‘This new format, which was developed by the Teacher Education Centre at the University of Passau, is intended to give students from our partner university insights into the way teacher education is organised in Germany, specifically in Bavaria. We also wish to foster an understanding of how theory and practice are connected at the different stages of teacher education’, said Dr Hans-Stefan Fuchs, who heads the Teacher Placement Office for primary and secondary schools and serves as the contact person for the internationalisation of teacher education.
Professor Matthias Brandl, Spokesperson for the Academic Headship of the ZLF, said: ‘Alongside our joint research on best practices in education and the lecturer exchanges, which go hand-in-hand with each other, this ZLF Autumn School programme is the third building block of the trilateral cooperative agreement of Zhejiang International Studies University, the University of Passau and the Hanns-Seidel Foundation. And it is one that could be made a permanent fixture of our cooperation.’
In order to learn about the different stages of German teacher education, the students visited a partner school for practice teaching and attended a primary school study seminar with class observation, which was followed by a group discussion. Furthermore, they observed classroom teaching on various subjects at a secondary school, which gave them insight into school types that do not exist in the same form in China. The local school authority accompanied the visits, and Josef Schätz, Head of the Schools Section of the Government of Lower Bavaria, invited the Chinese students to an introduction to the supervisory and administrative structures for schools.
At the University, the Chinese students had the opportunity to attend various university lectures. The exchange week was further enhanced by various presentations and lectures on topics such as the stages of teacher education, practice teaching placements and the professionalisation of future teachers. These were offered jointly by the University of Passau and the Office of the Commissioner for ‘Gymnasium’-type secondary schools [NB: Gymnasium is one of three types of secondary school that pupils can join after primary school. It leads directly to a university entrance qualification and thus prepares pupils for tertiary education].
Taking part in the supporting programme of the ZLF Autumn School, the students explored various non-school places of learning and discovered how they are presented in terms of methodology and instructional content. This included trips to Passau’s castle museum and the German Museum in Munich. Guided tours of Passau, Landshut and Munich gave them an impression of the urban structures and the development of these three Bavarian cities. To round off their experience of experiential education, the Chinese students visited the Bavarian Forest National Park, where they strolled through the outdoor enclosures for wild animals existing in the region and took a walk along the tree-top path, while learning about the educational concepts employed in the nature reserve.