German Schools

(664 Posts)
finknottle Fri 15-Feb-08 10:09:03

Get it off your chest wink

There are, as anywhere, good and bad aspects to the school system.

So if you want advice, help or an embittered rant - feel free.

On a postive note - anyone see the thread on Primary about security? I've just taken dd to kg and on the way back wanted to drop off a school library book ds2 has had since before Christmas and forgot again.
All I did is walk in, went to his classroom and left it on his PE kit so he'll see it at break.

No one worries unduly about security here. The caretaker has an office (all glass) outside the main building but he's rarely in it.

Is it only village schools? Looks so odd to me to have a school "locked down".

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:52:19

yes, I'd just stick a stamped addressed envelope and a note: Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, bitte um Rücksendung der am ?.2.2008 eingereichten Unterlagen: 1) Gymnasialempfehlung 2)Schulzeugnis. Im voraus vielen Dank . If you want it in a hurry might be quicker to go and get it but understand your reluctance.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:53:10

SEND not stick obviously. Can't type anythign coherent today

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:55:04

or you could do the "ich wäre Ihnen sehr verbunden" thing if you prefer. Send me anything you like.

admylin Mon 18-Feb-08 11:56:52

No , absoloutly no hurry! Will send an envelope and hope they haven't binned it all. She shouldn't have kept th ereport, she took it (2 pages) to photocopy and only gave me one back which I only noticed at the Ubahn and couldn't go back for it as had to pick ds up.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 19:29:28

Think I'm having problems seperating school from the other thread but I'm working on it. Hope you get it back then but should think your primary school would be able to give you a copy if the gymnasium lost it.

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 08:31:45

been reading the Spiegel article on the Schnellabi "Hausaufgaben bis zum Abendbrot, Vokabeln pauken am Wochenende" and I'm wondering if this is just the way school is these days or if it is really necessary.

This in combination with a Russian family I visited yesterday and just the amount of extra work their 9 year old is expected to do and does do on top of his primary school homework. I'm not sure whether you have to accept this is what school is all about or if it is fundamentally wrong and you need to consciously not go down that track. What do you all think?

I'm also wondering if they really need all this adult knowledge they seem to be acquiring at primary school age these days (outside of school) - they all know all about dinasours, cave men, how planes fly, how a vacuum cleaner operates, all about the weather, space travel etc etc. Dd is the same she'll tell you about Hebrew, about ancient China, about the Samurai and the Middle Ages. I didn't know all this stuff at the age of 7 and I don't know if they do need to know it.

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 09:02:19

Morning sandy,
yes I was thinking exactly the same thing. We didn't have to sit and study like that in primary school and we got through our schooling without extra hours and 5 different languages learned in our free time! I didn't even have much to do to get my O'levels and the A'levels weren't that much hard work - I did all the course work (just didn't hang around to sit the exams, how I regret but that's another tale to tell!)

When you see how hard the Abi is and all the learning and work they do it seems as if the Abi should be the super elite qualification to have and every uni in the world should be begging you to join them. Somehow doesn't work that way I think!

finknottle Tue 19-Feb-08 11:19:51

Difference between wanting to know and needing to know - makes me sound like Sir Humphrey grin
Ds2's been doing animals in science, hibernation, really quite encyclopaedic in detail about habitat, mating, food, length of ears etc. I mentioned it was quite interesting reading about one or other and he said all he could think of was what a lot there'll be to learn for the test. Because after each topic there's a test... And a Note. He's 8 years old and after loving the electricity topic but messing up his circuit board diagram (one question wrong and his mark went from a 1- to a 3 hmm ) all he thinks about it how "rubbish" he is at science sad And nothing I can say changes that because only 1s and 2s are the good marks hmm
<bangs head on desk>

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 11:40:47

Is it the same everywhere now though - that you're constantly being tested at the age of 3 and being given grades all the time? Can't remember this from my own school-days but that's so long ago, maybe I have just chosen to forget it!

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 11:41:56

They sound like good, interesting topics at least. Shame if the testing takes the pleasure out of the learning though. Don't know if it's really necessary at the age of 8

finknottle Tue 19-Feb-08 11:55:12

They are interesting but there's little fun in learning when every 3-week topic cycle is building up to the Test. And the Note. And your average Note goes on your Zeugnis and if you don't get solid 1s or 2s you .... know where this is going?
It's deflating him and I had hoped he'd be more resilient sad He's more and more in tears these days about school.
Am off to cook him some Chinese for lunch to cheer him up.

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:01:53

oh the poor lad
He really shouldn't have to be in tears about it FGS. I am really hating the idea of year 3 and all these tests and grades. Wondering if this is similar to the stress that is causing admylin's dd's head-aches.

I am still feeling a bit shock and well, let's be honest, INADEQUATE after spending time with that Russian family last night. I just didn't know if I had to give myself a massive jolt and jump into all this swotting and cramming. Actually I still don't know. If it is the system in secondary, I suppose the primary testing is good (?) preparation for that and maybe you do need to constantly work with them to get them into the swotting/testing mode otherwise they'd fall apart in secondary.

I would rather live in a caravan and travel through Montenegro or something though. I really would.

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 12:14:41

I think all this stress about getting 1's or 2's is getting to my dd. I mean it's getting to me and I'm constantly worried even though I don't show it to dd, so what must be going on in her head. There are some mums in dd's class who get their dc hiped up before a test - and the dc are sitting shaking and in fear on the day of the results. I find that really extreme, another girl's mum told me she didn't dare mention anything to her dd about the upcoming test as it would trigger of a headache straight away. They are all only 8 years old.

I hope if we make it to the US that the schooling will be a bit more relaxed (see me still living in hope )

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 12:17:08

Finknottle, talk about killing their will to learn - you would think the teachers would know that. I know my niece in UK went through all sorts of topics and subjects without that sort of stress and those SAT things they all do didn't seem to bother either of my nieces, it was just a day of tests once a year but with no revision or worrying.

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:18:36

do you think it is different in other countries though admylin. I honestly don't know

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:20:06

oops sorry crossed posts adymlin. So you think this is a specifically German thing then?

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 12:28:50

No maybe not Germany as it sounds like some dc have a fair bit of stress going by MN in the UK too but that could just be the ones trying to get into 'certain schools'. My nieces are getting a very good education in a small town without the stress and the O'level results at the higher school are among the best in the country so the teachers are obviously doing something right. It's teh same school I went to and it's always been good.

I'm still shocked at the state of that Gymnasium I visited - it was disgusting. I thought our primary was a mess because they can't afford to have cleaners in very often. I only have my nieces primary and my old school to compare but it's all clean and nicely kept. The state of the Berlin primary really depressed ds when we first came here.

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 10:27:31

Think my poor ds2 is struggling at school atm because he lacks:
confidence
German - yesterday had a test back where he hadn't understood "Gelehrte" but would have understood "Lehrer" and didn't get another word I can't remember for religious building when he would have got "Gebaeude" or "Ort". He's too shy/embarrassed to put his hand up and ask. He didn't know they'd have a test as he was off sick and he hadn't even got the worksheets so all of it was new.

Think he sits in the lessons and he does (as the teacher tells them to) ask his neighbour but the children don't necessarily explain well or fully and then he sits there in a fog embarrassed to ask again. So he comes home with unfinished Schuluebeungen he has to finish before homework and when I say "It's X, isn't it?" in English, lightbulbs go on and the work is done.
Thought of this when someone mentioned the perfectionist thing on the other thread. If he doesn't get it right away, he blocks himself somehow and with his language barrier - he's sinking fast. The pace is so fast and the teacher told me she knows he needs a bit more help but she doesn't have time hmm

Actually, she started our meeting by saying, "What do you want to complain about?" shock Then backtracked quickly. I know she's inexperienced and getting it in the neck from lots of parents but that doesn't help me or ds2. She basically said, here is a bright pupil (eigentlich sollte er ein guter 2 sein, geht auch in Richtung 1" but he's sliding to 3s) who should be getting better results but needs a bit more attention which she won't/can't give him. I started by asking how I/we at home could help - wasn't accusatory or critical but am fed sad up sad
We can't spend 5 hours a day going over all his school work - maybe we should?

berolina Wed 20-Feb-08 10:40:06

oh finky isn't it dreadful, this every-man-for-himself attitude! Poor lad. And I shudder at this tyranny of 1s nd 2s and bloody 3s. It's partly all this attitude of 'wir sind hier zum Stoff vermitteln' and never mind vermittling joy in learning or - shock horror - any of those pesky pastoral issues. What is he, Y3? Sorry, can't remember.

I think it would be unfortunate to make all his time at home about going over schoolwork. I wonder if you could suggest they get an English-speaking Assistent/in in to be there for him, but also do some English stuff for and with the whole class? Of course, that's quite ambitious.

But I think in the final analysis it is the teacher's responsibility to make sure all her pupils are accessing the curriculum, never mind how culturally entrenched it is to allow individuals to be left behind Might it be worth taking this up a level?

admylin Wed 20-Feb-08 10:44:19

I know how you feel. Ds is starting with the same problems. He also didn't understand gelehrte last year I remember and i'm sure there are other words and definately I see some of the corrections and think of course, it should be written like that but I didn't notice it was wrong because I'm not German.

Does your ds read alot? Mine does - he's just finished the 2 Eragon books (about a boy and a dragon) and he only came and asked a few words but I think he maybe just left a few things or guessed. This is a problem that is constantly worrying me, how can we help them - apart from getting a German tutor to help but as you say, when should we fit al this in - that would mean no more sport club, no chilling out afternoon, and headaches. Even ds is starting to complain of headaches and seems depressed or bordering on depressed. Does your dh help with homework or school stuff? He is German isn't he.

Anna8888 Wed 20-Feb-08 10:47:52

SSSandy2 and others - in response to your query about how things are in other countries...

I once read a piece written by an American woman about the school system in France that put words very succintly on the difference between the Anglo-Saxon and the French approach. To her, the purpose of French school was to instruct; the purpose of American or English school was to educate.

Hence the huge amount of factual information that young French children are supposed to learn by rote and regurgitate in tests, which by Anglo-Saxon standards is both immensely demanding on pupils and does little to develop their thinking skills.

Would you say that is true also of the German system?

berolina Wed 20-Feb-08 10:47:58

The thing is in Britain you could get somewhere by seeing the head and uding phrases like 'accessing the curriculum' and 'no child left behind'. Here they're often too Beamt-ish still, I fear. And often seem to see it as their job to sort out who 'deserves' to access the curriculum and who doesn't. angry

Sorry, I've seen and heard a lot, personally and professionally, since I've been in Germany, and it's quite disheartening.

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 10:50:22

The dreaded Y3, yep. And you're right, it's the attitude that pervades the whole system.
No chance in hell of any extra tuition. He was in Auslaenderfoerderdeutsch last year but that's a funding thing. This year there's no special one - no surprise as v few foreigners. He's in the normal Foerderdeutsch (I need umlauts!) but hates it as "I have to miss sport to do it." Also there are 13 pupils so how much extra attention each gets is ?

No chance of taking it higher as the head still can't look me in the eye after we clashed over ds1's SEN last year angry
I want ds2 to get into the Gesamtschule as am v impressed with it but our new one was over-subscribed this 1st year and have been tipped the nod that it'll be worse next year.

Sounding off helps. Think I will just have to go over his work in even more detail with him. And he'll have to accept that if he wants to get into the school, he'll have to try a bit harder. Yesterday he said, "I want to be as happy as ds1 is at his new school."

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 10:54:57

Rote learning & regurgitation, Anna, it is.
Even some German teachers admit there is no longer any time post-PISA to devote to pupils who need even a small amount of extra time to comprehend.
The class moves at the pace of the quickest.
All that counts is how many get into Gymnasium/grammar school aged 10. It's all performance and no focus on potential.

berolina Wed 20-Feb-08 10:56:15

Grrrrrrr for you. Poor Minifink, sounds so wistful with his 'want to be as happy as ds1' comment

Start trying to sort out the Gesamtachule now. Ruthlessly play the bilingual card. Offer your services for an English project grin grin

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