Online Work Experience

The Goethe-Institut London is delighted to announce a call for applications for otheir online work-shadowing week during this year’s October half-term (25 – 29 October 2021). The project will be managed by the Goethe-Institut London and allow 20 pupils from across the country in years 12 or 13 to develop vocational skills in an immersive, German-speaking online environment, whilst meeting other keen Germanists and forming friendships and professional connections.

On the 25th October 2021, participants should be in the Sixth Form with at least GCSE-level German.

Deadline: 11 June 2021

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A German Classic

A German Classic is the Oxford German Network’s essay competition for sixth-formers with prizes up to £500. It is designed to celebrate a different literary classic each year and encourage in-depth study by creating a wide range of resources that open up different perspectives on the concerns at the heart of the work. This year’s set text is Heinrich von Kleist’s “Die Verlobung in St. Domingo”.

Free study packs, including free physical copies of the German original and an English translation of Kleist’s novella, as well as access to a set of free multimedia resources and essay writing guidelines, can be requested until 25 June.

Deadline: 15 September 2021

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  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Café Connect

UK-German Connection’s cultural exchange café, Café Connect, gives young people the chance to get to know UK and German peers through fun, interactive activities, and group discussions on current topics. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends, learn about the other culture, and practise (or even pick up) some German!

These friendly online meet-ups take place twice a month and are open to young people both with and without German language skills.

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  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

German Teacher Award

If you know a truly outstanding German language teacher at your primary or secondary school – make sure that their dedication and excellence get the recognition they deserve! The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London is now inviting nominations for the annual German Teacher Award. The award is given every year to excellent teachers of German who have who have made an outstanding and dedicated contribution to German teaching at their school.

Deadline: 14 May 2021

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  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

An inclusive exchange

How did your link with Germany start out?

Our link originally started as we were working with the Wiesenschule on a Comenius school improvement project. When we heard about UK-German Connection we thought we might be able to develop another project. The German head teacher was not sure any of his parents would be happy to let their children travel so while we were at the Wiesenschule, we laid on a parents’ evening where our students presented Cornwall and the school in German and cooked Cornish specialities for the parents and students. Pasty power prevailed and we suddenly had a group of parents who wanted their child to come to us. As the school had never run a residential course, let alone travelled abroad, we were very pleased with the result and now run the parents’ evening each time we visit.

How have you developed your activities over the years?

Our first project was a straightforward exchange between the two schools concentrating on language skills and the GCSE students being placed in the classes as teaching assistants. The second project idea came from the Mounts Bay pupils who wanted to gain experience as teaching assistants to their peers from our local SEN school and our German partner school. We took students from our local SEN school with us and the pupils produced a film about the two regions. This year we have also involved a local primary school and held a festival week and a final ‘Life Celebration’ concert with students from all four schools.

What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?

As mentioned above, the first time, the German school was not sure parents, students and even staff would be prepared to be involved. Not surprisingly, we also had to convince our local SEN school that the exchange was feasible for the second project. Our parents’ evening was also cancelled this year as northern Germany bore the brunt of a catastrophic storm. We compensated for this by presenting the planned work at a whole school assembly the next day then incorporating it into the summer show in Cornwall.

What have been the benefits to the young people involved?

The MBA students have grown in confidence both in their language skills and in their leadership experience. All groups have developed their life skills as they have been forced to adapt to their new surroundings and the needs of a travel in a foreign country. The GCSE students have shown real motivation in their studies since returning and the communication skills of pupils in all four schools have expanded greatly given the difficulties of language and the nature of the difficulties some of the SEN students have.

The UK-German projects have been the most life-changing for our students amongst the extensive offer of international visits we provide. (UK teacher)

How has the partnership made a difference to your school or youth group as a whole?

Our parents are hugely supportive of this exchange and have been since the first year. It is seen as a very different educational visit, which has changed the life choices of many of those involved. Some of the past students are now planning to move on to language degrees in order to train to teach and others are looking at going into careers working with students with special needs. Our partner schools in Penzance are asking to be more involved with the Academy and we are planning creative arts lessons for them here. Through the German lessons delivered in the primary schools, we are expecting a greater uptake in German in Year 7 when students are offered a language choice. Meanwhile, as a ‘Teaching School’, we are offering training positions to TAs from the German school.

By leading the visit for the German pupils, the Mounts Bay students gained valuable experience for future careers as well as an insight into how to support young people with special needs.
(UK teacher)

What are your plans for the future of the partnership?

Aside from the developments as a ‘Teaching School’, we are also hoping to take primary students abroad with us, as well as linking up and exchanging with Wiesenschule students who are now in the 6th form at the local ‘FiLB’ (Förderzentrum zur individuellen Lebensgestaltung und Berufsbildung).

Do you have any top tips for other teachers?

  • Make sure you have a member of the senior leadership team involved.
  • Allow your students to be part of the planning from the outset so they feel responsible for the success of the project.
  • Don’t panic when things go array. Stay calm and the students will follow your lead.
  • Be prepared to be flexible if you are working with SEN students. They will not always be able to follow the regimented programme you have established for them!
  • If you don’t already know the staff from your partner school, be sure you all agree expectations from the start: Who is paying for what? What are the expectations of participating staff and students?

Jennifer Hick, 2014

This article is part of the UK-German featured partnerships series.

Public art: hands-on

Not just looking!

Dee Banks School in Chester and Schule an der Kleiststraße in Oldenburg have been partners since 1997, with an initial link established through two Comenius projects and their relationship further cemented with the help of UK-German Connection’s Challenge Fund. Their latest collaboration aimed to further strengthen ties by first discovering and experiencing public art, and then allowing the students to get creative together.

The practicalities

For any school, organisation is the key to making a joint project of this scale a success but even more so for schools focusing on special needs education. Dee Banks and Kleiststraße worked very closely together to ensure that everything went smoothly. For example, both trips took place over the course of a short week – flying out on Monday and returning on Friday afternoon – to ensure that students would not be away for too long. Furthermore, they relied on each other’s recommendations and experiences to choose accommodation that provided appropriate facilities for the group, such as plenty of space and communal areas. And finally, one of Dee Banks’ teachers spoke fluent German, which really helped with the smooth running of the project.

Let’s get busy …

Before the trip, both groups photographed public art in their local area, which they emailed to each other with explanations. This allowed the students to get to know each other while improving their foreign language skills. They were able to discuss and form opinions on the different types of art they liked and disliked and use these to set the scene for their joint creative work, prior to meeting each other.

Once both schools got together on the trip, they took part in a workshop led by a local artist, setting a structured framework and providing creative inspiration. Working together in bi-lingual groups, the students then shared worksheets to reflect on their public art visits and created their own artwork based on what they had seen and learnt about.

More than just art…

Not only was their artwork something to be proud of, but teachers and parents were also impressed with how much the students broke down their inhibitions, overcame the language barrier and engaged in the creative workshops. For the students, travelling abroad together gave them a real sense of independence and for the parents, seeing their children take part in a residential school visit abroad  exceeded their expectations of what their children could achieve.

Going to Oldenburg was a very good experience for me. (UK participant)

The next steps

The project was documented using digital cameras, which gave students the opportunity to use technology and provided plenty of material for a photobook, showing their memories from the project. Upon their return, students presented the album to other students, parents and teachers, alongside a Powerpoint presentation they had made as a group. Both schools feel the project helped to provide the pupils with valuable new experiences and are planning to work together again in the near future. 

The Bears

Exciting way for UK children learning German at primary school and their counterparts in Germany learning English at Grundschule to join up for a short-term bilateral project. The Bears arrive in the form of real soft toys, and come with a suitcase of easy to use materials designed to introduce young pupils to learning some basic German and interesting facts about Germany.

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  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK