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Discussion with a delightful Dane: Member Spotlight with Anne

27/01/2022

One of perhaps the most exciting things about The Adult Learning Hub is the sheer diversity of our members and the contexts represented in adult education. We have 'Hubbers' based in countries like Spain, the UK, Canada, Australia, the US, and in Bali in Indonesia. With each and every person who joins and contributes, the Hub becomes that much more valuable to every member, as our living, breathing knowledge base grows. This week, I sat down with Anne from Denmark, one of our most active new members, to talk about her work with learners who have been marginalized; her passions in education and goals she has for herself. Read on to learn more.


Jane: Hi Anne! Thank you for sitting down with me. Tell everyone a little bit about where are you from originally and one interesting fact about it.

Anne: I'm from Aarhus, Denmark. If you ever go, you should visit The Old Town, an open-air museum of urban history and culture in Denmark throughout three centuries. The houses in the museum have been relocated from all over the country. It's like walking around in a film set - only it's all authentic. It's a pretty cool museum.

Where are you based now and what do you do?

I'm based just outside Copenhagen, Denmark. I teach young adults struggling in the periphery of the education system. Most of them struggle with social, personal, and academic challenges, and a common denominator for them all is that they all have very bad memories and experiences tied to 'school' and 'learning'. 

They all feel like they don't fit into the education system, they feel completely misunderstood, and they are wired for battle.

As teacher working with dyslexic learners, I'm responsible for screening, making assessments of students struggling with reading and writing, and for providing them with extra support like applying for reading- and writing technologies on their behalf and teaching them how to use them. Some of my students need basic phonetic training and teaching, and I'm here to help. I'm also responsible for assisting and coaching my colleagues to be able to provide a dyslexia-friendly learning environment in all classes.

Alongside my full-time job, I'm working on a long-term plan to become more independent. It's my goal to supply my income streams with online course creation, publication of educational materials, giving speeches, and consulting. That's a long game plan, but I'm working on it.

Tell us one unknown fact about you that most people might not know.

I'm very outgoing so most people see me as an extrovert. I'm not. I need alone time to function, and although I love being around people, I'm basically a turtle.

Turtles are very unique animals. I'm also an introvert. I think we have a special insight into learning for adults, as there are more of us than you think!  What got you into the world of adult learning to begin with?

I worked for a large Danish newspaper and later as a freelancer and was originally set on a career path in journalism, but I always felt something missing. I got the idea of becoming a high school teacher, and luckily someone gave me the chance although I didn't have all the credentials at the time. 

I rose to the occasion and took all the supplement courses that I needed alongside teaching  (and becoming a mother). After six years, I decided to specialize in the field of literacy and dyslexia.

I love the interaction, the relationship building, the constant feedback, and the 'nerve' in the classroom, and I feel that as a teacher I make a (small) difference in the world.

Have you ever had a particular challenge throughout your career that you managed to navigate and overcome? 

To be blunt, where I work now, the daily challenges are overwhelming, but I'm working on small improvements all the time. It's like eating a whale, I must take one bite at a time. Example: I worked the first year in a worn-down plumber's office converted into a provisional classroom with a hole in the roof, no shelves for folders and books, and an unstable wi-fi connection.

 I've worked hard to get management to accept my improvements (and financial spending) over the last year and a half, but by now it's become a nice, warm, and welcoming learning environment with a fixed roof, and painted walls. I'm proud of that.

Also, being the fourth Danish teacher in eight months, when I first arrived the students in the class were ready to test me...and they most certainly did! I have learned a lot since then.

Tell us more about that.

I have learned that whatever behavior a young adult displays in the classroom (and outside) there is always a reason behind the behavior.  I have also learned to look for the reason with interest and curiosity and not to judge the learner based on the behavior. That approach has helped me to see the most amazing skills and personalities in my students, who are by most teachers viewed as 'difficult' and 'obstructive', and 

I managed to help them see themselves through that lens and to watch them grow as people and as learners. That's awesome! With that curious and non-judgmental approach, I have managed to create a safe and trusting learning environment in the class. I'm very proud of that.

It sounds like you've managed to achieve so much with your learners. How exciting. I'd love to know, in addition to this, what would you say is your proudest personal OR professional accomplishment to date.

I've run the Berlin Marathon in 2010. That was a major personal accomplishment for me because (back then) I wasn't a runner. I wasn't in shape for it, and I ran the last 15 km on pure willpower. I decided to do it, and I did.

Amazing. You strike me as someone who knows the value of not only taking care of your learners, but also taking care of yourself and finding a good balance between personal and professional activities. I like to ask our members, what is your GIVE to The Adult Learning Hub community?

Well, I'm working my way into the field of adult education for people with neurodivergence of different kinds. I can help if you have learners struggling with dyslexia. I'm no expert, but I do have some experience in the field of teaching learners who, after years of having been misunderstood, have acquired a resistant attitude towards teachers and learning.


Because my students come with so much resistance, I've started to explicitly teach them to work actively with developing their meta-cognitive learning skills, like how to move from a fixed mindset ("I can't learn") to a dynamic mindset ("I can learn") and how to work proactively with improving one's own learning habits.


Join Anne and others passionate adult learning professionals like her in The Adult Learning Hub. Together, we are confidently navigate a new world of work and making a more meaningful impact for the learners and organizations we serve. When you join us as a member, you become a part of a vibrant community of practice, and can take advantage of an exciting calendar of events & activities, designed to build better habits and go into more depth into topics important to you. 
Additionally, we host a regular Readers Room and have an exclusive library of academic articles you can enjoy in our members only app. Find out what members are saying about us here, or sign up to our mailing list to get regular industry insights in adult education.

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