What Does SDE Look Like?


We’re standing in a door between two rooms, in one of the rooms there are lots of tools, artwork is lying around, an old manual printing press is standing in one corner. From the other room we hear guitars, young people laughing and giggling, someone is playing with a longboard.

The two teenagers and I talk about how to say it if you don’t want to be hugged. One of them gives examples, saying she loves hugging people, at the same time she finds it hard to tell someone she’d rather not get a hug, because she doesn’t want to hurt anybody.

We continue the conversation as two younger girls join us. The older girl now talks about how she has a friend that she likes a lot, but he doesn’t like hugs so much, so she had to learn to respect that. The younger girls sit there and listen for quite a while.

We speak about how to visualize these kinds of situations concerning consent, if one were to make make a movie about the topic (which is what I’m currently doing). One of the young girls starts telling us about how important it is to visualize and not just have interviews in movies and tells us about the film about horses she watched the other day, and why she didn’t like how the man presented the topic. We all listen to her detailed explanations of how she would have done it differently.

 The older girl leaves, the rest of us suddenly discover a drawing that someone had left on the table: A ship that’s being destroyed by a kraken, a squid, an octopus?

 While one girl starts copying the picture, another one, who just joined us, starts googling the differences between the species. We talk about giant squid and find crazy images online, so we start wondering how to know which images are fake and which ones are real?

 Meanwhile the youngest girl starts her own research on a laptop she found nearby, asking us questions about great white sharks, like “How fast do you think they can swim?” I say: “hm… maybe 50 kilometres an hour?” She looks at the laptop, says “…. can you say that in kmh?” So I say that that stands for kilometres an hour…

It goes on and on and on. The whole day, every interaction, learning is happening. Spending a day at a self-directed learning environment from time to time gives me so much motivation and so much trust, and I’m learning so many new things every time I go (Great white sharks swim 56 km/h, the first giant squid was filmed in 2004, it was approximately 8 meters long )

All of the things mentioned above happened within 30 minutes. Imagine all the things that happen in one day, one week!