Innovative schools

Tablets instead of blackboards: modern schools see innovative educational concepts as the way forward. Four examples.

dpa - Education

Responsibility and active participation

Rather than following a standardised approach, one primary school in the small North German town of Schüttorf –  Grundschule auf dem Süsteresch – is all about individualised learning and fostering an enthusiasm for research. Children are given responsibility at an early age by being entrusted with jobs in the classroom or chairing the weekly class meeting. “We will need creative and original thinkers in future”, says deputy head Heike Draber, “and the children of today must learn how to solve the problems of tomorrow.” The school won the 2016 German School Award for its innovative concept.

Everyone is welcome

“We are a school first and foremost, and only then a grammar school!” is the motto of the Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium, a grammar school in Pulheim near Cologne. In 2016, the school won the Jakob Muth Award for its inclusive culture of learning that integrates disabled pupils, and for its work with refugee children in two international “welcome classes”. Contrary to many preconceptions, inclusion and achievement are not mutually exclusive here: last year, nearly all the students passed their Abitur exams (qualifying them for university), a third of them even achieving much higher than average marks.

Creating a learning environment

Completed in 2016, the Grundschule Wörthsee – a primary school in Bavaria – knows just how to create the best possible atmosphere for learning. Everything happens in one place here: classrooms and learning spaces are open-plan, with modern and diverse instruction taking place at flexible triangular desks, while a large “market square” in the middle gives pupils the chance to exchange views and thoughts, or to take some time out. Teachers at the school have found this particular learning environment to have a positive impact on the children’s behaviour.

Digital education: a core skill

Many schools have recognised that smartphones and tablets are an essential part of modern life these days. Gymnasium Würselen, a grammar school in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, won the 2017 delina Innovation Prize for its digital education concept. The school had introduced “laptop classes” in 2008, though this proved unsuccessful due to a lack of any proper didactic concept. The jury was impressed by the way the school had revised the concept and come up with a new approach, pupils now learning on tablet computers. The way they learn differs according to their age and the subject in question. In addition, teachers are provided with regular further training courses.

 The “didacta“ education trade fair will take place in Stuttgart from 14 to 18 February 2017