'The Teacher Education Centre at the University of Passau developed this format to bring German and Bavarian teacher education closer to our Chinese partner university's students. Our intention is to give them greater insight into how theory and practice interconnect at the different phases of teacher education in Germany', said Dr Hans-Stefan Fuchs, who heads the teacher placement office for primary and secondary education programmes at the University of Passau and is the primary contact for internationalisation in the field of teacher education.
'The ZLF Autumn School is one of the pillars of the trilateral partnership agreement between Zhejiang International Studies University, the University of Passau and the Hanns-Seidel Foundation, the other two being research on best practices in teaching, and the associated lecturer exchanges. We are especially grateful to our Chinese partners, who are giving young people the opportunity to gain international and intercultural experience in an academic context', said Professor Matthias Brandl, Spokesman for the ZLF's Board of Academic Directors.
In order to gain a first-hand view of the different phases involved – study and traineeship – the Chinese students visited a partner school of the University of Passau, where students conduct their practice teaching placements, and attended a seminar on primary education, which included class observation and subsequent discussion. They also sat in on lessons at a type of German secondary school, 'Realschule', which does not exist in China in this form. At the University of Passau, the Chinese teacher education students then had the opportunity to attend various lectures.
The week was interspersed by presentations from various institutions working together within the Autumn School framework. These dealt with topics such as the structure of teacher education programmes, the various practice teaching placements and concepts for professionalisation measures for teachers. The local education authorities for the city and district of Passau well as the Office of the Commissioner for 'Realschule'-type secondary schools in Lower Bavaria were also involved in the various local school visits.
The Government of Lower Bavaria invited the Chinese guests for a visit and provided insights into the supervisory and administrative structures for schools.
As part of the ZLF Autumn School’s accompanying programme, the students discovered various non-school places of learning and how they are presented in terms of methodology and instructional content. This included a visit to Passau's castle museum and the open-air museum for rural settlement in the Bavarian Forest region. Guided tours of Passau, Landshut and Munich gave them an impression of the urban structures and the development of these three different 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 of the region and took a walk along the tree-top path, while learning about the educational concepts employed in the nature reserve.