Non-formal or non-formal education can be defined as any organized educational activity outside the formal system.
This definition I found on the internet. For the Brassbandschool Rotterdam, we developed a methodology and guidelines for “non-formal learning”. When I talk passionately about this with “formal education” colleagues they have some questions and doubts. The most asked question: Is it “good” education? That’s an interesting question. What is good education?
The dictionary gives several meanings for the word “good”
useful, suitable, virtuous, honest, kind, helpful
The funny thing is that the meaning of the word “good” is much more modeled on human behavior than on rules and organization. In my view, people are really able to make their own decisions and accept the consequences. What does it matter if something does not work as you had thought. Just do it differently next time! It”s called learning. Rules seek to prevent something fails. But the fun of learning is in finding solutions, creating options and taking risks!
What everyone of course has to deal with is the acceptance of “failure”. The outside world has issued an opinion and in our whole educational system there is not much space for revised choices. We ignore that human beings are creative beings who are able to think. According to me trust in people gives us far more than trust in rules. When developed well, you learn that you can take different roles. Sometimes you”re the leader, sometimes you’re the follower. Someone who always assumes the role of leader will notice that its environment becomes passive. The true leader understands that leadership is a quality of a situation, not of a person. In a situation in which everyone takes responsibility, everyone is in motion, moving towards a common goal. A goal which is supported by the group. An achievable goal with sufficient challenge so that you need the others in the group. The group is fairly automatically structuring its environment and setting boundaries in which you will all work. Every time you change your goal you will discover that you need other boundaries to reach that goal. Make conscious choices again and again instead of walking the same route again and again. Real choices that are supported by those who have to work with it give a satisfactory outcome in the end, whatever the outcome will be.
And suddenly you cannot “fail” because you did not previously defined what you had to accomplish. I think that”s a beautiful thought! Put people first, and you always have good education, just because everyone knows something another does not know. Especially when you compose the group well. Complementary, diverse but with enough overlap to create a sense of security. The human characteristics of the definition of the word “good” are plentiful in non-formal education.
So yes, non-formal education is “good”!