European cooperation: COMENIUS 2011–2013
Danish legislation stipulates that special schools must offer the most recent and relevant teaching methods and didactics9. As Denmark is not exactly self-sufficient in this area, it is necessary to cooperate across borders in order to be at the forefront of the development. In the “COMENIUS”10 project in 2011–2013 we cooperated with the Åsbacka School11 in Gnesta, Sweden and Kentalis Rafaël12 in Holland on developing APA for the deafblind, focussing on creating a joint catalogue of ideas with exercises for the lessons and on discussing methods and didactics13. We visited each other both with and without students and presented our results and experiences at EUCAPA2012 in Ireland.
Apart from participating in the “COMENIUS” project we have also benefitted from participating in EUCAPA’s European conferences every second year. Here we meet with a wide variety of other professionals – teachers, professors, researchers and other professionals from the academic world. At EUCAPA we are also introduced to the latest methods and research results. Each time there are many relevant presentations and practical workshops which is why we tend to take advantage of the fact that there are two of us with each our own student group; Mads Kopperholdt from the deafblind area and Anders M. Rundh from the hearing loss area. After a long day at the conference we always exchange impressions and notes from the various presentations we have attended individually. Based on the ideas from the conferences we have developed some concrete teaching tools such as: The CDHWALL14, coupled swings, fitness equipment and a multitrack. In order to carry out our ideas we have cooperated with the universities and colleges in our locality. In that way we have been able to provide our students with a new environment and innovative and exciting teaching methods.
We have now been using APA as an integrated part of our teaching methods at CDH during the last couple of years and with good results. By applying experiences from other schools in other countries and with new innovative teaching methods we have established a niche within sport and movement. This is a niche where the individual is in focus but still interacting with the other students in a group. The strength of this is the group dynamics and the fact that the individual student feels that he or she is being accepted and is actively and socially participating in the group. The fact that the students look up to each other, “do as” and communicate with other students has the effect that the teacher is only a tool who creates the best possible environment for this interaction and then withdraws. The outcome of this is that the students feel joy and a desire to move around and a desire to be with other people who have different levels of function and they look at others as their equals – both during the APA lessons and in everyday life.
When working with APA we have discovered the importance of evidence-based knowledge. We have also learnt that, in Denmark and probably in the rest of Europe generally, we are not very good at using the universities as collaborative partners in connection with APA. Our experiences from the U.S. have shown us that they have involved their research centres to a larger degree and thus have more documented results. The world is not as big as it used to be and with the possibilities of the internet we would like to prepare the ground for a global cooperation in the field of APA due to the necessity of evidence-based teaching, among other things. As an APA team we would like to get inspiration from other countries and colleagues thus making the most of each other’s strong points. We highly recommend that you attend the EUCAPA 201615 and that you come to Aalborg on 5th – 8th September 2017, where CDH will host The European Conference on Deafblindness “Touch of closeness”16.
Literature for inspiration:
Lära tillsammans – samarbetsorienterat lärande för ökad delaktighet (Learn together – co-operative learning for increased participation, 2013). Lena Hammer 2013. The Swedish National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools, Specialpedagogiska Skolmyndigheten (SPSM).
Physical Education and Sports for People with Visual Impairments and Deafblindness: Foundations of Instruction: Lieberman, Ponchillia, & Ponchillia, 2013. AFB PRESS U.S.A.
“Sport is for all” http://www.eufapa
With Brain, Hands and Heart: 20 years of Physiotherapy and Education in English in SAMK. www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/85932
“Forløbsbeskrivelse: Rehabilitering og undervisning af børn og unge med tidligt konstateret høretab 0–18 år.” (Progress description: Rehabilitation and teaching of children and young people aged between 0–18 with early diagnosed hearing impairment). April 2015. (www.socialstyrelsen.dk); Strategi 2018 (www.rn.dk); The Danish Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality (www.emu.dk); www.deaftv.dk; www.handivid.dk
For more information contact:
Anders Martin Rundh (email@example.com)
Mads Kopperholdt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1 APA is a practical approach – the key to getting all people with a functional disability to participate in sport or movement together with other people. (www.sportanddev.org/en/.../sport_and_adapted_physical_activity__apa_)
2 Center for Deafblindness or Hearing loss, (CDH), Aalborg, is a service for children, young people and adults with either congenital deafblindness or hearing loss (www.dbc.rn.dk.) CDH is a small corporate member of DbI.
4 European Federation of Adapted Physical Activity. (www.eufapa.eu/index.php/eucapa/history.pdfps).
6 www.campabilities.org. Campabilities is week-long sports camp for children with visual impairments.
9 “Forløbsbeskrivelse: Rehabilitering og undervisning af børn og unge med tidligt konstateret høretab 0–18 år” (Progress description:
Rehabilitation and teaching of children and young people aged between 0–18 with early diagnosed hearing impairment).
10 The Comenius programme is a European Union educational project. It concerns school-level education, and is part of the EU’s
Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013.
14 The CDH-WALL is a “box” on wheels which is 2 m X 2.5 m X 40 cm. The box has 24 square light panels on the front and inside, it has an
advanced state-of-the-art computer which controls 20 different interactive games centered around the light panels which switches on
and off (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iX5jgL69vE ; www.eufapa.eu/index.php/home/163-video.html)