Freitag, 15. März 2013

Study visit - Hagaskolan

Busy times.
I've been occupied with studies and work the last few months. It is a little bit annoying not finding time to properly write down things that are happening and reflect on them. A lot of interesting experiences, which I will hopefully put to (digital) paper soon.
In the meantime, I posted this on my Mahara page and haven't published it here, but to not make it feel so empty, here it is:

As a part of the course "The School System in a Comparative Perspective" we had the opportunity to visit a school in Göteborg and spend a few hours there.
I would like to share some of the impressions:

Hagaskolan is a relatively small school, located in the old district Haga. The school was established in 1986, but the oldest part of the school-complex stems from 1828.
The school has around 250 pupils, with classes form pre-school to fifth grade classes. In total, they have nine classes. The school has three tracks (Green, Yellow, Blue). These tracks each contain two classes. Notably, they have integrated classes/tracks (= Mehrstufenklassen) in which the pre-school and 1st graders, and the 2nd and 3rd graders share a class. Since a lot of children move out of the city center when they get older, the 4th and 5th grade have separate classes, because the number of children declines. 
In each class, there are usually two teachers present. One main teacher and one leisure time pedagogue - both work full-time. The classroom teacher is in school for 35 hours per week, but as soon as classes end, between 13.00 and 14.00, the classroom teachers are not working in class anymore. They spend the rest of their time in the office preparing, which in turn means that the leisure time pedagogue takes over the responsibility and takes care of the children in the afternoon.

The teachers have a good relationship with the headmaster and have weekly staff meetings to discuss and communicate important issues. Every other staff member (pre-school, after-school teachers etc.) also meets every week.

The school has so-called project weeks every term. For a full month, each week, one day is about one special topic (this term the topic was History of Gothenburg). Either the teachers prepare activities or the school collaborates with the theater or museums, but the best part about these project weeks is that during these times, the classes are completely mixed, pre-schoolers will work with 5th graders and so on.

Hagaskolan also has a friendship-school in Zimbabwe, Africa. This collaboration contains Skype-session with the classes every two weeks, teacher exchange programs and a close relationship with Gothenburgs Salvation army.

All in all, it was a great experience to be in a very enjoyable school and even though it was a primary school, it was good opportunity to get a first hand look into the swedish school system. 

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