Children in Dreams of their Future Competences

A project by Lillehammer University College, Norway

Ongoing activities

Report from the fieldwork in April – Mai

Four members of the research team (Nisrine Lmariouh, Frank Bruun, Omar Aatabi and Pär Nygren) have now finished a  four week long field work in Ait Abdi. In this first phase of our field work we have successfully started up two of our projects: 1) Children´s development of their every day practices and competences in the tension between tradition and modernity (including the Ipad-project) and 2) Children’s role in a Berber village household – a case study involving three generations. The field work was planned as a implementation and preparation of these projects as a base for the next phase of our field work starting in September 2014. Before that, Steinar Ofsdal and his students from the Norwegian Academy of Music will start up their project  Young people´s cultural practices and identities in the tension between tradition and modernity in June.

Below we give a brief summary of what we have done during  our field work in April-May:

  • Establishing a local collaborative network together with the members of association of the village, the teachers for Ait Abdi children at primary and secondary school, the local school administration, the parents of the children and – most important! – the children and young people in Ait Abdi.
  • Presenting and discussing the project at two meetinga withe the leadership of the local association for the village, the teachers at primary and secondary school for Ait Abdi-children, all parents and the teachers at the neighbor village (where the children will be serving as a control group in the iPad project)
  • Focus group interviews and individual with: 1) Ait Abdi children in primary and secondary school; 2) Fathers and grandfathers in Ait Abdi; 3) Mothers and grandmothers in Ait Abdi; 4) Teachers at the primary and secondary school and 4) School administrators for the primary and secondary schools. Altogether we have made interviews with 56 children, parents, grandparents, teachers and school administrators as a base-line for defining target areas for actions and the establishment of local action groups targeting these target areas.
  • Participative observations in the daily life of the people in Ait Abdi
  • Testing out in practice the use of iPads and the algebra program Dragon Box together with  Ait Abdi-children and their teacher in primary school.
  • Informing all students and teachers in secondary school about our project and at the same time giving a lecture on the subject “Building your competences in everyday life” – a meeting that was very well attended and  well received by the young students.
  • On the basis of collected data (see above) – and from the children´s perspectives and expressed interests, we have – together with the local population (children, teachers, parents and grandparents)  and the local school administrators – defined the following 10 target areas:
    • Target 1: Algebra- and ICT-competence
    • Target 2: The development of less authoritarian relations between children and parents while keeping the reciprocal respect for each other
    • Target 3: Students evaluation of and feed back on their learning environment in secondary school
    • Target 4: Parents mobilization for collaboration with teachers of their children
    • Target 5: Girls developing their competences to deal with parents and teachers
    • Target 6: Boys developing  their competences for dealing with parents and teachers
    • Target 7: Information meetings for parents about secondary school
    • Target 8: Information meetings for parents about primary school
    • Target 9: Security and facilitation for children going to a college boarding school outside Ait Abdi
    • Target 10:  Collective homework for primary school children – children help themselfes, since most of their parents are illiterates.
  •  Fourteen action groups were established to work within these areas in dífferent ways and with different support from the researchers.
  • On the basis of an analysis of local stakeholders with different – and sometimes conflicting – interests in the practices in target fields, we had several meetings with all actors involved in the village. At the final big meeting 22th of May where all in the village were invited including the presidents for the local elected associations for the village, a  preliminary action plan for all suggested activities was approved and authorized.

Take a look in the section “Field work in Ait Abdi”  and the section  for the “iPad-project“, where you will find updated pictures and videos from our field work!

Report from the fieldwork in June: Identity and traditional music across national and cultural boarders

As a part of the project Young people´s cultural practices and identities in the tension between tradition and modernity(see the project page), The Norwegian Academy of music, represented by professor Steinar Ofsdal, has developed an elective course  for the students of the Academy called BERBER20. The course, having its location in Ait Abdi and other villages in Al Haouz, starts in spring 2015. The goal is to support the possibilities for young musicians from Norway and Alhaouz to learn form each other concerning how to preserve and strengthen traditional values and culture in a rapid changing society. To prepare for the activities in 2015 and to implement the course as a part of the umbrella project “Children in dreams of their competences”, professor  Steinar Ofsdal and his four graduates from the folk music study, Sigrid, Kirsti, Tuva and Jon, visited Ait Abdi and Tahanaout in the period of 17.-22. June 2014. They did cooperate with three young traditional musicians from Al Haouz. This group of young musicians has been our project´s partners since 2012, as they went to the Førde festival as a part of the Talent 2012. The young musicians from Morocco and Norway met in Marrakech to practice new and old repertoire.

Here is Steinar Ofsdals report from the visit: In Ait Abdi the children in the school, who now has a summer vacation, were prepared to meet the musicians. They all met on Friday under the big trees, the meeting point in the village, and they were singing, dancing and playing together till 10 o´clock in the night, and had to return to their homes in the darkness. As a preparation for the coming elective course, the process was very successful. Since we all had the possibility to be together for a whole day, we all got closer together and built up a relationship of trust to the children. The girls, as quite often, were earlier to the activities than the boys, and they came up with a big repertoire of songs. Sigrid also taught them a Norwegian song with funny words, and they really enjoyed it and learned it. But later in the evening, the boys were encouraged to participate, not only listen, and then the big explosion came! Many of them proved to be very good drummers, and a big jam session started. The children also new more of the songs the musicians had prepared, and joined by singing and playing.

Next spring we will come to Ait Abdi with new music students, who now will do this as a part of their study. Students from folk music, jazz and classic will participate. The plan is to let our musician friends from Al Haouz first travel to another village in the region, to prepare the children on the meeting with the Norwegian group, by teaching them songs and drum playing. A week in the spring semester the Norwegians will come, and there will be days with singing, playing and dancing, with material from both Morocco and Norway.

On our Blog post page  you can see pictures and watch videos from our visit in Marrakech and Al Haouz in June.

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