INERISAAVIK: A New
Director of Inerisaavik
The latest educational political intentions in Greenland to
establish a modern school system with internationally competitive
academic standards has resulted in the establishment of a centre
where specialists and educators can combine their efforts, and
thereby contribute to the development of new teaching methods and
practices through various additions and expansions in the public
schools. This centre has received a Greenlandic name: INERISAAVIK.
Translated directly into English it means a place where maturity and
growth take place. Inerisaavik's English title is: Centre for
pedagogical development and in service training of teachers.
From a historical point of view, institutions such as Inerisaavik
were first developed during the last half of this century. The
establishment of development centres is based on the fact that
society's development and educational development must coincide if
the national educational system is to work towards greater social
The establishment of Inerisaavik is linked with the adoption of
the new public school act in Greenland. Inerisaavik's main objectives
will be to contribute to the fulfillment of the act's educational
goals and to insure that teaching methods and practices will continue
to develop in accordance with the development of society.
Inerisaavik officially opened in 1st August, 1991, and is located
on the second floor of Pilersuiffik, an institution under the
Greenland Home Rule administration. Pilersuiffik's main task is to
distribute information on educational materials, but its function
also includes producing and distributing such products throughout the
educational system in Greenland. Pilersuiffik also undertakes the
printing and distributing of Home Rule Legislation, and the promotion
and distribution of entertainment movies. In connection with the
establishment of Inerisaavik, Pilersuiffik has been expanded with the
addition of a pedagogical superstructure, and Pilersuiffik comes
under the administrative jurisdiction of Inerisaavik's director.
In order to determine Inerisaavik's aims, administration,
organization and function, the Department of Culture, Education and
Research held a seminar in the spring of 1991. Representatives from
the specialist organizations, the public school system, the
Department, Ilinniarfissuaq (teachers college) and Pilersuiffik
participated in the seminar. As a result of the seminar, the
following functions were determined for Inerisaavik:
- the development of educational methods for the benefit of the
individual teacher and student; ¥ the implementation of
developmental projects in the individual school;
- the development and testing of new educational material;
- applied research;
- the development of curricula;
- the preparation of educational guides for the various public
- the coordination, planning, implementation and evaluation of
in service courses and further training for all educators and
leaders in the public school system.
During the seminar, it was also decided that in a next few years
time Inerisaavik will be working on similar projects within
In order to acquire a general idea of Inerisaavik's functions and
establish effective courses of action, it would be useful to set up
two different development models. The first model shown here, is one
that has been copied by development centres worldwide. It uses
research-based strategies for innovation:
- FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH
- EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
- EVALUATION OF THE SCHOOL'S TEACHING METHODS AND PRACTICES
- CLASSROOM EXPERIMENTS
- FIELD PROJECTS
- DEMONSTRATION AND DISPERSAL
- USUAL SCHOOL PRACTICE
This development model indicates that development in modern times,
as a rule, begins with research, and that research, as a rule,
influences daily teaching. But one must be aware of the fact that the
development of a school takes many years and involves large areas of
society. This research-based development model has been applied in
particular in complex societies such as the Anglo-Saxon countries. It
has been widely accepted, especially in the United States.
The second development model is based on modifications which occur
in legislation within the national educational system. The model
consists of the following levels:
- REFORM. The Education Act is altered, new decisions are
- CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT. New and better curricula are compiled.
- PEDAGOGICAL DEVELOPMENT WORK. Legislative power earmarks
economic means for the development of the school and of daily
teaching. The goal is to improve the teaching content and methods.
- ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT. The school is organized in such a
way that it is capable of solving its own problems. The school
becomes capable of developing its own in practice improvements in
environment, leadership and classroom.
- SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT. 1-4 result in the development of each
The development model last-mentioned has been especially applied
in smaller countries, where the population is a relatively
homogeneous body. Development of the public school in the Nordic
(Scandinavian) countries-Greenland included-has primarily progressed
by this model.
If one wishes to have a look at Inerisaavik's activities, either
of the two distinct development models can be considered
independently of each other, although this wouldn't be suitable in
this case; rather, to consider them in relation to each other will
give a combined and meaningful accession of Inerisaavik's future
scope of activity.
According to the first development model, Inerisaavik must work
with the newest research in mind. We must be research orientated. We
must have our feelers out, see how other countries solve their
teaching problems, see if we can utilize their knowledge, methods and
experiences in our circumstances. Through cooperation with the
teachers, general knowledge, methods and experience can be utilized
for the benefit of the individual teacher's daily teaching. In order
to accomplish that part of Inerisaavik's tasks, it is necessary that
subject specialist consultants continually evaluate the school's
teaching practices and participate in international and circumpolar
development endeavours in regard to development of their subject.
The next development model shows that Inerisaavik's efforts must
be based upon the reforms that the country's politicians have adopted
through legislative work. Inerisaavik must contribute to the
continual development of curricula and educational guides.
Inerisaavik must also contribute to the development of the school as
an organization, so that more suitable cooperation patterns are
created for the benefit of the daily teaching. It is more important
that the school continues to be a pleasant place for the management,
the teachers and the students alike; at the same time, the school
must be a place where learning takes place.
Inerisaavik's activities will be arranged according to the two
different development models. Viewing Inerisaavik's future activities
from the first or Anglo-Saxon development model, there is an
extensive values research project in progress. This research project
is being executed by two researchers from the Royal School of
Education in Copenhagen, Denmark. Their research report will be
concluded this winter, and Inerisaavik will publish the report
through Pilersuiffik. It is the intention that the research report
will be followed up by a working document, so that the research
results-through course activities-can become useable tools in the
teacher's daily teaching.
Besides undertaking initiatives within the research field, subject
specialist consultants will, through their own participation in
courses and seminars, contribute towards the creation of a better
approach to the teaching of their subjects in schools. The
consultants' participation in courses and seminars together with
their subject specialist commitment will be expected to influence
Inerisaavik's course programme in a positive manner. During the
courses, there will be the opportunity to explicate some aspects of
the subject and the teaching thereof, and thereby arrange them in
correlation to teaching. It is important that the courses are useful
practically and thereby relevant to teachers.
Viewing Inerisaavik's task from the Nordic (Scandinavian)
development model, it is to contribute towards the implementation of
the reforms. Reforms presuppose further training of teachers. The new
public school ordinance presupposes course- and further training
activities for teachers. From long experience, it is known that
further training of teachers is one of the determining prerequisites
for the establishment of reform.
In connection with the establishment of Inerisaavik, means have
been set aside towards course activities for teachers. Inerisaavik
has, in cooperation with the Department of Culture, Education and
Research, and Ilinniarfissuaq (the teachers college) produced a
curriculum for the 92/93 school year. It is intended that the
Department, Ilinniarfissuaq and Inerisaavik, will prepare a common
course programme for all heads and teachers in the public school from
the 93/94 school year and onwards. Inerisaavik's course programme for
the 1992/93 school year isn't so extensive, but in 1993/94 the course
programme and Inerisaavik's remaining activities will be directed
towards the integration of Greenlandic and Danish speaking students.
The linguistic integration that will, already be carried out in
some schools in the years 1991/92/93, will be followed with keen
interest by subject specialist consultants in order to gather
experience data which will benefit all schools when integration is
introduced in all schools in the 1994/95 school year.
For the management of Inerisaavik, a steering group has been
designated with the following composition: the director of the
Department of Culture, Education and Research (chairman), the
director of the Department's public school region, the head of
Ilinniarfissuaq plus the director of Inerisaavik.
Five positions are prescribed for Inerisaavik, a director and 4
subject specialist consultants.
The subject specialist consultants that have been employed are all
prominent figures in the public school system. Each has worked
especially with their subject within various areas of developmental
growth in the public school:
Specialist consultant for Greenlandic is Hans Anthon Lynge. In
addition to his activities as consultant within the realm of the
Department, Hans Anthon Lynge is well-known for his commitment to his
work as chairman of the Greenlandic Society of Authors, as well as
his membership of various boards of directors and committees.
Inerisaavik and the public school system will benefit greatly from
Hans Anthon's specialist expertise and linguistic creativity.
Louise Richter has been hired as the subject specialist consultant
for arithmetic/mathematics. Louise brings with her many good and
useful experiences from within the arithmetic/mathematics area.
Through her commitment for the subject's development in the public
school, she has acquired a very prominent central role within her
subject. Louise has among other things worked on the development of
Greenlandic materials in arithmetic/mathematics and has been an
energetic member of the examination board for several years.
The consultant for foreign languages (Greenlandic, Danish and
English as second language) is Lars Wind. Lars has worked in the past
as a university instructor, in-service training instructor and
consultant in the public school system. Lars has a Master of Arts
degree in Eskimo linguistics and has worked for many years in foreign
language teaching at a practical as well as at a theoretical level.
Inerisaavik's and the public school's expectations are that they will
benefit greatly from Lars' wide knowledge within linguistics and
linguistic teaching, not least when integration is fully implemented
Flemming Madsen is employed as the subject specialist consultant
for Science and Social Studies. Flemming is working on the
development of teaching materials in Greenlandic. He has also
designed an in-service training programme for teachers in Science and
Social Studies, and is involved in curriculum development within