Primary School Placements – Germany
BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS
Sophie Hay and Nadia Khan completed a two week work experience teaching in primary schools in Germany.
“ What I enjoyed most about my experience was getting to know the children throughout the two weeks I spent there. By the end of the two weeks they were all trying to speak English to me and were asking what different objects were in English, I did the same to them in German. If I told them how to say a word in English, I would ask what it was in German. I think they enjoyed that I was trying to get to know their language.” Sophie Hay
“I enjoyed being responsible for my own learning during my time in the school; this meant I had to act out of my comfort zone to find a range of information sources and communicate with teachers in different classes. I also had a great time living with another student from my course for the duration of the placement as we were able to bounce ideas off each other, report individual findings and analyse them together as well as explore the culture in the surrounding areas.” Nadia Khan
Differences between England and Germany
“Schooling in Germany is very different to English schools. The children are given much more freedom and responsibility in their learning. Most of the learning is done from books and the teacher doesn’t have to do any planning because it is all done out of books.” Sophie Hay
"Pupils take more responsibility for their own education and independence is an expectation; pupils are streamed into differentiated secondary schools according to their grades in primary school; only children who study at top academic secondary school (Gymnasium) can study at university level and become a professional." Nadia Khan
Learning and development
“This experience has impacted on my career plans in the future as it has made me realise I want to teach in other countries and experience other schools because I think it will make me a more rounded teacher with lots of experience from different parts of the world.
I have written down lessons which I saw in Germany which I would like to use in my future career such as having a class council and allowing the children to discuss their problems and what they like about the class.” Sophie Hay
“My overseas experience has taught me the importance of policies and their consistent application e.g. behaviour policy. The pupil and teacher interaction was very “team-like” in my class, in which mutual respect was evident and good behaviour management was an outcome of this."
Overall, I feel the experience has developed my confidence in trying new things in school to make learning enjoyable. My career plans have not changed due to this experience, but because of how much the overseas experience helped me to develop professionally and personally, I will be seeking more opportunities which take me out of my comfort zone. I feel that in time these opportunities will give me a whole new bank of opinions, skills and strategies which I will be able to apply to my career with confidence and hopefully inspire others to try new things with teaching and learning in different environments.” Nadia Khan
Useful tips before you go
“I would definitely say learn the language. Going to another country where the children can’t talk to you is very difficult. When you see a child upset and have very limited language to communicate with them it is a very difficult thing. Also go to bed early - listening to another language all day is exhausting.” Sophie Hay
“I would suggest that anyone who takes on an overseas experience to learn/re-learn the native language as much as you possibly can (even if it is just the basics) – this will extend your communication to other professionals as well as develop positive relationships with the children. Figure out what you want from your experience and systematically reflect on this (this is how I managed to learn the most from my experience professionally and personally)."
"Take on as many opportunities as they offer, ask for more if you can - the more you do over there the more you will learn e.g. after school clubs (this was not a pleasant practical experience for me but I was still able to reflect and learn from it), educational trips, meeting up with your colleagues out of school hours, observing different classes/teachers/routines.” Nadia Khan