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Excursion Program International Perspectives

Do you want to think outside the box and get to know another educational system in Europe? The excursion program International Perspectives gives you the opportunity to gain insight into the educational system of another country within a short period of time (one week) in a university-organized setting together with 15 to 20 fellow students (across all subjects and teaching disciplines).

Information for

The excursion program International Perspectives has been carried out at Bielefeld University since 2016 within BiProfessional as part of the Quality Offensive Teacher Education. Depending on the excursion country, different thematic focal points are chosen, such as how schools deal with heterogeneity and inclusion, the use of digital media, or the implementation of school autonomy. For this purpose, different schools and school types as well as universities are visited on site, which enable the participating students to gain insights into the respective topic on a structural as well as practical level.

Destination

The international comparative approval and getting to know another educational system should make it possible to look at the familiar educational system from a different perspective. In this way, the students' own ideas of normality in school and society are questioned and critical reflection on their own professional biographies is encouraged.

Course of the excursion

More detailed information about the excursion, the application procedure and funding will be announced at an information event approximately six months before the start date of the trip. Information about the information event will be published on this page.

Approximately 2 to 4 weeks before departure, preparation takes place in the form of a block seminar in order to start the excursion as informed and culturally sensitive as possible. The aim is to develop an awareness of one's own perspectives and subjective perceptions in order to reflect on them continuously during the excursion. For this purpose, the students already deal with the educational system of the target country beforehand. In the process, initial theoretical comparisons with the North Rhine-Westphalian education system are encouraged. Furthermore, the thematic focus of the trip as well as topics of intercultural competence development and anti-discrimination are worked out. In addition, the students receive information about the upcoming observation locations and learn about the method of scientific observation required for this.

During the one-week excursion, pupils will visit various schools and the respective partner university on site. In small groups, individual lessons or entire school days are observed and an exchange takes place with school administrators, teachers and pupils. The university visits give insight into the respective teacher training and an exchange with lecturers and students takes place here as well.

The excursion trip gives the participants various opportunities for reflection, e.g. in the form of daily reflection meetings in the group or individual reflection in an excursion diary, in which observations and impressions are recorded and impulse questions encourage critical reflection. At the same time, the excursion diary makes it possible to record the learning process and perspectives before, during and after the excursion trip.

One week after the excursion, a reflection session is held to discuss the experience gained. The expectations of the excursion are compared with the impressions gained during the excursion. By looking back at the views - especially with regard to the main topic - before the excursion, a possible increase in perspective is to be worked out and reflected upon. In addition, it will be discussed to what extent the excursion could contribute to one's own professionalization process and whether the attitudes towards stays abroad in the teacher training program could be positively influenced.

The follow-up meeting takes place approximately six months after the excursion. In an informal setting, the participants talk once again about the extent to which the experiences of the excursion have left a lasting impression on them and whether they might even have had an influence on their further course of study.

Excursion travel

Salzburg, Austria (2023)

Our fifth excursion to Salzburg in Austria took place at the end of September 2023 (24-29 September). The trip focussed on various school visits. These first took the students to a primary school that cooperates with the Salzburg University of Teacher Education. In addition to sitting in on classes, they also took part in a school assembly. The students also visited a municipal primary and secondary school, which enables close integration between primary and secondary education thanks to the shared accommodation in one building. The students were also given an insight into a higher technical college (HTL), where school pupils are taught from year 9 to 13. They graduate from the school with a general university entrance qualification and an additional vocational qualification. A tour of the school building and discussions with school pupils highlighted the school's special technical equipment and left an impression on the excursion participants. In contrast to the urban schools, the students also visited a very rural primary school with only around 30 pupils. In addition to the varied and contrasting school visits, the students got to know the Salzburg University of Teacher Education through a guided tour with a professor, who answered many questions about teacher training in Austria. The leisure programme was also not neglected during the excursion week, allowing the students to explore the city of Salzburg and the surrounding area and spend many sociable evenings together.

From 4 to 8 September 2022, 15 students from various teaching disciplines spent an interesting week in Zurich with three lecturers. Their programme included two school visits with the opportunity to sit in on classes at various schools, where they were able to gain a variety of insights into school life and its structures. This was followed by an exchange with the respective school management at both schools, during which many unanswered questions were clarified. In addition, the students visited the Zurich University of Teacher Education, where they listened to presentations on the Swiss school system and the topics of heterogeneity and multilingualism. They also had the opportunity to attend various modules and discuss the differences and similarities between the German and Swiss school systems with students. In addition to the specialist input, the city of Zurich was explored on a city walk in the afternoon. The programme also included a hike and a few hours of sunshine at Lake Zurich.

The third excursion to South Tyrol was undertaken at the end of March 2019. During the first two days, the 15 students visited various German-speaking elementary and middle schools (Sek 1). There they observed different school lessons in small groups. Afterwards, the students met with a principal of several schools and school types. This is very typical for South Tyrol, so the school management was able to answer many overarching questions about the education system and especially about inclusion in South Tyrol. On the third day, the pupils observed in small groups at different schools in Bressanone. Afterwards, they were also given the opportunity to exchange ideas with a school administration. In the afternoon, the students visited the Bressanone location of the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano, where two lecturers gave presentations on teacher training in South Tyrol and the main topic of the excursion, inclusion. On the fourth day, the pupils got to know Italian-speaking schools. Here they also participated in extracurricular activities and had the chance to interact with pupils and teachers.

Reflection-and-experience-poster-Sudtirol-A.pdf

Reflection-and-experience-poster-Sudtirol-B.pdf

"Of course, the focus of studies at Bielefeld University is on the German or North Rhine-Westphalian education system. However, this often only teaches a one-sided perspective. The stays abroad have helped me to broaden my horizons, e.g. to experience in a very practical way what an inclusive school can look like. You can't gain this kind of experience by reading theoretical texts!" - Lilith

You can find the entire experience report here.

The destination of the second field trip in October 2017 was Esbjerg in Denmark with a focus on heterogeneity and inclusion. During the excursion, the 20 students visited a total of five Danish schools, where they observed. In addition, they had many opportunities to talk with school administrators and German teachers on site, so that the topic of heterogeneity could also be addressed with regard to bilingual pupils. A teacher who specializes in the behavior, contact, and well-being of pupils (AKT Teacher) could also be won as an interlocutor. In addition, the students visited the University College South Denmark. There they listened to several presentations from different lecturers and exchanged ideas with Danish as well as international students.

Reflection-and-experience-poster-Danmark.pdf.

"After returning, you see some aspects in our German school system with different eyes and can possibly include options for action from other teachers* in your own repertoire of action." - Kyra

"I will definitely "copy" the described warm and open way of dealing between the Danish teachers* and their pupils. The same goes for the tolerant, self-evident view of inclusion in the school system." - Kyra

"I find it incredibly important to deal with other school systems, because only this reflection often allows you to look critically distanced at the school system of which you yourself are a part. Because most (prospective) teachers have grown up and been socialized in the same school system in which they will later work, this more distanced view is often difficult and looking at other school systems can help to (re)discover both new negative and new positive aspects of one's own system." - Thea

Here you can find the complete testimonials of Kyra and Thea.

The first field trip of the International Perspectives program took 15 students to London in November 2016. The first day of the excursion was spent at King's College London. There, they participated in two seminars on Special Educational Needs and Inclusion and Equity. They also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with English students. In addition, the students from Bielefeld received information about teacher training and inclusion in the English education system. On the following days, the Bielefeld students accompanied some British students to their placement schools. Furthermore, the excursion group visited an English elementary school together.

Excursions in numbers

 

Austria (2023)

Switzerland (2022)

South Tyrol (2019)

Denmark (2017)

Great Britain (2016)

Participants in total:

13

15

15

20

15

after teaching degree:

         

Gymnasium/ Gesamtschule (Middle and High School)

1

8

6

7

7

Haupt-, Real-, Gesamtschule (Middle School)

of which with Integrated Special Education

4

 

1

1

 

0

0

 

/

3

 

2

0

 

/

Primary School

of which with Integrated Special Education

8

1

6

3

9

7

10

8

8

6

by degree program:

Bachelor of Arts/ Science

Master of Education

 


11

2

 


12

3

 


8

7

 


10

10

 


9

6

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BiProfessional is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the joint quality initiative for teacher training by the federal and state governments (sponsor number 01JA1908).


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