t just leave me alone with my books, and ask me anything after a month of sitting at home and memorising the content word by word. Why do I have to spend hours after school working together with people I don’t even like? Why don’t teachers give me a straight answer to my question? Then after 1 year or so the picture had started to clear up and I understood: this is how it works in real life. Because in real life, I’m by myself. Nobody cares if I know the 4Ps or Porter’s five by heart. I can easily Google it any time. Nobody cares how many books I read about marketing strategy. They care about get things done. Being resourceful, dynamic and adept has its advantages when it comes to results. (I’m talking about marketing-branding field here. I’m sure it is not the same with doctors and lawyers.)
I’m not saying that theory is not important. Of course it is. I have to have a basic knowledge at least to know what to Google. But spending all the time on learning theory and not put them in practice is useless. I’m not saying that the Danish education model is perfect. Far from that. But I’m lucky to experience the two ends of the spectrum that opened up new perspectives for me.
(It seems I can only write diary level posts after 14 hour of work. Which is kind of understandable considering that my brain is mashed potato. It is fine for now. I’m not going to give up the challenge because I’m exhausted, just lower the bar. But I also know that if I really would like to improve, I have to take my time, prepare and focus on writing.)