Nonformality is a weblog of Demokratie & Dialog about learning with the mission to inform, inspire, provoke, initiate, criticise and challenge discussion on educational thinking and practice.
Most of the contributions start from non-formal education and training in Europe — it will be good enough as a starting point, but while some may think differently, in our opinion it also isn’t much more… What good is thinking about non-formal education if disconnected from other forms of learning? What sense does it make to limit discussions about learning to a continent? Can educational thinking be disconnected from society and politics?
Consequentially, Nonformality will be looking at education and learning holistically and honestly, beyond limitations, agendas and promotional attitudes of institutions or companies. We hope to become a space for reflection and thinking for the people writing here, a space for information and inspiration for the people reading us and, inspired by that, a space for discussion and exchange.
We understand education in John Dewey’s tradition not as a preparation for life, but life itself — for most of us life-long learning has become reality and necessity alike. We work and educate to facilitate democratic change in respect of others and their rights. In our thinking educational opportunities should be spaces to learn through experience in safe environments: Human Rights cannot be understood by merely talking about them, and likewise democracy cannot be taught — it has to be lived, and therefore learning arrangements need to be intrinsically democratic and respect human rights of learners and educators equally.
The departure points of our authors are as diverse as can be, some are teachers or professors, others trainers or consultants, some are politicians or policy-makers, others administrators… Most of us have met, one way or the other, in or through non-formal education — but not all of us earn our money that way. What we have in common is our shared belief in the value of human rights and democratic education. It informs our work, our thinking and our writing.
What you see and discover here, depends entirely on you. It might be that you won’t be able to see much at all, or a lot. Occasionally you will agree, often not. That’s what we are here to do. Enjoy, and think for yourself.
Welcome to the non-formal bloggy think-tank on education and learning!