Practitioners' note: Life stories

This piece elaborates on the term motivation in the special educational setting of an international folk high school and how a method evolved and developed through many years called ‘Life stories’ seeks to engage students in creating a caring community.

‘Togetherness’ is not a term that fully covers the Danish terms of ‘samvær’ (fellowship) and ‘fællesskab’ (community), but it captures the essence of what these concepts are seeking to achieve. Within the walls of a folk high school we seek to create caring communities that not only function on a practical level, but also on a social and emotional level. Communities where individuals are seen holistically, and not only in terms of educational capacity. Being an educator at a folk high school involves treading beyond one’s usual teaching remit in class, and beyond curriculum standards. It is arguably this ability to teach the whole person, to have time and space to know the whole person, that gives the folk high school some of its greatest strengths.