Back to school! The German way.
Trip Start Aug 27, 2013
31Trip End Dec 19, 2013
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In Germany, children start Kindergarten at age 6, which is the same principle as the reception year in the UK. They then go to a primary school, a high school then gymnasium (similar to college) if they pass their exams at 16.
The school I visited I would say was equivalent to a middle school in the UK. Having only been open for a year there is only around 100 pupils in the school at the moment with the oldest pupils being 13. I was asked to talk to the children in 4 different English classes, answer their questions they had prepared about life in England and help them out with some of their worksheets.
They asked me the simple things like "what football team do you support?" and "where do you live?" For anyone who has tried to explain where Uttoxeter or even Denstone is, you will know how difficult a task this is, so I usually just say Manchester, it's easier! I also got the typical English person questions like "have you met the queen?" Unfortunately not but they seemed semi-impressed that I had met Prince Phillip. Non of the children in Germany wear school uniform and after telling them about strict uniform policies in England they seemed very pleased to be going to school in Germany.
All the teachers were very keen for me to help the children with their work. However even though clearly I speak fluent English, when your teaching it you begin to doubt yourself! Do you ride a jet ski or do you drive a jet ski? Not that it matters but its tricky when you want to teach them properly. Teaching language in Germany is pretty much the same as in England. You get the silly books with stereotypical phrases, audio exercises, fill in the blanks, that type of thing. But for me this never seemed to work for me when I was attempting to learn French/Spanish. But here it seems to work. I think its the emphasis that is placed on learning another language, especially English, on the children which makes the difference. So maybe that's were the British are going wrong, we assume that everyone will speak English so we don't emphasis the importance of learning another language.
Come lesson 5 I was shattered, getting up at 5:40 everyday would really take its toll. I had a great day seeing how the German school worked and the teachers really want me to come back and help again. This really makes my decision whether to do a PGCE difficult though, as I was sure before I came here that I wouldn't and now I am left confused again. I need life advice!