Learning about issues we have never considered before through debate …

(guest bloggers: Kristine, Malva and Felicia)

img_0547Over this past weekend, we had the opportunity to attend a Pro-Am BP debating tournament at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia. We traveled there as representatives of VRGD but also in conjunction with the Stockholm Debating Society, the largest BP debate society in Sweden. This tournament required no previous experience in debate, BP or otherwise, and allowed both novice and experienced debaters to develop and test their abilities in a fun and challenging way. This was our first BP tournament and for some of us our first BP debates.

The tournament consisted of four rounds and a final, lasting from eleven in the morning until nine in the evening. We debated a range of thought-provoking topics. Some were img_0536relatively serious and topical, for example, whether the media should fact-check politician’s claims, whether the negative attitudes towards gold diggers are justified or not, and whether Baltic governments should incentivise a brain-drain from Belarus. But also some more lighthearted motions such as whether or not the wizarding society should remain secret from muggles. During the final, four all-Swedish teams locked horns over whether the liberal parties of Europe should abandon their pro-immigration attitudes.

Tackling these motions with international teams was not only fun but eye-opening. Debate often requires you to divorce yourself from your own opinions and develops genuine humility for them. During the Belarus Brain-Drain debate the difficulty of this became quite clear. The largest proportion of debaters came from the Baltic states, and others were Belarusian – the result was unfortunately several uncomfortable debates with img_0525xenophobic undertones. Although debate can be less-than-perfect at times, it’s really an incredibly rewarding and fun experience. You think and learn about issues that you might never have considered before, you meet loads of new and interesting people, and you improve your argumentation and speaking skills rapidly.

Our former VRG Debating Society President and VRGD alumni Alexander Käll also
participated in the tournament, making it to the finals and winning the prize for Best Novice Speaker at the event. Furthermore, our very own Malva Dahlqvist did exceptionally well at this tournament, despite her novice status. She won 2/4 of her debates and came second in one, thereby earning the position of 5th best novice speaker and 12th best speaker overall. There were 66 speakers at this tournament, many of whom had been debating and winning tournaments for years, making this an incredible achievement and something that we take great pride in. Kristine and Felicia also exceeded expectations and were able to provide even the experienced speakers with engaging and challenging debates.14633172_993710310737467_677464559826806313_o-jpg

Debating against people from all over Europe and of different skill levels has been an incredibly humbling and fulfilling experience. It was an example of how debate is for everyone.  Therefore, we encourage all students to join us at our own debating society at Viktor Rydberg Djursholm and join us at the various tournaments Europe has to offer.

Everyone is welcome to join our debate committee – find us on our Facebook page VRG Debating Society (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1506232512967584/) or email


Posted in active learning, English, international, students, vrg info | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

We’ve been #benchlearning about Innovative Learning Environments in Denmark

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In early October, all of the VRG Djusholm teachers traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to think about and discuss how to create innovative learning environments (ILE).  Through literature studies, school visits and disciplined dialogue in cross-curricular teacher teams, we were able to invest quality time into thinking about how can we develop ILE back at VRG.

To prepare, we reviewed the OECD 2010 report- The Nature of Learning where the seven principles of learning are defined.  We also went on to read and discuss the definition of a learning environment.  We define learning environment as flexible, informal and formal, bricks and mortar and online, individual or group.  We agreed that learning can and often does extend far beyond the traditional classroom.

Then, we went on to study the OECD 2013 report- Innovative Learning Environments.  In this report through a study of more than 40 case studies, specific characteristics of ILE were identified:


  1. Rethinking core elements of learning – who is the learner?  who is the teacher?  how does technology impact the content and resources we use?  how do we use time efficiently/effectively?
  2. ILE are often found in formative organizations – organizations that are continually reviewing their processes and their results to inform further development.
  3. Utilize outside resources in higher education, community connections and the “real world” around them to enrich the student’s learning
  4. Maintain a focus on the 7 principles of learning, that all aspects should be present not just some.

Then, in groups of two or four teachers, we visited 10 different schools in the greater

Copenhagen area to look for these characteristics.  Each with their own situation, their own organizational structure, their own facilities, their own teachers, their own philosophy … we saw a wide variety of different approaches.  We observed many interesting examples of how to use instructional space, how to organize groups and how to motivate students. The students, teachers and school leaders we met were obviously proud of their school and eager to share their experiences.

Now, as we return back to VRG, we will sort through our observations, img_8286reflect together on what we have observed, write feedback to the schools we visited and then begin to debate what aspects should we begin to study further.  During the second quarter of school, we will work in study circles to dig deeper and better understand ILE.  Maintaining a focus on our yearlong goals, we will study how we can build ILE in blended learning lessons and as we develop our program teams.  We bring our collective experiences from this professional development trip with us to better inform our work.

img_6977Of course, during this visit, we also had time for walking tours of the city, team building, and typical Danish dinners.  As a part of our three-year professional development cycle, our staff travels as a group to learn together and to build community. Both of which are key in becoming an even better school here at home.




Posted in active learning, international, staff, vrg info | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Students leading students … committee life @VRG

Last Tuesday, VRG student committees manned info tables throughout HB.  Their mission was to show all students which committees were available at VRG.  Via our student association (elevkår), student-led committees offer all students the opportunity to get involved in extra-curricular activities.  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Committees vary in focus and size, but all have started with a specified interest from students for students.  School is more than classroom learning.  Students should learn and practice democratic ideas.  Leading themselves in student committees offers students the chance to realize this ambitious goal.

At VRG, we believe this is an important forum for authentic learning.  We are happy to support many different student groups.  Here are the 2016-17 student committees:

VRG Debating Society
VRG Radiostation
Financial VRG
Motor racing committee
VRG School newspaper
VRG School Sports
Ping-pong committee
Environment awareness – Green Flag
Viktor Rydbergs Feminists
Smoothie 4 Change
Traditions committee
Rowing committee
Community Outreach Committee VRG
College Prep Study Group
Astronomy committee
Grill committee
Stocks committee
Tennis committee

This week, students will hold their first open meeting where they begin to decide what their goals will be and how they will work.

Students leading students …. authentic learning.

Posted in active learning, leadership, students, vrg info | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comparing theory to real (working) life … mentor companies make it possible



VRG Economy program vision – EK2020

On Thursday, September 22, VRG welcomed 15 new mentor companies to school to meet their year 2 Economy students.  As defined in our vision for the Economy program, we want our students to have authentic and relevant learning experiences.  When we studied our classroom practices, we realized this was one area we could achieve more if we pushed students to go “out” and “see” what really happens when theories are applied in real world environments.


img_0088This is the second year, we welcome Mentor Companies to school to be paired with students in year 2.  Throughout their studies in year 2 and 3 , students will study, visit, investigate, observe and report on their mentor company.  By developing a genuine relationship with the company, students are better equipped to study the practice that relates to the applied theory.

It is no easy task to find 15 companies each year toimg_0093 accept the responsibility to be a Mentor Company.  We are lucky!  When we looked into our alumni group and our parent network and asked who would be willing, many answered.  More than half of our mentor companies have former VRG students as founders or employees.

During this “kick-off”, representatives from each company and students introduced themselves.  Then, img_0096students explained about an assignment where they have studied theories about HR and how to motivate employees.  This will be the focus of their first visit to the company.

Will the practice match theory?  We can’t wait to find out …

Thanks to our many Mentor Companies for offering our students a chance to learn more:





Posted in active learning, alumni, Economy, vrg info | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver – Economy students get started on their entrepreneurship journey

IMG_5313VRG Economy students kicked-off their diploma projects last week in an unusual way – they left school.

After a short theory introduction to the LEAN methodology, students were challenged to travel to new places in their community to investigate what type of businesses there were at that location and how hornstull.PNGtheir ideas might work in that environment.  They were challenged to “DISCOVER“.

In groups of 4, students explored business behavior in unfamiliar situations.  Students photographed interesting observations and then wrote a short reflection about their discoveries.


On day 2, Economy students traveled to Stockholm House of Innovation – Epicenterepicenter for further inspiration.  Students listened to further lectures on LEAN start-up methodology and visited this innovative hub of entrepreneurs. IMG_5418

During this visit, students were able to discover best practices by watching and listening to real entrepreneurs .

To reflect on their adventures, students gathered at our sister school, VRG Odenplan, in the afternoon for further discussions.  During this time, students began to “DEFINE” their ideas … brainstorming and debating, questioning and rethinking.

This week, students returned to school after a weekend of further thought.

When asked about their experiences they responded in this way:

(Evaluation tool:  Mentimeter – a VRG Mentor Company!)



In the next step, students will continue the process of “DEFINING” their own ideas  … specifically focusing on market needs and potential customers.

Posted in active learning, entrepreneurship, students, vrg info | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memories from Fiskeboda 2016

Each year, we travel with our year 1 students, their mentors and student guides from year 2 and 3 to Fiskeboda for an overnight team-building experience.  Through organized activities, sing-songs, walks, informal chats and lots of outdoor fun, we build the foundation of our school community.  We call it “VRG ANDA”- our school spirit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When students feel comfortable with their peers and well supported by their teachers, that is when they have the best chance to succeed.  This is just one of the many activities we do during the school year to build #VRGANDA.


To read more about how we named our school spirit, VRG ANDA, read here>>

Or, see our instagram feed #vrganda.



Posted in active learning, staff, students, vrg info | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Year 2 students building the skills needed to “Seize the Day”

carpediem.jpgDuring our start of school two-day project, Seize the Day/Fånga Livet, students in year 2 listened and learned about skills needed to find “balance.”  To be able to Seize the Day, characteristics like grit, courage, curiosity, openness, diversity, honesty, leadership and understanding are important.  VRG welcomed many guests to school to share their experiences.annette lindell


Annette Lindell from Trygg i Danderyd spoke about how we meet and treat the people around us and our collective responsibility to building a safe environment for all.


Students took a Pilates course from Caroline Ponzoni.  Through Pilates, students used physical activity as a method to manage stress.



Bonnie and Cornelia from TryggaBarnen spoke about what it is like for children who grow up with family members suffering from substance abuse.  Their personal stories left a lasting impression.



Former VRG Djursholm student, Matilda Persson, shared her experiences from the time she left VRG until today – travels, studies, career and more.  Although she works for Åhlens today as a Consignment Controller, her life path has sailed over many waves.sofie

Sofie Bodén, VRG Jarlaplan alumni,
shared her travel experiences emphasizing that you learn something every day, everywhere you go if you are open to new ideas.

Hearing the many different lectures inspired students to “think outside the box” and consider alternative paths to the end goal.

We were reminded that no matter what the goal … “balance” is key when you set out to Seize the Day.




Posted in active learning, alumni, students, syv, vrg info | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“Grej” of the Mentor Day

Natural Science students in year 2 have started an inspiring activity in their mentor time.

“Grej” of the Mentor Day

Each week, when students gather for their mentor time, an individual in the group will share a short clip, article or exciting idea related to science and/or learning.

First up was:  Does Exercise Enhance Creativity?

Students watched this clip:

Then, they took a long “walk and talk” to the seaside near our school to get-to-know their classmates better.

Great use of informal learning time!

Thanks, Markus & Anna for sharing

Posted in active learning, students, vrg info | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Former VRG student builds program to recognize great teachers

Beata Kull (VRGD alum 2014) decided to do something that recognized the great work of teachers.  She created Kunskapens väg and #Lärargalan.

Lärargalan is a program that allows students to nominate their most inspiring teachers for recognition for their hard work.  After the many nominations are collected, a professional panel of judges choose the most deserving teachers.  All teachers are invited to a big image (7)celebration where the work of the many talented teachers in Sweden is recognized by celebrities, politicians, students, friends and peers.

VRG Djursholm is proud to have so many of our teachers nominated for this prestigious prize.  To read the testimonies of our students is inspiring:

A few examples include:

Roger Lister … sitt underhållande och lättillgängliga sätt att förklara svåra kemiska reaktioner eller biologiska samband till ett glad stämning i klassrummet och effektiv inlärning. De saker han förklarat, genom sina bildliga jämförelser, ordvitsar, animationer och kroppsspråk, de sakerna minns man för livet, vilket inte alltid kan sägas om annan teori man lär sig i skolan. Han är dessutom väldigt kunnig, har en förmåga att lyfta fram det viktiga och det intressanta inom varje ämne och tar alltid tiden att förklara om man inte förstår.

Markus Andersson … Mån om att alla elever förstår och hänger med i kursen. Håller koll på var alla elever ligger i kursmatrisen och ger extra hjälp vid behov. Erbjuder även genomgångar av prov för att se till att alla förstått momentet i kursen även efter det att momentet är avklarat. Värderar våra kunskaper högt… Brinner för sitt ämne och vill alla elevers bästa.

Sue Tennander … Hon undervisar på ett helt fantastiskt sett. Hennes lektioner är magnifika och hon motiverar elever som ingen annan.  Pratar ni med henne så finns det ingen tveka att hon kommer att få priset och nu tycka att hon är världens bästa lärare

Read all of the motivations, here>>

We are also proud of our alum, Beata – well done!

Posted in alumni, staff, students, vrg info | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Graduates left words of advice for incoming year 1 students …

FullSizeRender (18)
Last year’s graduates left encouraging words of advice and tips about what they should think about to be able to learn as much as possible in Swedish class during high school.
We talk a lot about #vrgspirit at our school.  This is one example of how students can help each other.  They can use each other as a resource even  between classes.

De förra treorna ger ettorna uppmuntrande kommentarer och tips om vad de bör tänka på för att lära sig så mycket som möjligt i svenskämnet på gymnasiet. Ett exempel på hur eleverna kan använda varandra som resurs även mellan årskullarna.
“Kom ihåg att det du lär dig i svenskan kommer du att ha nytta av i resten av livet”
“Lyssna på all feedback”
“Våga fråga!”
“Se till att planera in tid för att korrekturläsa”
“Svenska är viktigt eftersom att du har användning för det inom alla yrken!”
“Tänk på att läsa igenom uppgiftsinstruktionerna noggrant!”
“Läs alltid igenom era verk noga innan ni lämnar in”
“Försök att lära dig ditt tal utantill när du ska framföra muntligt”
“Ta vara på den feed-back du får”
“Tänk på att göra alla uppgifter och lämna in dem i tid”
“Svenska är viktigt eftersom att du kommer att ha användning för det i resten av ditt liv. Inom yrken, när man håller föredrag eller ska skriva en rapport. Eller när du ska hålla tal på t.ex. ett bröllop.”
“Tänk på att titta på kursmatrisen kontinuerligt.”
Posted in alumni, students, swedish | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment