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bg_snejiOn 3rd October, 2008, an EQ team gave a presentation for their Bulgarian peers in the world of Informal Education.

The event took place in the context of the project ‘REINFORCEMENT OF NON FORMAL EDUCATION AND THE SOCIAL PARTICIPATION OF YOUTH IN YOUTH CENTRES’ (EC Youth Programme, Action 5) and the platform was shared by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation who outlined their programme for working with young teenagers on the theme of Violence in School / Domestic Violence.

In a presentation entitled ‘It’s not what you do that matters, it’s how you do it’, David demonstrated the soft skills that characterize the informal or experiential approach and render it apart from conventional schooling but complementary to the classroom regime. EQ’s workshop relating to EC Institutions and Organisations was presented by EQ as a means of reinforcing the idea that the journey is as important as the destination in the context of Informal Education. Indeed, there was no fixed destination for the workshop participants (we were never going to assess the uptake of information on the subject). We engaged with our target group during the journey and the style of engagement was important. Otherwise we may as well have taught formally and focused on the destination (= information learned).

In addition, by exploring ‘the vocabulary of marginalization’, David showed how programmes directed at marginalized teenagers can frequently be as discriminatory as the social attitudes or institutional iniquities they are designed to counteract. The members of the audience were encouraged to abandon the ‘sense of mission’ when working directly with children that focused on curing, saving, fixing or integrating. It’s a barrier that prevents children from simply being children, teenagers from being teenagers.