Friday, February 10

Passion Lives here

I swear I wrote about the German eduaction system and tracking in here somewhere, but I can't find it and it bears repeating. German students are tracked into three different types of schools when they go into fifth grade. Realschule, the lowest, a few years shorter and sometimes leading to an aprenticeship or something in some sort of handwork trade, or more likely unemployment at the moment. Haubtschule, in the middle, also shorter and often leading to aprenticeships but often in more technical trades I think, or maybe other bluecollar jobs or basic secritarial administrative stuff. Not entirely sure. And then Gymnasiums, like the schools I teach at, goes through 13th grade and nearly all students go on to University. The students are tracked based on test scores and performance in school so far, but the school and teachers actually can only make recomendations, the ultimate decision in up to the parents. Of course after a year or two in Gymnasium a student can be moved down, or, less often, a Haubtschule student can move up. Of course the system is biased. The class that I mentioned was all boys was actually an advanced class within the Gymnasium. Other than that there seem to be an eaqual number of boys as girls in the Gymnasiums. There is a more recognizable bias when it comes to immigrants. One of the biggest reasons being that they don't have any kind of "German as a second language" programs for young students, so obviously those kids who don't learn German at home stuggle more in school and tend to be held back and placed lower. Immigrant students and families may also have different priorities and sending their kids to university may not be as high on the list. Economic class can also play a role, but it's not so outright, since the parents decide. If the kids parents are lawyer or doctors then of course they're going to think their kid should be in a Gymnasium, where as the child of electicians or janitors is less likely to be pushed into the college track. The same thing happens in the US. I don't know that the German system is more or less fair. At least funding is evenly spread out among the schools so that in theory everyone has the same oportunities regardless of where they live, small town or big city. One thing that is certainly less fair is that their programs for students with learning disorders are barely existent and someone with say, dislexia, is not likely to make it to the college track.
Hope that helps :)

And now on a completely different topic: STOP SNOWING!!!! enough already, seriously. It was blizzard conditions most of the day yesturday and continued all day today as it has been all week. I never want to leave my room. ever. Right now I'm staying in and watching the Opening ceremonies of the Olympics. yay Olympics! They're so close to me this year. If it had been the summer games I would have gone in a heartbeat. But winter sports aren't quite enough for me to spend the money and fight the crowds. Someday I'll go to a summer Olympics.... I'm afraid I have to give up my dream of actually being in them now, I'm too old :( and synchro is way too hard :-P But I can at least go see it! I've stopped going to synchro here... it was just too awkward. I can't actually compete with them. and all the girls were like 18. And they were nice... but not really friendly or eager to make friends with me... so yeah. no synchro this year. I'll join a masters team when I get home and it's in english again :)

Ok... time for bed...

PS. Thanks for the package Shannon! It came at just the right time... I was bored and stuck in my room not wanting to go out in the snow storm. I miss Oprah...

2 comments:

Phil said...

Thanks Anne!

I had Lowenbrau the other day at a restaurant called the Bad Waitress. It was tasty and I talked to the server about being in Munich. I also tried to pronounce it german sounding and they had no idea was i said, so I switced to the english-fied speak. i also managed to hoc up some flem when i tried to say it in german.

i probably could have left that last part out, but i feel it completes the story.

peace

Caroline said...

You threw in the noseclips for synchro? Too bad. You could come practice with us in Berlin over the course of the conference. Hopefully you'll be in a Rocky Horror, Whitney Houston, Elvis kind of mood that week . . .