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Sharing an Idea: International research trip to schools

Discussion in 'Education news' started by ValentinWieker, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. ValentinWieker

    ValentinWieker New commenter


    In the last 12 months I have visited 12 schools.

    I did this because I feel that the teachers' training in Germany (I study at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany) shows a significant lack in practically-oriented education. To me it is essential to learn about school not only from books and lectures but to visit these institutions in real life and to get to know them in all their diversity. The reason for this is that without having seen proof of working real-life examples you only have a very limited basis for discussion about how schools can be organized. I find this dangerous since we, the new generation of teachers, should engage in the development of our schools by bringing innovative ideas and youthful encouragement. If young teachers have only seen very few schools in their life and in depth only gotten to know the school they went to them selves they hardly can understand and assess schooling models that they are taught about theoretically in University!

    Recent studies have shown that teachers rather reproduce strategies that they experienced them-selves during their time as a pupil than apply what they have learned during their studies. Firstly this implicates that we as individuals barely advance in terms of being a good teacher during our time in university and I think this is because the way teacher training in university vastly ignores modern findings of neurological studies about how humans learn. We should develop a healthy, efficient and sustainable balance between theoretically and practically-oriented training. Further more the effect mentioned above is toxic to development. If everyone only reproduces what they experienced them selves change on small and large scale is impeded.

    I made very valuable experiences during my last year of visiting schools all over Germany. But instead of being satisfied I feel hungrier than ever before for discovering more schools and finding new discussion partners. After school I traveled around the world for one year and witnessed the diversity of our planet. Now I wounder what schools might be like in different parts of our world. How might culture impact the way pupils learn? Did different nations come up with different solutions to school? Does the motivation of pupils depend on the culture that they live in? What can German schools learn from schools in other parts of the globe?

    Before I knew it the idea was born: An international research trip to schools.

    I will interrupt my studies in the upcoming semester in order to travel to schools in different environments all around the world. I will spent around two to four weeks at each school and sit in on classes, observe daily school life and discuss questions with pupils, teachers, employees and principals. This will give me a broad impression of the school and in the end I will be able to compare the different schools.

    To me it is fundamentally important to find schools that support my work by showing a substantial willingness to transparency, trust and cooperation and people that are driven by developing the way that schools work. I published this on the one hand because I want to share the idea and hope to inspire others and on the other hand I hope to reach people that can help me get in touch with schools that might be of interest to me.

    Please comment below of reach me via mail.

    Kind Regards from Berlin,

    Valentin Wieker
  2. By_the_Shiny_Brook

    By_the_Shiny_Brook Established commenter

    It is encouraging to see the Free International Universities continuing to thrive throughout Deutschland Mr.Wieker.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Excellent idea - if you are on a course that allows the freedom for trips during term time and have the money available to make such trips.
    In the UK no official body would fund such trips and few places would even allow teachers unpaid leave to visit other schools at their own expense.
    In my final decade of teaching, I only got to see other schools when I was being interviewed.
  4. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter


    You might notice that Herr Wieker is studying in Berlin.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Yes, of course I noticed that.
    I also noticed he'd posted on a UK site
    I thought the idea of seeing schools elsewhere to be an excellent one, but I doubt its practicality in the UK due to strict rationing of interesting ideas in England as well as funding stringencies.
  6. ValentinWieker

    ValentinWieker New commenter

    Dear readers,

    I am pleased to see that my idea could evoke some responses in this forum.
    Updates to my trip are now going to be given on a regular basis via this facebook group.
    I am looking forward to many intersting discussions about my upcoming observations!

    Warm regards,
    Valentin Wieker

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