I was fortunate enough to spend roughly 9 days traveling throughout Germany with 34 other amazing North Carolina educators as we studied the German education system. The trip was sponsored by The Center for International Understanding (@GlobalCIU), and they did a great job of putting together an exhausting but incredibly informative trip. I learned so much about what the German education system has to offer its students, teachers, and communities. The next few blogposts are dedicated to what I learned in Germany – both red flags and achievements.
Just a few highlights…
~We heard many times that Germany could not depend on itself to produce much due to its lack of renewable resources. The energy sources are just not available in their country to produce at a high volume unless they depended on an alternate source. This meant that the German education system prided itself on helping students think creatively and independently to solve this issue. Their renewable resources are the minds of their people.
~Some students have the opportunity to work directly with companies like Siemens and participate in a company internship along with their regular class studies. In a nutshell, they went to school at work and went to work at school. Companies like Siemens spends billions of dollars on their education department to allow for students to apply what they know. When asked, “what is their monetary return on this huge financial investment?,” the director of the Siemens Educational Department replied, “our future.”
~In Baden-Württemberg, Germany, which is a federal state similar in population size to North Carolina, the spending budget for education is $40 billion. Do I even need to mention how much North Carolina spends? (this year’s proposal is around $8 billion)
~Germany has an entire branch of their educational system dedicated to helping students develop a tradecraft. What a novel idea? However, their system isn’t perfect, and I will explain in later posts.
~Germany values conservative teaching methods and pedagogy.
~”Handlungskompetenz” is a common buzz word throughout many German schools that means having a well-rounded competence of a variety of skills. This concept applies to students and teachers.
~Personal responsibility is huge in Germany. You are expected to rise to the occassion, and if you don’t, then you suffer the consequences. This idea is noticeable throughout all of Germany, but I want to visit what this looked like in schools.
Needless to say, I have a lot to write…stay tuned!