SoR Action Day 2023

08.09.2023. As part of today's "School without Racism" day of action on the topic of "Respect", 23 pupils from our E-Phase, led by Mr Schmitt, took part in the workshop "My Europe. Yesterday's idea or tomorrow's vision?" and worked out how the Erasmus+ programme can help them to achieve their personal and school goals. Topics included the question of European identity, goals and possibilities of the Erasmus+ programme, the planning of an Erasmus+ trip on the topic of "Respect" by the students present in small groups - but also the question of the personal significance of Europe.

 

Dear People! Europe is facing many challenges and changes today. Our continent is struggling with problems, from political problems to economic difficulties. Nevertheless, we must not forget that Europe is a place of great importance for us. We owe Europe peace and cooperation after the conflicts of the 19th century. However, Europe is also a place that offers room for improvement. We should not only see Europe as a place, but actively work for positive changes and work together for improvements. For me personally, Europe means a mix of peace and opportunities. Possibilities with our diverse history and culture and peace in terms of the possibilities the future holds. In this speech I would like to encourage everyone to look at Europe with a positive view. Let us preserve our values and at the same time take advantage of the opportunities that Europe offers us. Together we can work towards a better future for Europe. Thank you very much.

Author: Anonymous.

For us, Europe means diversity, culture, history and cooperation. It is a continent that encompasses many different countries and languages. Europe is also known for its impressive architecture, rich art scene and culinary delights. Many people associate Europe with famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Europe also stands for political and economic cooperation, like the European Union. Overall, Europe is a place of diversity and opportunity, attracting people from all over the world.

Author: Anonymous.

My Europe. Europe, just a word? Or rather much more than that. Just a continent like any other? Or rather something more significant. If it is not just a word, not just a continent like any other, then I wonder how many Europeans once gave serious thought to the subject. Does the meaning of this word carry over to each individual? "Europe, synonymous with peace and cohesion!" is what many say, but my perception makes my mind evaluate something else. Does cohesion mean the domestic conflict over the admission of migrants? War and exploitation? Racism or even simple violence? Definitely not! Cohesion means something else to me. "Nothing whole, nothing half!" is, in my opinion, a more appropriate synonym for Europe. Union of countries - yes. One continent - yes. One word - yes. A continent of far-reaching cohesion, certainly not.I wouldn't be talking about it if it wasn't an issue that made us think. The word cohesion behind Europe's shadow is much more the desire of each individual who does not look away but wants to change something about this situation. About 746 million inhabitants and each one an individual. Diversity and difference is not a topic to discuss. The answer is clear. Nevertheless, we are talking, so there are also individuals with different desires than cohesion. The meaning of Europe is something everyone makes up with themselves.

Author: Caine Deichmann.

European Workshop in Bremerhaven and International Conference in Braga

We welcome our new beginning teachers in Bremerhaven with a Europe workshop called „Europäische Lehrkräfte als Vorbilder für lebenslanges Lernen, demokratisches Denken und gemeinschaftliches Handeln”. The workshop deals with the results of the EU-funded LOOP project (No. 2020-1-PT01-KA201-078764) and the implications for our school Schulzentrum Carl von Ossietzky - gymnasiale Oberstufe (CvO GyO).
Our participation in the LOOP project and especially in the international conference "Teacher learning through e-mentoring - a contribution to the future of Education" in Braga, Portugal significantly strengthens teacher collaboration within our school and with other European educators and stakeholders, as well.
The Erasmus+ team at our school has grown, the role of European values such as democratic thinking and collaboration further increases. We learn a lot about innovative teaching and learning approaches and discuss new concrete ideas of conceptual development potentials. Working on the LOOP project makes room for teamwork, critical discussion, creativity and participation. More teachers are involved in school development like digitalization, interdisciplinary and inter-grade projects and the revision of our school concept.  We specify our visions about teaching and learning and start to establish a European cooperation network. Let’s stay in contact as friends and, hopefully as project partners, as well:

Presentation for the Europe Day Workshop in Bremerhaven: PDF
Review of the international LOOP conference in Braga: YouTube
Learn more on the project homepage

Schlierbach on a visit!

01.07.2023. Last week we had the pleasure to welcome our friends from Schlierbach for a return visit in Bremerhaven. We had a wonderful time together. Program points, among others: Hospitations in music and computer science courses, in the music basic course as well as in the performing arts and politics classes (E-Phase) - but also an evening visit to the Theo for a joint jam session. We are very much looking forward to seeing you again and to further joint mobilities. See you soon, friends! Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

01.07.2023. Last week we had the pleasure to welcome our friends from Schlierbach for a return visit in Bremerhaven. We had a wonderful time together.

Program points, among others: Hospitations in music and computer science courses, in the music basic course as well as in the performing arts and politics classes (E-Phase) - but also an evening visit to the Theo for a joint jam session.

We are very much looking forward to seeing you again and to further joint mobilities. See you soon, friends!

Ireland Project Trip

Ireland Project Trip to Dublin from 13.06. - 17.06.2023
LK 2Eng2a

After an eventful journey by train, plane, bus and finally a 2.8 km walk in sunshine and 27 degrees in the shade, we arrived at Destiny Student New Mill, our accommodation in The Liberties district in the Irish capital Dublin.
On Wednesday, 14 June 2023, we went straight to the National College of Ireland, NCI, where we were first given a guided tour of the campus to gain an insight into the structure of an Irish college and the basic study options in Ireland and in particular at the NCI. Afterwards, the vice-principal of the college personally gave a lecture on the importance of the Irish Celtic Language, in which NCI students also took part. The morning was rounded off by a round of communication and games between our students and the college students, who came from different countries. Our visit ended with a round of fresh delicious pizza donated by the college and lively conversations. Following on from the historical and cultural information on Ireland in the NCI, we, the teaching staff together with our students, went on a walk through north Dublin to visit memorials of the Great Famine and the uprisings that eventually led to the establishment of the Republic of Ireland.
On Thursday 15/06/2013 we went to our second partner college, Griffith College Dublin. While the NCI focuses on business and computer technology, here we were introduced to the world of music and medical design. Here, too, we came into contact with an Irish student who, among other things, informed us about the accommodation options, campus life and career opportunities in Dublin and Europe. The day was rounded off with impressions of St. Patrick's Cathedral and the role of the Catholic and Anglican Church in Ireland, yesterday and today.
On Friday, 16.06.23, small groups had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery and Christchurch Cathedral. The day ended with a dinner organised by the students. Many thanks for that!!!!!

After a 12-hour return journey, we finally arrived in Bremerhaven around 9.30 pm, tired but in good spirits and still full of impressions of the vibrant, hospitable and impressive city on the River Liffey.
The trip was prepared in class, among other things the students prepared interviews for the college visits, which were used at the college events. We are expecting the return visit from the Irish side in January.

Of course, all students at our school should have the opportunity to eventually study at one of the two colleges. I am the contact person for this, Heidrun Pargmann. In addition, information events with the Irish professors and possibly students are planned for all students at our school in January.

Conclusion of the project trip after feedback discussions in the LK: Impressive impressions, interesting possibilities after the Abitur or the Fachhochschulreife, a friendly country full of music and mystical culture, a touching hospitality by the directors of the colleges, to whom our personal thanks go. At this point, we would also like to mention the excellent social behaviour and the willingness of the entire English class to actively participate in the trip. At this point, we would also like to thank Gaby Basse for her friendly and helpful support during the entire trip.

On behalf of all participants, we leave with some ideas for the continuation of the college partnerships and the cooperation with our neighbouring school, the BST Bremerhaven.

Authors: Heidrun and Kurt Pargmann

Kind regards from Kraków

13.06.2023. Kind regards from Kraków! We are on site between 12 and 16 June 2023. We work with pupils and teachers from our Polish partner school ZSEL No. 1 as part of a joint project week entitled "Learning from the past for the future".
We examine selected stages of the German-Polish past and present and work out possible courses of action for the common future.

More soon at https://erasmus.cvo-gyo.de/en/our-projects/learning-from-the-past-for-the-future/!

Principal

We conducted an interview with the principal of our school as part of our project "Building a democratic school culture", which we carried out as part of the European Union program for education, youth and sports.

First of all, we would like to thank Mr. Ingo Beck for participating in the interview.

How did you feel about the fact that a project on "Building a democratic school culture" was carried out at your school? What do you think about this topic?

Democracy within school culture is the highest good and must be the highest priority in school development. For this reason, the event at our school was an excellent opportunity to reflect on this topic, evaluate and take in new impulses.

You have been working at this school for 19 years. In total, you have been principal for seven years. After all these years in education, can you say something about the deficits you see or feel in terms of democracy in the institutions you have led?

Cooperation between the boards was made much more difficult by the Corona period. Basically, a deficit is more likely to be perceived through the commitment of those involved, but not through the fundamentally given opportunities for involvement in the democracy process.

In your opinion, what tasks should administrators perform in a democratic school?

Act as organizer:s, administrator:s, and supporter:s.

As a school administrator, do you determine the decisions that are made at the school, or do you involve other stakeholders in the decision-making process?

We have a school law that we have to implement. Of course, how successful the results are here also depends a little bit on the commitment of the school management.

Do you solicit student input on applications that directly affect students (recess times, electives, social activities...)? Do you set up boards or committees where students also have the right to speak?

The committees are fully staffed with all the groups involved and there is freedom of expression and opportunities are to include voting rights.

Can you create a suitable democratic environment for your students, teachers and support staff in the school? Can you explain this with an example?

In any case - in the highest conference - the school conference, we are so occupied in voting on budget, study trips, mission statement, etc., that the parents and students:inside could outvote the teachers and thus an implementation of an idea would be blocked.

What do you think school governance should be like in an institution with a democratic school culture? Can you take action in this direction?

Is in place at our institution.

Who do you think has the leading role in creating a democratic school culture? The central government, the local government, or the school administration?

Only in a good interaction is this possible - laws, rules and room for maneuver on the ground.

Do you think that this and similar projects contribute to the creation of a democratic school culture?

Absolutely! It's a very good way to create a democratic standard at schools throughout Europe.

We would like to thank our guest Mr. Ingo Beck for participating in our interview and for sharing her feelings and thoughts with us.

Teacher

We conducted an interview with one of our school's teachers as part of our project "Building a Democratic School Culture", which we carried out under the European Union Programme for Education, Youth and Sport.

First of all, we would like to thank Mr Michael Schmitt for taking part in the interview.

How did you feel about the fact that a project on "Building a democratic school culture" was carried out at your school? What do you think about this topic?

Democracy is our greatest asset. Therefore, this project was a wonderful opportunity for our school to reflect on the topic and to work with European partners and now friends on selected issues. Through a successful evaluation, it was possible for us to take up new impulses.

You have been working at this school for five years. In total, you have been a teacher for seven years. Considering the many years you have spent in education, can you say something about the shortcomings you see or feel in terms of democracy in the institutions you teach?

The structures of German schools provide for the democratic participation of teachers, children and parents in decision-making processes. The challenge is to recruit pupils and parent representatives and also to motivate teachers to participate constructively.

What tasks do you think teachers should take on in a democratic school?

Social developments in the last decade, such as the rise of right-wing populist currents, the increase in agitation, insults and fake news in public discourse, religious extremism and the increasing willingness of certain groups to use violence at demonstrations raise the question of whether the democratic culture and democracy as a democracy as a form of government (not only in Germany) are in danger. In the school system, we teachers play an important role as key players - as we are jointly responsible for teaching key democratic competences.

By this term I mean competences that are necessary to participate in democracy as a way of life and to actively shape it in community with other to actively shape it in community with other people, to commit oneself to a democratic form of society and to help shape it through participation and involvement.

Are you involved in the decision-making processes at school? If yes, do you consider this sufficient? If you are not involved in such a mechanism, do you consider this a shortcoming? If you were part of this formation, what would it bring to you and its democratic culture?

By all means! - As a voting member of both the general and school conferences, I am jointly responsible for school development, the budget and study trips, for example.

Can you create a suitable democratic environment for your students in class? Can you explain this with an example?

There are, of course, subjects such as politics that are more suitable for discussing concrete questions and topics regarding democracy in class. Possible questions could be: What is democracy? When does democracy work? Where is democracy heading? How democratic is the internet?

Ultimately, however, it is the task of every classroom and thus of every teacher, quite independently of subject content, to work towards proactive democracy-building. A simple and best example of grassroots democracy is the election of class representatives (or course representatives) at the beginning of the school year.

What do you think school governance should look like in an institution with a democratic school culture?

For me, a democratic school culture includes democratic design, discussion and dispute culture. Organisational and administrative processes should be managed according to the principles of participation, delegation and transparency.

Who do you think has the leading role in creating a democratic school culture? The central government, the local government or the school management?

The legal framework is set by politics in the form of the School Administration Act. For a successful implementation, all members of the school family are important. Only when everyone is pulling in the same direction can it be right and productive.

Do you think that this and similar projects contribute to creating a democratic school culture?

Absolutely! A very good way to establish a democratic standard in schools across Europe.

We would like to thank our guest Mr. Michael Schmitt for participating in our interview and for sharing her feelings and thoughts with us.

 

Parent Representative

We conducted an interview with one of the parents of our school as part of our project "Building a Democratic School Culture", which we carried out under the European Union Programme for Education, Youth and Sport.

First of all, we would like to thank Ms Wiebke Peters for taking part in the interview.

 

How did you feel about the fact that a project on "Building a democratic school culture" was carried out at your school? What do you think about this topic?

It was very exciting to hear the views and experiences of the other participants. Here in the state of Bremen, we are already very far along in terms of the involvement of the different stakeholders in decision-making, as pupils and parents as well as teachers are involved in the decision-making process, especially through the school conferences. The exchange of our pupils with pupils from the participating countries is an important contribution to promoting the interests of our pupils for different perspectives and democratic structures.

When you look at our school and other schools where your child or children are educated, can you talk about the deficits you see or feel in terms of democracy in schools?

The structures of our schools provide for democratic participation of children and parents in decision-making processes. Only the recruitment of pupils and parents to take on such positions could be improved in my opinion.

Does the school management consult you on decisions made in the school? If yes, do you think this is sufficient, if no, what would you like to say about this?

I feel well informed by our school management. She is also always available to answer my questions.

Do you think that the Parent Teacher Association meetings are held in a democratic environment? Could you give us your opinion about these meetings?

If by these meetings we mean participation in general conferences, then I can say that the meetings take place in a democratic environment. Parents' representatives have the opportunity to learn about the issues that concern the teachers. Moreover, participation in these conferences is very beneficial for decision-making in the school conferences.

Do you think that the involvement or contribution of parents to school governance is sufficient? What do you think can be done in this regard?

In my opinion, parents are sufficiently involved in the school administration. Only the (digital) exchange of information between all parents (i.e. not only parent representatives) among themselves and with the school management and teachers could be improved by creating an appropriate platform.

What do you think school governance should look like in an institution with a democratic school culture? Can you take action in this direction?

In the state of Bremen, school administration is already very democratically organised. By taking on corresponding offices, parents are also able to be involved in the decision-making processes.

Who do you think has the leading role in creating a democratic school culture? The central government, the local government or the school management? Can you share your ideas with us?

Here, all the aforementioned actors need to work together. The central or local government must create the appropriate legal provisions to provide the framework for the democratic school culture. The school management is then responsible for engaging parents and students to participate in the decision-making process.

Do you think that this and similar projects contribute to creating a democratic school culture?

I had the impression that the other participants were already very interested in the democratic structures that are already very far-reaching here in the state of Bremen and will carry these experiences on to their own countries. Therefore, I assume that such events can definitely contribute to the creation of a democratic school culture.

We would like to thank our guest Ms Wiebke Peters for taking part in our interview and for sharing her feelings and thoughts with us.

Student

 We conducted an interview with a student from our school as part of our project "Building a democratic school culture", which we carried out within the framework of the European Union Programme for Education, Youth and Sport.

First of all, we would like to thank Ms Aylin Bicer for taking part in the interview.

You have been learning at this school for three years. How did you feel about the fact that a project on "Building a democratic school culture" was carried out at your school? What do you think about this topic?

I think it is one of the most important topics in school. On the one hand, it is important to show and teach students what rights they have and that they should form their own opinions, on the other hand, it is important to show how important democracy is and that it is a privilege for German students that democracy is commonplace, because in other countries students do not have the same freedoms as we do.

When you look at the four years at this school and the thirteen years you spent at the school together with kindergarten, can you talk about the deficits you see or feel in terms of democracy in the institutions where you study?

There are definitely some deficits! When I think about kindergarten and primary school, I don't remember so well. The only thing I can remember and would say about these institutions is that the aspect they should improve in terms of democracy is that children should have the opportunity to decide more for themselves. In kindergarten and primary school, you always did what someone told you to do. Children should have more freedom to decide what they want to do. When I went to my first secondary school, we learned more about forming our own opinions, but we didn't have the freedom to use them. We learned it theoretically, but we can't use it practically, which is a big shortcoming. When I went to my second secondary school, I learnt the practical part of using my opinion and my voice. I could participate in decisions and everyone took my opinion seriously. This is where I learned what democracy really is.

What responsibilities do you think students should take on in a democratic school?

My school is very democratic. The tasks that the students should do in a democratic school are definitely to form their own council. The council should represent the students before the parents, the school management, the teachers, the parents and even the local government. The students should have the courage to speak out and represent their opinions before these actors.

Would you like to be part of the decision-making process in the school? What do you think you and the democratic culture would gain from being part of this mechanism?

I would definitely like to participate in the decision-making mechanisms at school, and to be honest, I already do. Our school takes democracy very seriously and always adheres very closely to the German school constitution. In the school conference referendum calls, we as students have a voice and can participate in the decision-making process. This gives me as a pupil a feeling of security and freedom. Pupils get the feeling that school is not only about learning things that are prescribed by the government. School is also the interaction between different stakeholders and something where students are supposed to develop their personality. This is what the students feel when they participate in decision-making.

Do you think that there is a sufficient democratic atmosphere in the classroom? If yes, what do you think can be done to improve it further, if no, what can be done to turn the classes into a democratic environment?

Yes, there is enough democratic atmosphere in the classroom. But it depends mainly on what the teacher and the school management convey. If they try to show you that you can be free, the atmosphere in the classroom will be like that. Communication and understanding are the most important aspects to create a democratic atmosphere in the classroom. This is what the school management and teachers should convey to the students so that they feel comfortable to speak their mind.

What do you think school governance should look like in an institution with a democratic school culture?

They must be open to all stakeholders. School administrators must be willing to listen to everyone. They also need to be solution-oriented and try to help the students as much as possible. Most students are afraid of the school administration. This atmosphere cannot be part of a democratic school culture. An important aspect for a democratic school culture is communication at eye level between the school management and the other stakeholders.

What do you think a teacher should be like in an institution with a democratic school culture?

Teachers need to teach students that they can develop their own opinions, express criticism, make requests or express their opinions on various issues. Teachers should support this process and help students to form critical opinions.

Who do you think has the leading role in creating a democratic school culture? The central government, the local government, the school administration or the teachers?

It should be a collective action. Every individual must participate in creating a democratic school culture. The central and local government must create the external conditions, such as the constitution, in which the democratic rights are written down for everyone. The school administration must pass on the external conditions and rights to the teachers, and the teachers must pass them on to the students.

Do you think that this and similar projects will help to create a democratic school culture?

I think these projects are very important to improve democracy in schools. Especially in other countries. I learned through the project that in many countries there are no democratic schools. I think that the system in Germany is very good and we should use this to show other countries how to build a democratic school culture. In my opinion, these projects should be carried out until every country has introduced a democratic school culture in its system.

We would like to thank our guest Ms Aylin Bicer for taking part in our interview and for sharing her feelings and thoughts with us.