“Letting go of our control as teachers sometimes can lead to better learning.” – Mette Hauch, Denmark

When Mette Hauch’s 7th grade students at Hellerup School in Denmark struggled with respecting boundaries and personal limits online, she didn’t give them a lecture or sit them down to discuss their behavior. She made them teachers.

The TeenTeachers project turned over control to Hauch’s 68 students by dividing them into five groups over seven full days that included one intro day, five work days, and one day of teaching 5th and 6th graders.

By project’s end, each team had to produce a newspaper article featuring interviews with two people who have had experience with bullying (one person under 30 years old, and one over 50.) They also produced a print and video anti-bullying campaign. Both the article and the campaign had to be used in a 90-minute lesson to their younger schoolmates. Teams were assigned a mentor/coach who they kept in touch with throughout the week, but the teens were fully in charge of their own schedules. Teams could work at school or at home – it was entirely up to them.“The project has three main focuses,” says Hauch, “awareness of online behavior, collaboration and peer-to-peer teaching.”

And did it work? “This project has been very successful in terms of student outcomes,” says Hauch. “Letting go of our control as teachers sometimes can lead to better learning. Peer-to-peer coaching creates more interested and motivated students. And if the students can act as experts instead of being the ones who have to sit and listen, it’s my experience that the ownership rises as well as the student outcomes.”

Hauch is no stranger to using innovative projects to motivate her students. She and Martin Ryum won first place in the Collaboration category at the 2015 Global Forum. And as a 2015 Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, we expect to hear and see a lot more from Hauch in the years to come. 

What inspired you to become an educator?
My story about how I became a teacher is a little different. I was working as a chef in 2001 and was looking to do something else and when my best friend, Helle, told me how great the parties were at Teachers college, I decided to apply, got accepted and miraculously I landed on the right shelf and haven’t regretted one day!

What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?

When Martin Ryum and I won first prize in the Collaboration category at the 2010 Global Forum in Cape Town, I was proud. The project was called ”Teacher Leave Them Kids Alone.”  That has had a great impact on the way I have evolved as an educator and I have since then been a big fan of 21st century learning skills. 

But most important, every time I see the look in a student’s eye that shows they “get it” (have a breakthrough), then I´m proud. It´s the small victories.

My latest proud moment has been seeing my 21st student taskforce presenting 21st century learning design to school leaders, teachers and other people in education about the importance of working with visible 21st. They rock!

Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?

Because it sets us free in a sense. The students can be more free and can work anywhere, any time. But we also have to make very visible frames for their work/projects/learning because we are the ones in charge. I love to use the learners as experts when it comes to technology. I’m a strong believer in peer-to-peer coaching. My 21st task force spent a day during their summer holiday teaching us (their teachers) about 21st century learning solutions and how Office 365 supports that. I’m very proud of that! They have been to several conferences and been talking to ICT teachers, school leaders and all sorts of people in the education world about what 21st century learning looks like through the eyes of teenagers. Now that’s real world problem solving (for real)! That’s very educating and I strongly encourage others to get help from their students to spread the word.

What’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?

We are going through reforms in the school area in Denmark at the moment. And I worry about the freedom and time to make “mistakes” and getting back up again. We learn when we go through obstacles as teachers, and the time to self-regulate is crucial for making a difference in education. Reforms make time for proper preparation for teachers very difficult and that’s not a good path if you ask me. Good teaching needs to be prepared properly!

What are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for today’s students?

That I have so many inspiring colleagues all over the world. I’m excited to see what the 2015 Microsoft Innovative Education Experts will bring us from great minds in education! I’m proud to be among them!

They are great collaborators and very aware of their own learning process if given the opportunity to try it out in a structured framework. And that’s why it’s such a great thing to show them the 21st century learning design rubrics so they can be aware of how to make progress in skills other than just measurable things in traditional tests.

Voice: Mette Hauch
Teacher and Digital Learning Consultant
Hellerup School
Copenhagen, Denmark


  • Birthplace: Roedding, a small town in Southern Jutland, Denmark
  • Educational background: Chef’s academy and teachers college
  • Website I check every day: Twitter, Facebook,
  • Favorite book: The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: OneDrive, Office Mix
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? “Don’t ever forget that you’re rock ‘n roll.” My very dear friend and colleague, Martin Ryum, has said that to me. And whenever I’m in doubt about anything I remember his words.



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One Response to “Letting go of our control as teachers sometimes can lead to better learning.” – Mette Hauch, Denmark

  1. Bela Sethi says:

    It is very interesting to see a school where students are not confined to the walls of a room. I must mention here that in the olden age in our country the children were handed over to their teacher as a kid. The teacher taught them the skills of life taking inspiration from the nature. There were no formal class rooms or teaching classes. Well indeed our country produced great scholars , warriors and leaders.
    I personally feel the students give their best performance when they are made fully resposible for the job they are on. Mette I really enjoyed to learn your way of tackling the kids. I agree that we many atimes have to let go the teacher in us to bring the best out of our kids

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