‘The Teacher Education Centre at the University of Passau developed this format two years ago to bring German and Bavarian teacher education closer to our Chinese partner university’s students. Our intention is to give them a 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.
In order to become better acquainted with the different phases involved—namely, study and traineeship—the Chinese students visited a partner school of the University of Passau, where students conduct their practice teaching periods, and attended a seminar on primary education, which included class observation and subsequent discussion. They also observed lessons at a German Berufsschule, a type of vocational college, which gave them insights into a type of school that does not exist in this form in China. The week was accompanied by various lectures by representatives from different institutions working together within the framework of the Autumn School. These lectures covered various topics, including how teacher education is structured and organised, the various practice teaching stages as well as continuing professional development concepts for teachers. The local education authorities for the city and district of Passau were also involved in the various local school visits. The Government of Lower Bavaria invited the Chinese guests for a visit to the Berufsschule in Landshut, where a representative provided insights into the supervisory and administrative structures for schools.
As part of the accompanying programme for the ZLF Autumn School participants, 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 very different Bavarian cities. To round off their experience of experiential education, the Chinese guests 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.
‘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 are 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.
This year the Autumn School received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the first time as part of the DAAD-funded project ‘Global Teacher Research and Education Exchange Programme (global.trex Passau)’, which, among other things, promotes international mobility in teacher education programmes. ‘ZISU is a very important partner in this context. Our regular exchanges have become a fixture in the last few years and we are looking forward to sending our first students from Passau to Hangzhou in a scholarship-supported student exchange in the coming semesters’, said Administrative Head of the ZLF, Florian Stelzer.