Yesterday (I know i’m a day late…) was my second full day of school, and it started of with 2h of PE in year 6. And of course, there were plenty of things to observe: here, boys and girls are together in PE, even the three classes are mixed together so almost 80 students went for a run into the forest with their 3 teachers, once in the forest the kids had to do a star run looking for codes. None of them was forced to run, if they’d prefer not to, they could simply walk, and even during the star run it didn’t mean that they had to find all posts, once again I felt like they could just do whatever they want. No pressure, nothing.
They are however required to shower after sports, and the teacher’s changing room is inside the students changing room. So when she is finished, she waits for the students to all get dressed and getting ready.
Just two weeks ago when I was seeing friends in England, we discussed the role of sports in school. GB had been thinking about introducing competitive sports back to the curriculum. We all felt that this was the right thing to do… If kids are praised for their achievements in maths, they should be praised for their achievements in sports, too. However, I don’t really see that happening here in Mølholm Skole. Individual success doesn’t seem to be praised, Danish people feel afraid that in the end a student feels left behind. And it’s not only in sports, but I’ve seen that in other classes as well. The teachers encourage the students to participate in the classroom, but if they feel more like reading, they read. Students also come and go as they please. No matter if it’s form 5 or 8…
Marianne uses the PLC (pedagogic learning center) quite a lot, it’s their library with work stations for students. She uses webquests to get them engaged in reading English texts or listening to videos. She doesn’t have a textbook for year 5 and 6, so she can do whatever she likes.
When I observed a lesson in year 7, it was pretty much similar to a standard English lesson. First going though the homework, than use an image as pre-reading activity, read a text, than questions. The students have two different books, one texts only and the other one containing the questions. Oh, and they all brought laptops to class – some used laptops from school. And again some of the students surfed all the time and where not really told off…hmmm, anything goes???
What about the general situation, the classes have about the same size than our classes. However, the divisor is 28 students, they have 6 lessons every day. So school starts at 8.00am and finishes quarter to two. Everyone has lunch at 11.30, the teachers chill in their staff room and there’s nothing like assigned seats. It’s more cosy. Still, the teachers from year 0-4 tend to sit in a different corner.
Some of lessons are double lessons, but most are single. They have a teacher shortage at the moment, they had to cut down the number of teachers last year. The municipality just doesn’t have enough money, that’s why they had so many teacher to let go. So Marianne teaches PE, history, English, Danish and religion. But she has only be trained to be an English and Danish teacher, and has no clue about history… and the teacher training is 20 weeks only – that’s almost what we have to do as internship…they not only cut down the number of teachers, but also the number of lessons. Year 7 only has 2 lessons of English every week, and the lack of lessons doesn’t seem to result in more homework… I’m sure there’s a national curriculum, but there seems to be a more liberal attitude…
Oh, and last night we had dinner at a restaurant with an amazing view… I’m so spoilt. How shall I ever get back to everyday life????