Pupils in teachers' shoes
Work experience is key in today's world of work - as are interpersonal and intercultural skills. This bilateral collaboration provided access to both: by turning pupils into teaching assistants.
Who?: Blackpool Sixth Form College and Elsa-Brandström-Gymnasium, Oberhausen
Participants: 38 British and German pupils travelling (23 feeder schools involved)
Age: 16-18 years
Grant received: Challenge Fund
Arbeitserfahrung ist essentiell in der heutigen Arbeitswelt – genauso auch zwischenmenschliche und interkulturelle Fähigkeiten. Diese bilaterale Zusammenarbeit gewährt Zugang zu beidem: indem sie Schüler zu Lehrassistenten macht.
Wer: Blackpool Sixth Form College und Elsa-Brandström-Gymnasium, Oberhausen
Teilnehmer: 38 britische and deutsche Schüler verreisen (23 Grundschulen involviert)
Alter: 16-18 Jahre
Förderprogramm: Challenge Fund World of Work
Discovering the teaching world
Becoming a teaching assistant for two weeks? Blackpool Sixth Form College and Elsa-Brandström- Gymnasium offered their pupils this unique opportunity. The pupils were able to experience what it takes to be a good teacher. British and German students teamed up to pass on their language skills in local primary and secondary schools in both countries. And that meant first of all one thing…
…preparation, preparation, preparation!
Before travelling, the young people collaborated online to create English- and German-language materials for each age group. Themes included 'The rights and responsibilities of adolescents', 'UK and Europe' and they also created worksheets for teaching primary school students basic numbers and colours. Once the teaching assistants got together in Blackpool, they tried out their materials in local primary and secondary schools by delivering joint language lessons. Constructive feedback served as starting point for further reflection during the return visits.
Intercultural skills – a lesson for life
The collaborative work experience had important implications for those involved: "This experience is useful and valuable for university entrance and career plans." (UK group leader). The cross-cultural element was a particularly valuable addition to the project - the young people were able to practice their language skills with peers and with their host families, to reflect on cultural similarities and differences: "We forged a good friendship, whilst at the same time I learnt about a different culture to my own." (UK participant).
To increase the scope of their project, the teaching assistants took part in a college radio broadcast in Blackpool and all their materials stayed with the primary and secondary schools - to be used by other classes in the future. Both schools continue to organise work experience collaborations to offer young people access to vital workplace skills. Working with European peers had a tangible impact on the pupils' interpersonal and intercultural skills: The authenticity of their experience did not only help them to reflect on their own learning but also to succeed in their professional lives - maybe even as teachers.
"The pupils learnt how to develop engaging materials for a specific age range, how to adapt to life in a different country and above all: how to be flexible and tolerant." (UK teacher)