Ever since my travels in 2009, I have been interested in how other countries choose to educate their children. That year concedes with a study abroad program I did to Germany. The study abroad program was mostly lectures and tours. It was a unique experience to learn about German culture and World War 2 while walking around famous cities in Germany and Austria. The lecturing part I didn’t agree with, but the professor did inform us about how the system of education is different in Germany.
A picture of the students and teachers I traveled with.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will share what I have learned about the different systems of education from my travels abroad. I think it is interesting to see how they schedule their school day, what subjects the students learn, or how the structure the schools in general. I will start with Germany. For Germany, I will mainly focus on how they structure their schools.
The education system in Germany is state based. I would imagine that this means that the states’ education systems differ more than our US state education systems, but I could be wrong. Regardless, all children attend a similar type of schooling ages 6- 10 or 11, which is primary school (for US americans). After that, the type of education differs greatly for secondary school. The way it was explained to me was that the parents, teachers and child sit and discuss what sort of future the child is to have. This will determine the type of school the child goes to later in life:
2. business or technical school
There are three different types of secondary schools that educate its students for one of these paths:
1. Hauptschule- prepares students for vocational school
2. Realschule- prepares students for technical school
3. Gymnasium- prepares students for college
As a teacher, it seems a very daunting task trying to decide the rest of a child’s life at the age of 10 or 11. I teach this age; I can sort of tell which ones will make it through a university. The problem is that children can surprise you. They can meet your expectations, raise above them, or not meet them. My professor explained the logic behind this as that the children are learning skills and subjects that will better serve them in the future. Not learning trigonometry when they will be going to trade school. This is so different than the US where everyone has the opportunity to go to a university if they want to. This is the big push now with Common Core, but I hear teachers say all the time college isn’t meant for everyone. Another complaint I hear is that everyone going to college raises the standards for a job. A job that used to require a undergraduate degree now requires a masters. I am not trying to pass judgement on Germany’s education system. I am merely presenting what I think it interesting. No education system is perfect including ours.
Me in Germany.