Visiting Pop Up College

Unfortunately we can’t bring real life and real companies into traditional classrooms. So it is a good way to bring classroom into a place, where real life happens and where companies already exist. Today me and my students had a great honor to visit Pop Up College‘s new business premises in the shopping mall Kaari in Kannelmäki, Helsinki. Pop Up College represents a new way of studying by making real projects with real companies − outside classroom.

Pop Up College’s new business premises in shopping mall Kaari.

Although studying in Pop Up College looks less controlled than studying in traditional classrooms, all the students seemed to understand their own responsibility in both learning and working. That is a good method especially for students who realize their own responsibility about their own future. Some students still don’t adapt to this kind of freedom, where balance between freedom and responsibility is needed and highlighted.

The key term in this kind of studying is team learning, where the student group is shared into smaller teams. All the teams have different goals, and they try to reach their goals with dialogue. Teachers are coaches, whose job is to facilitate positive dialogue between team members and teams. However, instead teacher-directed work teams themselves make all the work in projects.

During this autumn period I have noticed problems of traditional way of studying. It doesn’t seem to be interesting enough for students in age 16-17, who don’t have plans for their future. I understand, that when the future seems foggy, working at school doesn’t feel motivating for our youngsters, although learning and studying could disperse uncertainty. Well, lack of motivation means huge amounts of absences and growing amount of work for us teachers willing to help our students in learning.

Maybe team learning in real environment could be the answer, that could increase our students’ motivation and give better views for the future. Could Pop Up College be widened within every student’s reach in the future? Well, in my opinion we still have students who need traditional methods, rules and boundaries at school. Pop Up College is still an excellent method for students, who are able to learn, work and maintain balance between freedom and responsibility.

3 thoughts on “Visiting Pop Up College

  1. Pop Up College sounds like a really good way to motivate students to learn. It might be a little too much for many shy and insecure first year students, but during the second or third year this is a wonderful opportunity.
    I doubt there is any one particular teaching method that suits each and every student. That is why I find it best to make teaching versatile. One of the good things in changing teaching methods, and talking about them with the students, is that it is also a way to guide them into reflecting how they learn. And, versatility makes the job more interesting for the teacher as well 🙂

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    1. So true every word, Johanna! We have discussed about this at work as well, and mostly we hope some of our students would apply for the program at the Pop Up College in their second year – or first year if they are active grown ups who want to speed up their studies. And yea, we definitely need to find versatile ways and use different methods to make studies more interesting and practical for our students.

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    2. One of the things I like about this Pop Up College is that it takes students out of the classroom into the “real life”. That is something we could (at least try to) do much more at the university as well. Based on what you have told me, you are already doing a lot to make studies interesting, practical and versatile for your students, so keep up the good work!

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