Formal education tends to lack formal structures that promote socialization, social learning and community building. The following text offers some ideas that may describe such formal structures. A central idea, inspired by the Saber sectoral currency, peer tutoring at universities and the Learning by teaching method, is to allow pupils to assume responsible roles as pedagogues and to verify the pupils' success to live up to the demands of their roles as a part of their formal education. The role of a pedagogue is expected to be beneficial for pupils to develop an extensive theory of mind and adequate social goals towards their protégés. With the proliferation of all-day schools, which is a current issue in Germany, guided socialization in schools may become even more important than it has previously been.
Putting about thirty pupils in a class room with a single teacher is considered an excessive amount of poor role models and a single role model that is too different to be easily accessible and doesn't have to be understood because pupils are not expected to immitate relevant parts of the behavior of teachers.
Variable entry phases from grade eight to grade eleven can create a continual challenge for pupils to rise to the next level at their own pace. The pupils can receive additional motivation from wanting to follow the role model of their own assistant teachers, tutors and mentors; they can receive motivation from wanting to follow their own peers, who have already made a step to the next level, and they are motivated to adopt an adult attitude because their own pupils are significantly younger at first and are usually not perceived as adequate peers, which aids in making the class teacher the most relevant role model. The status of a pupil as assistant teacher, tutor or mentor can also determine a social rank among pupils and, to a degree, replace less desirable ranking schemes the pupils may adopt consciously or unconsciously; the perceived social rank can further influence the selection of desirable goals within the school community over goals derived from arbitrary role models.
According to a German study [wikinews] pupils' enthusiasm for school may decrease towards the eighth grade. A responsible role can aid to complement enjoyment with a purpose, which is a further argument for motivating pupils to become assistant teachers in the eighth grade.
Assistant teachers Edit
Assistant teachers could be older pupils who are at least three years older than their own pupils.  The Unterstufe could receive assistant teachers without offering any and the Oberstufe could offer assistant teachers without receiving any. Under the assumption that an average class has about as many pupils as lessons per week every assistant teacher would have to be present in about as many lessons of lesser grades as a single lesson required assistant teachers on average. If a lesson required four assistant teachers every teacher would have about eight pupils to observe and would miss four hours in his or her own class per week, if no free hours could be used for the purpose. Free hours are not uncommon in the sixth form grades and could be planned for.
Assistant teachers would potentially be very strongly motivated as the role itself could be seen as a responsibility and privilege and could bring further privileges. The younger pupils would mostly be perceived as too young to be acceptable as peers so the assistant teachers would also be psychologically motivated to act as adults. On the other hand a failure to take the role seriously would lead to loss of privileges, as, for example, the permission to study independently outside class, and a permanent failure to reach and maintain this status could block a pupil from reaching the sixth form grades. This also assumes that a pupil who is unable to act as a teacher for pupils at least three years younger because he or she does not understand the school subject sufficiently has a serious educational problem that needs to be addressed urgently and may be a reason to go back one
or two grades or switch to a less challenging class or even school.
The presence of one to four assistant teachers in a lesson would allow the teacher of the lesson to delegate all tasks that do not require a professional pedagogue or an expert on the topic of the lesson. If the assistant teachers received their material one week prior to a lesson a teacher could easily delegate lecturing and guided group work to the assistant teachers. The teacher would then be free to address problems that were beyond the skills of the assistant teachers and also to evaluate the work of the assistant teachers. The work of an assistant teacher could also include verifying home work before, during and after a lesson.
Assistant teachers could also occasionally break rules or make their own rules until a grade parliament came into existance to enact binding rules. Some assistant teachers could, for example, demand to collect home work one day before the official deadline in order to prevent transcriptions, which would not be covered by any official rule and would be rejected but tolerated by some teachers. This state of affairs would be a never-ending source of irritation. Once the grade parliament was formed the pupils might discover that they could abolish home work entirely or demand that example solutions be released. This would very likely lead to an agreement where pupils were in the situation that they were themselves the sovereign who demanded home work because the pupils in favour of home work would probably, after sufficient debate, recognize a responsibility to demand home work from the pupils who would make home work entirely voluntary. Intermediate solutions could include official restrictions on the amount of home work and making some types of home work voluntary for pupils with sufficient school marks in a given subject. Official restrictions could, for example, require teachers to give time constraints, which could be verified by tutors, or allow the class representatives to reject or postpone home work on the basis that other home work already made use of the available time.
A precondition for admission as an assistant teacher could be sufficient marks in pedagogics; sufficient could mean above average (e.g. between 1+ and 2-), possibly extended to reach a quotation of half the pupils. This would connect marks in pedagogics with a privilege and would reward the pupils with the foresight to satisfy the requirements. At the same time the first semester of pedagogics wouldn't present intellectual challenges or dependencies on earlier topics like some other subjects and so no determined pupil would be excluded right from the start from meeting the preconditions for admission.
To be able to qualify already with the beginning of the eighth grade pupils would have to have the subject pedagogics already in the seventh grade. The unusual limitation in school marks could be justified because a pupil who would not qualify would not suffer any immediate disadvantage as, for example, repetition of a grade and the teachers would have a justifiable moral obligation to prevent unqualified pupils from being negative role models to fifth graders. The current state of affairs in Germany seems to be that pedagogics is more usually introduced at grade eleven and is not mandatory, neither for a pupil nor for a school. To maximize the benefit the assistant teachers for pedagogics in grade seven could be themselves from grade thirteen, so that they would have had the chance to gain the most experience in pedagogics the system could offer.
The role of an assistant teacher would be a well-founded opportunity to demand discipline. A pupil who knows that his or her teachers, while meaning well, have a moral obligation to deny him or her the role of an assistant teacher while he or she is not acting the part may be much more motivated not to blunder during those few hours per week.
Frontal instruction Edit
During traditional class instruction (frontal instruction) assistant teachers could quietly verify homework and especially engage inattentive pupils quietly in discussions about their homework or the topic of the lesson. An assistant teacher could also hold parts of a lecture, while the teacher could temporarily supervise the assistant teacher's assigned group while also evaluating the didactics and presentation style of the assistant teacher.
Group work Edit
Group work could be guided by assistant teachers, so that every assistant teacher would guide his or her assigned group. Groups could engage in their own muted discussions, contribute to their own lecture notes on their own black boards, provided a sufficient number of black boards were available, or work in pairs or triads under the supervision of one assistant teacher for no more than three to four pairs or two to three triads. In all scenarios the interactivity, as perceived by the individual pupil, would be greatly increased and the teacher would be free to monitor progress and address individual problems. The rationale for increasing interactivity is that pupils in a class are kept in a situation that quite often demands interactivity, which is then insufficiently provided by a single supervisor.
Theory formation Edit
Assistant teachers could pretend to hold different opinions about contradictory theories and present their contradicting views to the class with the teacher acting as a moderator, if required. The pupils could then be required to reveal the prearranged mistakes in each theory, which might in the end reveal that only one theory was right or that all theories were wrong in some way and that the truth was a combination of the theories which had been left out intentionally. Assistant teachers with some experience in a school theater could aim to present correct views in particulary unbelievable ways occasionally, but then use the same presentation style to discredit actually nonsensical views as well. This would, incidentally, confirm Enja Riegel's interesting hypothesis that "Who plays a lot of theater gets better in mathematics", a hypothesis that may be difficult to support otherwise. Assistant teachers could also reveal flaws in each other's theories with casual remarks, without drawing explicit attention to them.
The assistant teachers could also try to present theories from the view of their inventors or events from the view of well-known historic persons, possibly impersonating a historic figure on occasion. The more work the assistant teachers would have had to prepare a lesson and the more they were attached to their work the more they might be inclined to help the audience to appreciate their work and to make the audience understand that inappropriate interruptions were also impolite towards the assistant teachers.
Assistant teachers who have spend some time to prepare a lesson and done creative group work to arrange inconsistent theories are also more likely to enjoy discussing their work with their audience afterwards, which might further promote socializing and teaching between different grades.
Creative group work with intellectual challenges is also widely considered quite good entertainment.
One possible measure for the qualification of an assistant teacher could be his or her ability to focus on the given task as a teacher in an unfocused (peer) group. A common problem for children is that they can become distracted if they are surrounded by other children who are bad role models. An intentional test could be to offer a pupil the chance to hold a lesson without assistant teachers in his or her own class or for another class when that class was not expected to be most attentive. This could, for example, be a sixth or seventh lesson on a day. A teacher could attend the lesson but refrain from intervening unless the candidate had clearly lost control or had allowed him - or herself to be side-tracked.
A possible variant would be to turn qualification into a game and instruct a class to appear unfocused but within predetermined rules. In that case the class would begin to monitor its own behavior in order to abide by the rules, which might also be a training for self-restraint. The goal of the class could be to make the candidate of a competing class fail in order to be the first class to reach a minimum of qualified assistant teachers. As there would be absolutely no point to winning the competition clever pupils probably wouldn't see a reason to strain too much in order to stop a candidate from another class. Assistant teachers could attend the event to monitor adherence to rules but without intervening. The rules of the game could demand adherance to collective limitations, so that pupils would have to pay attention to their own and to the strategies used by others. Certain, limited behaviors could be allowed only after the candidate had failed to call to order pupils of the class in less distractive behaviors. Concerted actions could follow a pre-arranged plan about timing and signals the class could have developed together with the class teacher in advance.
The psychological effect of a teacher teaming up with a class to organize distractions for a pupil in the role of a teacher may be beneficial for the teacher to understand the pupils better, especially the pupils who are better at disturbing a class, and for some of the pupils to accept the teacher as a member of their social group.
Qualifying project Edit
Candidates could also be required or be allowed to work on a self-motivated project as a part of their qualification. That could, for example, encompass beginning to learn the native language of a country that could be a sensible destination for a voluntary educational year.
Theater as qualification Edit
Playing theater could also be a voluntary or mandatory part of qualification. Pupils who play in a school theater might be better prepared to talk in front of a larger crowd and keep their intended appearance in mind. It may be logically more challenging to disguise correct theories with apparent factual errors, like exchanging the well-known names with counterintuitive definitions in the correct theory while using the well-known definitions in a faulty theory, but the social component of stage-managing a discussion between assistant teachers may make it worthwhile for assistant teachers and listeners.
Voluntary work Edit
Another indicator for the qualification of an assistant teacher could be entirely voluntary work. The pupils could, for example, contribute to a wiki-based encyclopedia for their grade. The contributions could be entirely voluntary and the suggested amount of contributions could be one peer week, or "whenever you encounter something that seems worthwhile to document". This could, of course, also include book reports, game reviews and movie reviews. With such a "grade encyclopedia" teachers and mentors could assess the interests, degree of knowledge and ability to read up on a topic of individual pupils and the whole grade. Since the project was entirely voluntary and would not receive grading it would be an unintrusive way to monitor the actual interests of the pupils, free from curricular necessities. The wiki could also be used to compile a literature list of literature the pupils had read and that was therefore ready to be treated in class. The grades of Unterstufe, Mittelstufe and Oberstufe could compete respectively among each other for the "article(s) of the week", similar to Wikipedia's featured articles. A wiki could also be used to allow convenient communication with partner schools in the same district and twin schools in other countries, which might, for example, help to coordinate independent study between different schools. Deciding on the rules for a grade wiki, starting with no rules at all, could be a part of the democratic education of a grade.
- See also: School district wiki
Reverse test Edit
Pupils could also receive an opportunity to test their assistant teachers. This could be a lesson where pupils could judge the proficiency of their assistant teachers under the guidance of the subject teacher with questions arranged by the pupils. One beneficial effect of such a test is that assistant teachers would receive an additional motivation to have firm knowledge in the knowledge areas they were going to teach. Another beneficial effect is that pupils would have a reason to explore upcoming topics in order to be able to test specific knowledge of their assistant teachers.
Assistant teachers who failed the test could be ordered to participate in coaching lessons for teachers and could otherwise loose their assignment. Coaching lessons for assistant teachers could be organized by the grade of the pupils and tutors from grades above the assistant teachers.
Removing pupils from class Edit
Trouble makers could be removed from a class much more conveniently with the help of assistant teachers because the teacher could just order an assistant teacher to take a pupil either to a private coaching lesson outside the class, to join a sports lesson or to play soccer with other pupils and assistant teachers. Ball games could also be used to train discipline in a group and the categorical imperative, if a sufficient number of assistant teachers were available and trained in how to do that. Removing trouble makers makes the remaining class less hyperactive and raises the respect for the teacher, because he or she can throw people out of class. The teachers I remember were reluctant to do so because there wasn't really any place where they could send a pupil without neglecting their duty of supervision. I would assume this to be a typical problem of the Mittelstufe.
Trouble makers could also be required to reapply to their class, or another class of the same or lower grade, to be admitted again. A class could reject or admit a trouble maker with a democratic vote. Discussions about such a vote could also be very educational. A trouble maker rejected by one or all classes could have some very educational discussions with teachers and parents trying to help him or her to reapply, but who, unfortunately, could not overrule the rejecting classes.
Since assistant teachers would focus on the potential trouble makers in their assigned group anyway the need to remove a pupil from class would probably be significantly reduced but it could still be a sensible move sometimes to remove a pupil from class, even in the interest of the pupil who may be given a private lesson in another room. The primary goal here remains that, counterintuitively, the good pupils are removed from class, not the bad ones.
Grading conference Edit
Holding grading conferences with the assistant teachers who attended to a group of pupils could help the assistant teachers to see their role as assistant teachers more as an actually fully responsible office with all the duties and obligations of a school teacher. Not the grading conference itself but the work leading up to a grading conference and the continual acceptance of responsibility would constitute the beneficial effect for the assistant teacher.
Ability grouping Edit
One way to take flexible assignment to achievement oriented classes yet a step further is to sort pupils within a class according to understanding into groups that may persist for several consecutive lessons. The assistant teachers could verbally test their assigned pupils, form an opinion about their understanding of a current topic and sort them into foster groups and advanced groups. A class could then split into A and F groups (only vaguely related to the school marks A and F). The majority or all of the available assistant teachers could then support the F groups while the teacher or a head tutor could guide the A groups to explore advanced topics. This could also be used to give assistant teachers some authority and, consequently, could encourage the pupils to show a certain respect for the assistant teachers. It obviously cannot be expected that young pupils show sufficient respect out of understanding and appreciation, at least not reliably. This could motivate pupils to prepare topics sufficiently to be allowed to join the advanced groups.
Psychological effect: guidance to provoke exclusive attention Edit
A possible psychological effect is that a pupil could view the exclusive attention of an assistant teacher (given to an especially bothersome pupil) as a desirable situation, even when sent to the back of the room for separation. This way a pupil would be guided to provoke the exclusive attention of an assistant teacher. A pupil showing this behavior could be discouraged with the warning that his behavior might lead to reassignment to a different class and that he might have to leave the class temporary (with an assistant teacher), which could be an undesirable escalation of the desirable situation.
A tutor could, unlike an assistant teacher, be a peer tutor.  Formalized tutorship could require tutors to hold lectures for pupils from their own grade or any grade below their own grade and require a certain amount of work in coaching lessons for a limited group of pupils, so that a tutor could be expected to be an expert on the individual standard of knowledge of his or her assigned pupils in a given subject.
Having been an assistant teacher could be a precondition for tutorship and tutorship could be a precondition for mentorship. Tutorship assignments could be given from the ninth grade on at the earliest and until the final exams. A voluntary educational year could require previous tutorships as a qualification.
A currency like the Saber could also be used for tutors. The currency is a tool to motivate pupils to educate each other. Pupils who have qualified to educate themselves still need teachers or help occasionally. Pupils could buy lessons from pupils of higher grades or from teachers. By buying a lesson with a currency nobody could provide for them pupils would have a constant reminder of the value of their education. A computer based currency would also allow teachers to monitor closely how active a pupil participated in the system. The currency could also encourage fairness by not being transferrable and by being time based. Fairness might need to be enforced in the assignment of very popular teachers and tutors. While the currency could encourage pupils to teach each other the ultimate goal could be to replace it with a gift economy.
Categorical imperative and gift economy Edit
A gift economy is something the pupils could establish against the pre-arranged currency system, if they would choose to. The problem of motivating their peers to participate could be left entirely to the interested groups, teachers could claim to prefer the currency system, which is indeed easier to monitor and manage.
If you taught for free you could later be eligible to get admission to exams or a necessary additional qualification for free, which would encourage the pupils to follow the reasoning of the categorical imperative.
That would, of course, require that the teachers were able to track the teaching behaviour of individual pupils and groups reliably and make an informed, collective decision about who was eligible and who was not. A group of especially good pupils who established a closed gift economy but refused to teach less good pupils would not be eligible because the teachers could refuse by reason of not wanting to teach or test much less educated persons. A deliberate test would be to, openly or secretly, redirect bad pupils to such groups on an irregular basis and to verify the result. Teachers might want to reproduce close approximations of the responses these test persons received, on occasion. Marks for social behavior could also be used openly to emulate behavior of pupils on some occasions. A teacher could, for example, refuse voluntary cooperation with a pupil who had bad marks in teamwork: "Look, you've got a four in teamwork, why should I discuss your proposal for a qualifying project with you when I don't have to?" The pupil would be encouraged to work on his own social behavior in order to improve the response of the teacher.
A problem with this approach is that it could be mistaken for revenge and it could degenerate into revenge, which are both detrimental situations. To avoid perceived or actual revenge scenarios the teachers could restrict their emulation to positive behavior or lack of positive behavior as unresponsiveness but never emulate negative behavior. Emulation could also be restricted to situations where the pupils were known to have a strong interest in the outcome and therefore could be assumed to analyze the situation and learn from it.
Similarities and dissimilarities Edit
Tutorship would be similar to tutorship at universities in that a tutor would be a peer tutor but it would be different in aim and purpose in that the tutor would be guided to be a pedagogue and would be part of a smaller and more meaningful community. An important part of tutorship could be that the tutor's work would be evaluated and monitored with respect to pedagogical goals by experienced pedagogues.
Tutorship would be quite different from the monitorial system of the Bell-Lancaster method in that the tutors would be following modern pedagogical goals and education methods and not try to implement an efficient system for rote learning. An important goal would be for the tutor to acquire the necessary social competence to be a good pedagogue him - or herself.
Private coaching lessons Edit
Entirely voluntary private coaching lessons without a formal approach or encouragement may be a less plausible variant of formalized tutorship because pupils are not in any way encouraged to participate, meaning a pupil deciding to offer private coaching lessons already has the attitude tutorship could help to establish and may not need the accompanying socialization effect. Leaving it to pupils to make that decision entirely out of their own accord probably means that the potentially beneficial effect on the side of the tutor is almost entirely wasted by being channeled towards pupils who do not need it. This is not meant to discredit voluntary coaching lessons but avoiding any mandatory, formal approach to tutorship may be confusing a means of socialization with a means to measure socialization: The pupil who offers coaching lessons has shown measurable social behavior but the pupils who did not participate were not offered a valuable means of socialization. Trivially, the means of socialization should have precedence over the measurement during secondary education.
Waldorf education Edit
Waldorf Education seems, implicitly, to make the statement: "We believe in being nice, offering all pupils equally good chances and supporting the weaker pupils. If that's a priority for you you are welcome. We also believe in Anthroposophy, so if you cannot recognize that for what it is and the first goal doesn't have precedence for you then please go somewhere else." That seems to be, while it may be collectively intelligent for the participants, also a weak form of elitism: Assume you have a city with four schools, one is a Waldorf school and the others are standard schools. If the city has, perchance, about 25% of citizens with a preference for Waldorf education you get three schools that are drained of people with a specific, possibly beneficial, attitude. This is an overstatement but it describes an effect that follows a conservation law: Trivially you cannot collect people with a certain attitude in one place without draining people with this attitude in other places. As a consequence a Waldorf school might recognize a special obligation to offer tutors and mentors to other schools that might require them or to promote the formation of school district networks that allow the exchange of tutors and mentors. I'm not aware that this is the case but please correct me if I'm wrong.
A typical overstatement of the effect could be: If there is any conceivable conservation law at all, you might want to imagine its worst case effects and find the adequate countermeasures. In this case that would mean "Imagine that for every Waldorf school an anti-Waldorf school comes into existance".
Threepart German school system Edit
The threepart German school system may carry a related problem: The right of better pupils to progress faster and to separate themselves from less good pupils in doing so can hardly be disputed; that can, however, be seen as to entail the obligation to counter the negative effects this has on the pupils who have been deprived of more intelligent peers. Consequently the implementation of the German school system could be seen as to require a tutoring and mentoring system as an implicit moral obligation.
A difficulty is that the whole problem class can hardly be seen as an obligation of the individual but must rather be seen as an obligation of the community. It could be seen as related to the problem class of avoiding distributed DOS attacks: The actions of individuals may be without major fault, seen individually, but the compound effect can still violate basic rights in spirit, if not in letter.
Pupils who are going to act as mentors to others could be required to acquire one or several extracurricular qualifications, e.g. participation in a parent education program, youth work, work as an activity leader, organization of holiday camps (Jugendleitercard) or similar qualifications. Additionally several previous tutorships and sufficient marks in pedagogy could be required. Last but not least the teachers (or school conference) could have a veto to reject pupils they did not consider qualified and to request additional qualifications, even if that might force a pupil to remain in school for an additional year. Mentors could be asked to write a job application and apply at the school and to the parents of their potential protégés. The extracurricular qualifications could be a test of self-motivation if the admission for mentoring required them but they were entirely voluntary until then. The completion of four (overlapping) mentorships during the sixth form grades (when students are about sixteen to nineteen years of age ) would be a further test of self-motivation.
With four mentorships with an average duration of one and a half years the pupils of lower grades could receive permanent coverage from their first semesters at a Gymnasium or for about half the time if two of four mentorships were given to pupils of school types lacking sixth form grades,  which could be left to the mentors or a school parliament to decide. Mentorships could be recommended to begin with the start of a semester and last for three semesters when begun in the grades eleven or twelve and last for two semesters only when begun with the first semester of grade thirteen. A mentor could begin a new mentorship every semester in the grades eleven and twelve and wouldn't have to use the short mentorship lasting only for grade thirteen; which could be used to compensate when one of the other mentorships was not approved.
The success of a mentorship would only be known reliably after three semesters, which would provide an additional motivation for the mentors not to take their office too lightly as more than one failed mentorship could endanger their admission to the final exams. A grade or school parliament could decide to encourage or enforce peer review of mentorships at the end of every semester or to form teams of mentors to encourage peer review within a team.
The purpose of mentorship could be regular meetings between mentor and protégé to verify progress and learning motivation and to give advice on school matters, extracurricular activities, recreational activities and general advice. The emphasis could be on understanding the pupil and his or her problems in school and in life, understanding his or her recreational activities and on furthering motivation in school, if necessary, but not on giving private lessons. The latter could be the task of a tutor, although a mentor could help out and give some private lessons where necessary. Mentorship could also involve irregular meetings with a protégé's parents and giving advice to teachers, when insights into a pupil's personal learning habits were required. A mentor could also be required to write a journal and/or report about his or her mentorship, at least where it concerns school matters.
The positive effects would be that the younger pupil would have a positive role model and, at the same time, a teenager who takes some responsibility for their personal education and motivation; as another teenager a mentor would have a different access to the protégé that may be unavailable to many adults. The mentor would be motivated to act responsibly and adopt positive social behaviour towards his or her protégé, which is a goal that is frequently missing from formal education today. The teacher would have another person that is sufficiently involved to be a personal expert on a specific pupil when questions about a pupil arise but is at the same time sufficiently detached to offer an objective opinion.
One possible goal of a mentor could be to help his or her protégé to understand his or her own higher level wishes, to understand his or her own motivations behind these wishes and to verify success in acting according to higher level wishes instead of action determining wishes, as defined by Harry Frankfurt.  In order not to let this degenerate quickly into the stereotypical phrase "you learn for life, not for school" or something similar it seems advisable to focus on anything else but school marks. It may be better to ask questions like: "What are your goals in school or in life?", "What do you want to learn?", "What do you need to learn to be able to do what you would like to do?", "What skills or insights do you lack?". A mentor should be able to provide guidance from his or her own very recent experiences and from recently learned knowledge in pedagogics.
Another goal a mentor might want to keep an eye on is that a pupil does everything he or she does with moderation. Telling a young pupil to do everything with moderation is often of little consequence, telling an older pupil to educate a younger pupil how to do that may be beneficial for both of them, even more so when the older pupil knows adults are monitoring his or her success and may expect reports.
Planning and organizing holiday activities for their protégés and peers of their protégés could be among the obligations of mentors. For that purpose mentors would have to form teams, distinct from the peer review teams and depending on the interests of their protégés, which would have to coordinate activities between schools of the same school district or even distant schools, if travelling to another school district was a possibility.
Enja Riegel suggests internships in kindergarten for pupils of grade seven in her book "Schule kann gelingen!", which may also be a good introduction for pupils towards becoming pedagogues and mentors. Pupils of grade eight may be preferable and the beginning of the Mittelstufe could at the same time be the earliest chance to become an assistant teacher, possibly with an internship in kindergarten as a precondition.
Teaching empathy, altruistic goals and the categorical imperative Edit
The teaching of ethics is not where formal education is particularly lacking, at least where a subject ethics exists; formal education is weak in motivating pupils to understand empathy, altruistic goals and the categorical imperative from first-hand experience. Requiring pupils to take a long-term interest in the education of other pupils is probably a useful step to allow pupils to make the necessary experiences first-hand to understand the position of their teachers and to care for the development of younger pupils. Replacing a sectoral currency with a gift economy and school democracy that makes actually significant decisions can help pupils to understand collective intelligence and the categorical imperative from first-hand experience.
In a further step mentors could try to teach empathy, altruistic goals and the categorical imperative in an unintrusive way as part of their mentoring duties and responsibilities which could be part of a sensible role model for younger pupils who had not yet become assistant teachers and socially prepare them for their task as assistant teachers, tutors and mentors.
Training for mentorship Edit
Mentors might require diplomatic skills when navigating between the interests of parents and the interests of pubescent teenagers. Experienced mentors could train beginners by stage-managing scenarios where the trainees would have to react to pre-arranged problems. To add realism and earnestness a course for mentors could include evening lessons with actual parents, who might also currently be looking for mentors for their own children. Participants in such a course could also receive joint grading from experienced mentors, qualified parents and teachers attending the course.
A scenario could consist of consecutive dialogs with different parents and different protégés and require mentors to maintain an attitude of friendship towards their protégés while informing and helping parents and teachers as far as adequate without violating the interests of their protégés. With three or four alternating mentorships in one scenario this could become a test for social intelligence, perceptiveness and memory of the trainees. The pre-arranged problems could simulate conflicts of interest between parents, teachers, tutors and protégés or typical and untypical problems of adolescents. The interesting issues could be hidden as subtle signs  among more urgent problems, like a teenager considering to take drugs or to run away. While a trainee was in a different dialog the actors of the previous dialog could decide on the reactions of their figures upon the actions of the trainee, possibly choosing from a multiple choice list of possible developments for each figure. To keep the trainees busy a course could also employ trainees as actors.
Protégés' problems Edit
Protégés' problems are anti-patterns or misconduct a mentor may have to recognize and may have to find a way to circumvent. Taking an interest in the problems and potential problems of other teenagers may also help a mentor to recognize similar problems in his or her own social environment and to develop the self-motivation and skills to solve them.
Mentor-protégé relationship Edit
In the ideal case the mentor-protégé relationship could appear like a friendship between an older pupil and a younger pupil where the older pupil takes some, mostly voluntary, responsibility for the well-being and upbringing of the younger pupil. This could easily be misunderstood as an employment where the older pupil becomes an entertainer for the younger pupil. To avoid this misconception it may be a good idea for the mentor to take an active role in offering leisure time activities depending on the interests of the younger pupil but not to cater too much to his or her detailed wishes.
As an example, a group of pupils on a school might like techno music and their mentors could decide to organize a techno party in the school to offer a leisure time activity that accommodated the pupils' interests. The mentors could then further decide to choose techno music they were willing to listen to themselves and to invite other pupils to the party in order to reduce potential segregation. The protégés would then be in a situation where they would have received significant support in organizing their desired leisure time activity but would still have to oppose their mentors or to negotiate to get some of their own preferred music played. The mentors would have investigated an area of interest they possibly didn't share before and would have joined in a leisure time activity of their protégés, which would be likely to increase the community spirit between mentors and protégés.
Pen pal mentorship Edit
A possible, voluntary addition to mentoring could be a pen pal mentorship with a child in a developing country as the protégé. This could be accompanied by sponsoring the education of the protégé for several years and it could be precursory to a voluntary educational year in the same country. Christian communities could also treat this as a form of godparenthood, just to give it a well-known and established context.
- See also: E-mentoring (Wikipedia)
More ideas on mentoring Edit
Year fourteen Edit
A voluntary educational year, similar to a voluntary social year, could be a nonobligatory fourteenth year of education and could be planned for during the sixth form grades or earlier. The idea would be to allow graduates who have been assistant teachers, tutors and mentors to visit countries of their choice that lack qualified teachers and apply their pedagogic skills in a local school as teachers, assistant teachers or tutors.
Preparing for a voluntary educational year could be a long-term project that could already be a qualifying project for an assistant teacher.
A voluntary educational year would, incidentally, be a variant of Zivildienst in a rural community , which is possible in Germany. Regions in developing countries in need of teachers would probably tend to be rural communities and they would probably need teachers more than agricultural workers. According to the GRUMP mapping project the population of urban areas appears to be about to exceed the population of rural areas. The quickly growing urban areas in developing countries may, of course, also be in need of teachers.
|Angola||Burkina Faso||Burundi||Cape Verde||Central African Republic||Chad||Congo||Ethiopia||Ghana||Guinea||Madagascar||Niger||Nigeria||Zambia|
To give a project like that continuity and planning reliability a school might want to have a large but manageable number of twin schools as preferred destinations, which would also allow to arrange for sufficient accommodations at the twin schools. According to the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2007 Summary "good housing for teachers with running water and electricity is probably the most cost-effective way to attract and retain teachers in rural schools".
Funding members of the German Red Cross have a free worldwide home transport service in case of significant injuries, which may be a desirable insurance category when travelling to a developing country.
Parents' societies Edit
Twin schools in rural areas or their parents' societies could receive donations in agricultural machinery (e.g. small tractors) they could rent to the parents of children attending the school so as to turn the school into an interesting community to be a member of for poor farmers, who might otherwise be more inclined not to send their children to a secondary school at all.
The schools could also receive support in training the children to use and maintain the agricultural machinery, which would evidently be useful skills in a rural area. This could also be used to encourage the formation of parents' societies and to encourage adult education. Participation in adult education could be a precondition for access to any agricultural machinery owned by a school or its parents' society.
A school or its parents' society could also use agricultural machinery to become, to a degree, self-sustaining or even profitable (as a cooperative) and pay school teachers and materials from the income.
Old combine harvesters are available at about 5.000 € and may also be usable in rice fields. Refurbishing a machine could be a school project for a task group of older pupils, at least in schools equipped with a workshop or with access to a workshop. Asia also has mini combine harvesters specifically for rice fields, which may be more appropriate for a school. Having several smaller machines would increase redundancy (reliability and availability) in an environment where repair could turn out to be a long-term project.
Biodiesel processors are available at around 1.300 €. (requiring a donation of 1,30 € per pupil in an average school with about thousand pupils) Biodiesel can, for example, be produced from the jatropha plant.  A parents' society of a school in a developed country could, for example, make moderate investments in plantations for twin schools in developing countries so as to promote the schools' autonomy. A precondition could be an established democratic process and acceptable bylaws of the schools and their parents' societies or a commitment to implement such. An important rule could be that membership in a parents' society is for life and cannot be withdrawn, unless abused or terminated by the member, so as to allow continual access to the machinery and facilities of a school. Solar cells could provide energy for a school building and are also in an affordable price range. In some countries solar power systems are available for rent. Solar cookers may also be interesting in some regions. Schools or parents' societies with a way to make some profit could also receive microcredits (or larger credits, where appropriate).
Machinery could generally be delivered by pupils prepared to stay for a year as a teacher at a twin school and prepared to educate people in the use of the machinery, the physical and chemical background of the machine's working principle and its dangers and waste products. Without such a teacher some machines might be plain useless or could fall into disuse after a short time, when the most basic maintenances and repairs were impossible. Pupils could train to educate others in the specific knowledge areas at their own schools already.
A model could be a cooperation between both schools' parents' societies where the parents from the developed country financed a guest house for the school in the developing country. The financing parents' society could retain ownership of the building and lease it to the school or the parents' society in the developing country.
- See also: The ZDF makes a good case for guest houses with microwave ovens and washing machines [ZDF.reportage](media)
Pupils' coop Edit
Products made in the community of a twin school could be sold at increased fair trade prices by a pupils' coop.  To avoid organizing transport and import pupils could also buy goods already locally available and resell them at increased prices. The primary focus would be to engage the pupils in meaningful activity and to give them something useful to do which also had educational potential, as the easier method to transfer some funds to twin schools would obviously be donations or credits from one parents' society to the other without the detour through a pupils' coop. Pupils could design their own packaging with fair trade labelling and batch tracking numbers to allow precise verification of all goods resold at an increased price. Pupils could also spend some time and effort in verifying and documenting their own standards and the actual production standards of products bought locally.  Parents could offer to spend some additional money on products from a pupils' coop to motivate the effort. A school could host a fair trade market on the schoolyard once or twice a month during the summer semesters.
A pupils' coop could also refurbish computers for use in developing countries.  A good strategy may be to test components and to disassemble systems in developed countries and to deliver components in large quantities of identical components to developing countries. This would allow people to build the knowledge how to build PCs from components and how to repair them and it could allow a large number of small computer shops to come into existance in order to build PCs from used components. Pupils' coops could gather old machines, test machines, categorize components and send them to distributing organizations (this is not quite as interesting as refurbishing the machines but may be better for the recipients). Recipients could either be schools prepared to build their own machines or local computer shops affiliated with a distributing organization. The latter would allow the schools to buy their machines from local computer shops much like schools in developed countries do, but at very low prices.
- See also: Reuse computers
Foreign language assistants Edit
A school could invite and hire trainee teachers  from developing countries intending to become teachers at twin schools. The teachers could work as Foreign Language Assistants and teach interested pupils the native language of their countries.
A foreign language assistant could be invited to stay with varying families of pupils and save most of his or her salary to be able to stay with the twin school even when funding there might be insufficient. Payment of the salary for one year could be stretched over a period of several years and further visits as a foreign language assistant could be scheduled afterwards.
Inviting foreign language assistants to stay with families may seem like an inferior solution as, for example, compared to a guest house or similar arrangement; with respect to the mutual socializing and socialization effect it appears to be the far better solution.
A chance for early enrollment into such a program could provide an incentive for students to decide to become teachers.
- See also: List of education articles by country (Wikipedia)
Postponing year fourteen Edit
For college students (especially students studying to become teachers) it may be interesting to postpone a year fourteen until after a few years in college. It could be beneficial anyway to prepare for a year fourteen during several years in school already because that preparation could make a great difference (e.g. in local language skills).
Higher education preparatory year Edit
An additional non-compulsory qualification for higher education, but unlike the Advanced Highers, may be a useful extension. A non-compulsory year could focus on the specific entry qualifications required by a university and could be flexible in adapting to the specific requirements of a chosen university. Neighboring schools could pool resources to offer their students exactly the courses they needed to reach their different entry qualifications. A non-compulsory year could also allow pupils from a Fachabiturklasse to regain their missing qualification of unrestricted admission to college. Such a non-compulsory qualification could be added before, after or instead of a voluntary educational year fourteen. If added before the voluntary educational year fourteen a student might want to begin college immediately afterwards and further postpone the voluntary educational year until after a few years in college, as mentioned above. Such a preparation may be beneficial for many students because, at least in Germany, there can be a significant gap between school education that grants access to higher education and the actual expectations of the universities. One effect would be that schools would receive feedback about the gap between their own accomplishments and the actual demands of higher education at specific universities if they might have to provide the missing education themselves. Today that communication channel seems to be restricted to curricula and the personal information needs of individual teachers. A pupil participating in a higher education preparatory year could be required to participate in the school community as a tutor and mentor, which could also contribute to the motivation of the pupil to maintain his or her own learning motivation through difficult topics. Psychologically this could be a welcome change that also required some discipline and self-motivation and could also provide a sense of achievement. Before deciding for or against a higher education preparatory year a pupil could contact the chosen university and request their official list of preconditions for a faculty or subject. At the beginning of a higher education preparatory year a student could visit the chosen university and collect example exercises, interview college students, attend some lectures and could try to get the literature list for the following year. Universities could also make their lectures for first semester students available online, so that pupils could attend a lecture form a PC in their school and read the lecture notes and the exercises online.
Parent education program Edit
A situation where parents could both care for other people's children and learn applied pedagogy would be if parents were invited ahead of time to participate in the general education and upbringing of children of an age slightly above the age of their oldest child.  This could be organized at the school of their own children, a secondary school their children were likely to attend or, of course, any other school.
Fifteen schools in Berlin are going to offer voluntary courses based on STEP beginning in 2006 with support from the Regional Institute for School and Media of the federal state Brandenburg. One school has already implemented mandatory STEP courses for parents. 
A rationale why it seems a good choice for teachers to hold parent education courses is that teachers are pedagogues and already have a significant knowledge in this area, which seems likely to be beneficial for a course. The effects of better parent education are also likely to have an immediate influence on the work of the teachers: Pupils with a better socialization / upbringing are likely to make the work of their teachers easier and more rewarding.
Continual parent education Edit
A program for continual parent education could be organized as continual adult education in schools.
With a bit of formal organization parents could be invited to attend lessons in pedagogy themselves and participate in organizing activities for pupils. Possible activities include (e.g.) Creativity, Action, Service, organized leisure time activities, holiday camps and mentoring of pupils. This could also include organized contacts between the participants and the parents of the older pupils in order to exchange experiences.
In the manner of an inter-generational contract parents could expect that any contribution on their side would be honored by their successors. A formal framework might, however, help to encourage trust in such a system, especially if it lacked an official responsible body.
Such a program could require separate qualification for Unterstufe, Mittelstufe and Oberstufe in order to restrict participants to contribute only to curricular courses they were qualified for.
Qualified parents could, for example, participate in the training for mentorship of pupils older than their own children, which were likely to be grades providing mentors for their own children, and later participate in the same training for the grades of their own children, too.
Flexible tracking Edit
The big-fish-little-pond-effect  describes the effect that pupils in an average learning group may be more motivated than in a superior learning group, where they may appear much less successful. Another effect is, however, that permanently unchallenged pupils may learn that school is easy and boring, which can make it increasingly difficult to teach them self-motivated learning. Therefore finding the right degree of challenge, without overstraining, may require more fine-tuning than schools are usually pepared to handle.
The detrimental effect of severely inhomogeneous learning groups may make a large group of average students appear to be sufficiently good pupils while they may actually be unchallenged. One could argue that the pupils have a right to learn in learning groups that present them with a sufficient challenge so as to make learning interesting, even if that might come with the responsibility to teach less proficient pupils because removal of better pupils could be seen as a detrimental effect in itself, which might have to be countered. Incidentally Waldorf education is in part about avoiding just that detrimental effect.
A flexible assignment to achievement oriented classes would allow the teachers to assign a pupil to the class where he or she was best placed. In schools that have several classes for the same grade this would mean that pupils could be offered (or forced) to change their current class if their performance was better or worse than the intended level for their current class. The Integrierte Gesamtschule implements something similar.
Adapted to the threepart secondary school system in germany (Gymnasium, Realschule, Hauptschule ) a teacher might also be able to reassign a pupil to a different school type (for the next day already and to a predetermined  school). The threepart school system is an attempt to avoid inhomogeneous learning groups but it may be too coarse and it may suffer from the parents' pressure to get their children on the type of school they view as the best choice, e.g. a Gymnasium (or a Gesamtschule with equivalent offers). 
Flexible assignment makes it much easier to reassign pupils who are obviously in the wrong learning group and at the same time allows pupils to understand and take control of their own mobility in the education system. Another advantage is that teachers gain more respect from pupils, if they have the power to reassign somebody to a different class or even school without a long and unlikely process in a school conference.
Pupils are also motivated to organize their own community, including a democratic system and a process of appeals for pupils who feel mistreated by teachers. If pupils react to this challenge this would put a certain control about the assignment to classes in the hands of the pupils and, possibly, allow a class to reassign pupils they perceive as misplaced or to reaccept pupils who have been removed from a class or the school. This way reassignment would also create some more valuable conflict potential for a school system prepared to make use of it for educational purposes.
It might also be very educational for a pupil to be rejected by a class, after a trial period, because he or she was disturbing the class. That is not a complaint pupils hear very regularly from other pupils, as it is usually not something pupils see as their problem; when such a complaint is made it is usually ineffective, because the complaining pupil has no power.
The more successful classes could be commonly expected to provide coaching lessons to less successful classes or at other schools, e.g. as a requirement to be allowed to leave classes and work independently, which could be the goal for all pupils on a Gymnasium, before finishing grade ten.
Classes with different levels would also create an extra challenge to aim for good marks, which may be beneficial for some pupils. Pupils could also be allowed to visit a different class or school type for two weeks and be allowed to stay if the change seemed beneficial for the pupil and acceptable for the class. Visiting pupils could be assigned a personal guide to help them, lead them around and introduce them to other people. An important learning effect here would be, again, that pupils would be encouraged to respect their position in the educational system and to accept that their easy and observable upward and downward mobility in the system was mostly in their own control.
The class(es) with the lowest challenge at a Gymnasium could be Realschulklassen, with the explicit goal to allow pupils who remained there to make the final exam for a Realschule at the end of grade ten. Pupils with the recommendation to visit a Realschule  could start out in such a class and have a very easy and convenient way to switch to the more challenging class(es). At some point such a class might be empty and go away or be replaced by a new, more challenging class. An emptying class would have the, previously mentioned, advantages that the teacher of the remaining pupils would have more time for the individual pupils and the pupils would be motivated to follow the others.
A challenge for teachers would be to distinguish between pupils who reacted with bad marks to being unchallenged and pupils who were overstrained in their learning group. The necessary insights into the learning habbits and motivation of individual students may be much easier to gather with the help of assistant teachers and mentors.
Flexible assignment provides additional motivation, allows to form more homogeneous learning groups and also solves the problem of the early choice of the next school type at the age of 10 or 11, which is considered to be too hard to decide by some people.  Repeating a grade could become just a special case of reassignment and also happen within a semester. A pupil voluntarily repeating a grade or being reassigned to a lesser grade could be allowed to pick any level of difficulty he or she would deem adequate; this would allow pupils to enjoy the advantage of joining a better group and, possibly, profitting from a reflected glory effect (or assimilation effect), if they would choose to try that.
A class prepared to challenge the decision of a teacher to reassign a pupil would at the same time accept the obligation to care for the education of that pupil.
Changing schools can also be a good idea to get new acquaintances. Actual friendships don't have to end just because somebody leaves a school but a new social environment may train the skills required to form relationships. To promote this pupils could be required to visit other schools of the same school type once a year or every other year, which could also include a two week stay with a guest family.  Flexible assignment may have a similar effect on pupils who are assigned to a different class or school.
Reassignment of the least proficient pupils Edit
Another undesirable situation for pupils could be an automatic reassignment of the least proficient pupil or pupils in every class every year. An automatic reassignment clearly would be unfair because there could be situations where even the least proficient pupil would be good enough to stay on the same level of difficulty. During the first years, however, there would, almost guaranteed, be at least one pupil for whom reassignment to another level of difficulty was beneficial. The pupils would have to consider the situation every year and decide when to rebel against the automatic reassignment of at least one pupil. In order to be able to argue against the reassignment pupils would have to be able to evaluate the proficiency and education of the pupils in question and they would have to organize in order to be able to offer coaching lessons or learning groups in response, so as to make sure the pupils would not be reassigned on the next occasion. This would put pupils in the situation where a school procedure was not unfair or unkind in principle but could become unfair or unkind if the class failed to act where appropriate. Pupils could learn to take a responsible and well-considered position and to object where appropriate.
In a class that failed to address the problem a teacher could also escalate the problem by increasing the number of pupils to be reassigned to make sure the pupils had to take notice; this could include pupils for whom reassignment would be completely inacceptable and who would consequently receive more support in challenging the decision.
A possible utilitarian view could be that the mistreatment of individual pupils, for the benefit of everybody else, because everybody tried to avoid being in this position, may be justified.
Having to repeat a grade at the end of the school year is a reassignment that may be difficult for a class community to object to because the holiday break could suspend communication and when the whole community meets again regularly it may seem too late to object; it may be preferable to allow pupils to object to reassignments immediately and possibly to prepare their own summer schools in reaction to reassignments.
If mentorship, tutorship, out of class work, democratic participation and work as assistant teacher were mandatory that would counter a significant shortcoming of formal education as it (often) is today: Pupils who spend their days in a classroom, mostly listening or working on their own, lack responsible social interaction in their peer group. Most social interaction in school happens in a carefree context on the schoolyard, which leaves socialization to a significant degree out of an otherwise very time-consuming social context that serves only the single egoistic goal to learn and to receive good school marks. At the same time there is no clear understanding between parents and teachers about the obligations of schools when it comes to upbringing and social behavior. While many parents would probably agree that teachers do not have a mandate to take care of the upbringing of their pupils like legal guardians/custodians there is probably at the same time a strong expectation that schools take care of raising responsible adults in every aspect, an impression the self-portrayal of many schools is likely to confirm. This may often be a failure to communicate insofar as these schools are likely to offer democratic participation, coaching lessons and many other forms of social interaction but there is no guarantee that a pupil will pursue any such offer and, as usual, the pupils most in need of it may be the ones least likely to act on their own. That's why a formal system that encourages positive social behaviour among pupils and mandatory participation in some parts of the system seems desirable.
The counterargument that pupils cannot be expected to work is flawed, as teaching something you have learned can be very beneficial for the understanding of the subject, so acting as a teacher could be interpreted as a sensible part of education. Furthermore any responsible community, and especially a learning community, can be expected to have a social contract that imposes sensible obligations and schools could demand understanding and support for their mission to spread knowledge or deny access to sixth form grades, which would also be in compliance with society's expectation that schools aim to raise responsible adults. A society could also demand positive social behaviour as a precondition to be admitted to higher education as a part of its own social contract, its legislation. Denying teenagers sufficient motivation to adopt responsible roles could even be interpreted as negligent compared to societies where teenagers leave or left school much earlier and have or had to act responsibly due to demands of their extended family and due to economic constraints.
Preparing for the leisure society is bound to involve finding new ways to motivate pupils to adopt responsible roles. A hierarchy of education, where only the teacher can become a pupil on the next level, as hinted at by the Saber, could be a viable approach that may even be extensible to adult education.
Designed community Edit
Enja Riegel suggests the use of rituals, also and especially for the assimilation of new pupils and to build community. Deriving from this it seems like a good idea to invite new pupils to join a vertical group of pupils with one pupil from every grade. Such a group could have a self-chosen well-known personality as an eponymous example (the way many schools themselves are named after well-known personalities). Such a group could meet occasionally to address problems the members of the group may have in school and to suggest solutions to the problems. The youngest pupils would probably mostly be listening and learning while the oldest pupils would mostly be suggesting possible solutions or help to discuss possible solutions for the problems of the remaining group. This group would intentionally be useless as a learning group, except for general advice or occasional coaching lessons the older pupils were willing to give to the younger pupils. The problems to be discussed could sometimes be intentional problems designed to irritate the pupils in certain grades and the older pupils could be asked not to provide example solutions but to ask intelligent questions so that the younger pupils could find their own answers.
One quarter of the available groups could plan and jointly prepare one of four buffets once a semester, so that a semester would have a buffet for four official occasions (e.g. for school theater, parent-teacher conferences or sports meetings). Such a buffet could have a theme in order to promote prior planning and joint preparation, as, for example, finding and discussing adequate recipes, limiting permissible ingredients and locating exotic ingredients.
Another obligation of a group could be to jointly research and prepare an article for a school chronicle, a school magazine or a school wiki, possibly something in relation to the choosen eponym.
Further obligations could be decided by a school parliament, e.g. theater work, working groups for extracurricular activities or preparations for a school festival.
The groups could remain together for a year and reorganize every year to accommodate and to welcome the new pupils of the fifth class. A possible goal in the organization of groups could be to merge place of residence, race and gender to match the percentages at the school and to alternate these through the grades.
A part of the welcome ritual could be that each member of a group was expected to spend the longer breaks on one or several days of their choice during the year with the new pupil and to get acquainted with him or her and to introduce him or her to other people on the schoolyard. The new pupils in the fifth grade could be asked to write an essay about their welcome groups and their impressions and to create a small booklet with photos about their group, quite unlike a yearbook, and with the purpose to allow the fifth-graders to show each other and to introduce each other to their personal welcome groups. An individual booklet is much more personal than a wiki entry here. On sport festivals the groups could also compete with each other. The older pupils would be obliged to show a spirit of fair competition, even if their own interests had shifted away from enthusiasm for sports competitions.
Every group could also be assigned a responsible teacher. This way every teacher would have to attend to about one or two groups, which seems manageable, provided the groups would show a certain degree of problem solving inside a group.
Designed community isn't meant to be a substitute for informal community but it might help young pupils to engage in forming informal community and to learn forming relationships beyond mental barriers. Allowing or even encouraging pupils to ignore the school community beyond their own class for most of their time in school could be seen as negligent. The situation may, however, often be that young pupils learn that few older pupils take an interest in them and many older pupils are not interested in contact with younger pupils without being encouraged to do so, which may leave the school community segregated when in actuality there would be more than enough opportunity for socializing.
- See also: School district wiki
Student houses Edit
Houses are obviously a kind of designed community which sometimes even remains meaningful past the school days. The idea to use vertical groups with eponymous names is an obvious mutation of this. The advantage in forming new groups each year is that pupils are encouraged every year to extend their immediate community by minimum standards. The advantage in forming small groups is that community is perceived as more meaningful. The advantage in allowing pupils to choose their own eponymous names is that they are encourage to look for examples and positive role models and receive a positive motivation to search in history and literature for their role models. The results also provide convenient feedback to teachers and mentors about the attitude and world-view of their pupils. (So do the Hogwarts houses, but in a simplistic variant.) This assumes that pupils would be allowed to choose their groups according to lists of name recommendations handed in by the older pupils and that alternation of place of residence, race and gender were only additional criteria. The primary goal to assign pupils according to common role models and the secondary goal to mix pupils may seem contradictory but actually serve the purpose to allow pupils the insight that they may have common interests with unexpected people.
A possible disadvantage of small, re-organizing groups is that they may promote community but do not represent community that remains meaningful after the school days. While some people may feel that this is not particularly important and people can form meaningful long-term communities during their school days if they choose to there's nothing wrong with offering a formal system to help people maintain a meaningful connection to their former school community. A formal foundation that would suggest itself would be mentor-protégé relationships, possibly in connection with voluntary student associations, political student-parties and clubs (e.g. a ModelUN club). Vertical groups would not lend themselves for this, as they would possibly be too arbitrary in their composition. Other ways for schools to offer meaningful community to adults are parent education programs, voluntary courses for pupils and adults and extracurricular activities (e.g. Creativity, Action, Service) that might require adult volunteers. Low-volume mailing lists for alumni and parents of pupils are the obvious way to offer that kind of service. Another example could be a pre-arranged invitation to a former mentor to attend a school event concerning a former protégé, years after the mentor graduated from the school. Another example could be the offer to alumni and parents to become or to remain member of a political party at their former or their children's school and to join that party's mailing list and attend its events for parents and alumni. To formalize this a party or association could, for example, be required to hold at least one event of this type per year in order to be recognized as a formal group by the school administration.
Mentoring organizations Edit
Mentors could also form their own branch of pupils' organizations, maybe a bit inspired by fraternities and sororities, with the goal to help mentors and to help to organize and provide services to advisors and mentors. One reason for mentoring organizations could be that membership in an organization to promote mentoring could increase a spirit of community among the members, admittedly at the price of a certain segregation from non-members. Mentoring organizations could have their own school district wikis to facilitate mentorship assignments between different schools.
Adult mentors Edit
Mentoring organizations could also help to provide adult mentors for high school students. An advisor may already be likely to become an attachment figure (psychological parent) for the protégés of his or her mentors. An adult as a direct mentor could create a more direct relationship and serve a different area of education and upbringing. While the teenage mentor may have a more direct access to the needs and views of a teenage protégé the adult mentor could allow the teenage protégé insights into adult life and working life. Mentoring organizations could require potential protégés to become nonpaying members and perform additional duties according to the charta of the mentoring organizations in order to become eligible.
Young adult mentors Edit
Young adult mentors (age 18 to about 25, e.g. college students) could continue to participate as volunteer mentors and receive older pupils from the oldest group of regular protégés in grades nine and ten (or pupils with special needs from sixth form grades) as protégés. This would also allow a school to give more mentors from its own sixth form grades to schools without sixth form grades. Mentoring organizations prepared to accommodate college students could offer mentoring by senior college students to return the favor. For other groups of young adult mentors a mentoring organization may be able to offer the service of adult mentors.
Social internship Edit
A social internship could be made a precondition for the right to vote for a grade, school or district parliament. This would be a demand similar to the proposal to demand a voluntary social year as a precondition for the right to vote in an official parliamentary election but it could be left for the pupils to decide whether to demand this or not in the respective subsidiary parliament, beginning with the classes of one grade when deciding the rules for the election of a grade parliament. Even if decided against the pupils would have had a reason for debate and valuable conflict potential to train their social and democratic skills.
If the representatives of a grade parliament elected without such a limitation would suddenly opt to require a social internship in order to be permitted to vote for a school parliament  that would at least force the pupils rejecting the limitation to initiate a motion of no confidence or to accept the state of affairs.
Kindergarten internship Edit
An internship in kindergarten could serve several purposes. Pupils would most probably be emotionally prepared for assuming the position of a guardian and teacher towards younger children, which is a desirable attitude towards the children they might help to educate later on. To prepare pupils to imagine what their protégés can know and understand they could work on a minor report during the internship: Scientific tests that verify if the subject has a theory of mind, sometimes referred to as false-belief test or knower vs. guesser discrimination problem, are variations of scenarios where the subject can observe somebody else observing the placement of an object and is then required to either choose the person it expects to know the location or is required to describe the knowledge of that person instead of its own (better) knowledge. Such a test could easily be conducted during an internship in kindergarten and would at the same time provide a learning experience and entertainment for the kindergarten kids and for the pupils. Small children are expected to develop the required skills at the ages 3 and 4 so the tests, if conducted correctly, would probably show that about one third of the kindergarten kids tested were unable to solve the test. The pupils would learn in a practical application that the mental skills of their protégés are not obvious and that understanding the mental skills of their protégés requires forming an opinion about the individual children.
Active vs. passive theory of mind Edit
Similar to the difference between a person's active and passive vocabulary in a language few pupils in secondary education will have difficulties to formulate hypotheses about another person's thoughts when queried (passive tom) but may possibly not be likely to react to such concerns when the other person's thoughts are not actively raised as a topic by a third party (active tom).
A frequent pedagogical goal is to train children to take into account the consequences of their own behavior for other people. This may stop short of requiring a theory of mind, as the thoughts of other people are not necessarily of interest, merely the immediate effects on other people and possibly their immediate emotional responses.
To build an extensive mental vocabulary for a theory of mind it may be beneficial to go further instead of stopping short and to train pupils regularly to understand and to train somebody else's metacognition. The effect of repeated application of a mental vocabulary is that its use may become more readily available to the subconscious, meaning the subconscious may suggest or remind to use the acquired vocabulary more readily.
The need to form a theory about somebody else's metacognition may be encountered in teaching and in mentoring. A kindergarten internship with a Sally-Anne test conducted by pupils could help to introduce pupils to the topic.
Primary education Edit
Primary schools could receive voluntary tutors or mentors for afternoon school from secondary schools. For a voluntary tutor or mentor a semester of tutoring or mentoring at a primary school could be a qualifying project to become an assistant teacher. 
Independent study Edit
Individual curriculum Edit
A school that is not prepared to offer an individual curriculum to an interested pupil may thwart the educational goals of the pupil, or, at least, consume an inappropriate amount of the time, forcing the pupil to learn against his or her interests (which can be demotivating and very inefficient), time a pupil might otherwise have wanted to spend learning more specialized topics. The goal here is to allow pupils as early as grade eight to aim for a more individualized curriculum but with the additional obligation to act as an assistant teacher. For independent study pupils should be motivated to stay in touch with the curriculum but also to invent their own courses and subjects, if desired, possibly covering parts of the curriculum from a different perspective.
An individual curriculum could also be required to receive a certain degree of long-term planning by the pupil and his or her mentor, which could be reviewed by a committee of mentors and could be made available for later review by teachers.
An important goal for an individual curriculum could be interdisciplinary studies, to connect the knowledge from several subjects. An individual curriculum could also integrate extracurricular activities of pupils (e.g. like a CAS diary). An individual curriculum could also serve as a written documentation of mentoring goals and results. Last but not least a written documentation for an individual curriculum could aim to be presentable as part of a curriculum vitae.
Examples for interdisciplinary subjects or subjects that may easily connect with the curriculum but which may not be commonly available are astronomy, electronics, nutritional science, human biology / medicine, microscopy, robotics, technology, psychology, agricultural science, citizenship education and uncommon languages.
Solitary learning Edit
Pupils who withdrew too much in small groups or even solitary reading could be traced and invited to participate in community organized groups and courses by their assigned tutors, mentors and teachers.
Tutors, mentors and teachers could approach the pupils with the lowest measurable participation in courses and learning groups systematically but send different emissaries each time. The rationale would be that solitary learners might be exceptionally good and might be advantageous for a course, even as occasional visitors or that solitary learners might need help and encouragement. The attitude to approach solitary learners systematically and to invite them to participate seems a useful attitude for a community. Of course a certain degree of solitary learning may be required and should be tolerated.
Solitary pupils could be required to synchronize with the curriculum and find adequate opportunities for exams themselves, possibly on neighboring schools, because a very individualized curriculum might require pooling of resources between several schools.
Solitary learning and learning groups can also prepare pupils for college. 
Learning group Edit
A learning group could be a group of arbitrary size dedicated to study one or several subjects together. Learning groups could be allowed to determine their own learning goals for a semester and make their own informed choices for what stages they might need the help of a tutor or teacher. Every learning group could have a subject teacher as the responsible teacher for that group and one or several tutors assigned to that group. Lectures of a tutor or teacher could then be requested and scheduled through the tutors of the group. Learning groups could be required to be available for unheralded visits of tutors and teachers at all times.
The subject teacher could aim to instruct the tutors of a group ahead of time about topics in the choosen learning goals of a group that may be unknown to the tutors or require additional information not easily available to the tutors.
Independent study course Edit
An independent study course could be a learning group with a degree of organization so that the result resembled a regular course but was organized by the participants. An independent study course with sufficient attendance by pupils could be attended by tutors and teachers on a regular basis. Courses could be pooled between neighboring inner-city schools to make courses with limited demand more feasible.
Regular course Edit
A regular course could be a traditional sixth form course but with somewhat weakened rules for attendance. The topic and an abstract for all lessons could be announced at least one week ahead and pupils might decide to attend a lesson or do library work or attend a different course or learning group at their discretion. The weekened rules could apply to every other lesson only, so that full attendance could be demanded by the lecturer for specific lessons.
Independent study and learning goals Edit
Pupils who were allowed to study independently  could be required to synchronize their personal or their group's learning goals with a subject teacher who would arrange that the knowledge area the pupils claimed to have understood would be tested adequately and timely. An important precondition to arrange such tests would be that every pupil or group of pupils or independent study course would be able to provide an extensive and well structured documentation of their approach to understand a given knowledge area.
Organizing adequate and timely tests for a more inhomogeneous learning environment might be easier if schools would send pupils to neighboring schools with similar groups. This way pupils would be encouraged to make contact with pupils from neighboring schools and to attend examinations at different schools, which might also encourage pupils to take examinations more seriously and allow teachers to be more easily unprejudiced.
Tutors could help to guide groups to match the curriculum and warn groups striving too far from the desired curriculum. Tutors could also recommend that pupils should be tested or returned to class when pupils showed signs of aimlessness or weariness.
An important skill for tutors and teachers could be to allow their pupils free choice but to guide their interests, to a certain degree, towards topics covered by the curriculum. This could, for example, be done by appealing to their curiosity or by motivating what certain skills or knowledge are useful for with respect to the pupils' future goals.
Preparation and scheduling Edit
Saturdays could be dedicated to preparation and scheduling between teachers, assistant teachers, tutors and mentors. Every other Saturday could be mandatory, which would conveniently allow to get an impression for who was available for voluntary preparations. The expectancy is that a majority of the pupils would find their work enjoyable and meaningful and participate voluntarily.
Another approach could be to alternate Saturdays for assistant teachers with Saturdays for tutors and allow for voluntary meetings afterwards.
An intentional problem could be that a teacher might demand participation in a voluntary meeting and return assistant teachers to their class who did not attend the meeting. This would be unacceptable and would have to be rectified by a process of appeals, if the pupils had had the wits to enact one.
Maintaining order Edit
Tutors could have the authority to maintain order, especially to keep the noise level down in libraries, reading rooms and shared rooms used for group work and they could have the obligation to warn pupils off who failed to comply with the school regulations. Among other things this could affect school marks for social behavior.
Expected effects Edit
Pupils allowed to study independently would be able to enjoy free choice in the planning of their own learning goals and learning methods. This would probably quickly result in the insight that pupils who do not participate constructively in a learning group or independent study course have to be brought to participate or have to be excluded by their peers. The pupils would effectively learn self-discipline as an application of collective intelligence in a group of pupils, which is not as easily learned while discipline is perceived as the problem of the teacher.
The role of teachers could change to a more benevolent role of persons offering valuable help but never or rarely forcing a pupil to follow a course of action the pupil has not identified for him or herself as a desirable course of action.
Pupils who spend a lot of work preparing lessons in independent study courses would also very likely learn to appreciate the work of their teachers more and enjoy participating in regular courses out of their own decision, where this would be warranted by the quality of such courses, as perceived by the pupils.
Pupils who would not develop the determination to participate in the voluntary education system would probably fail their exams during a semester and be forced to return to a class system or to repeat a grade. A possible side-effect could be that a larger number of pupils might need to make the experience of failing a grade before adopting the required self-discipline.
Pupils who have had the chance to make the above observations towards the end of the Mittelstufe, at least in the last semester of grade ten, might receive significant motivation for self-motivated learning and the sixth form grades might, out of the free decision of the pupils, mostly follow the regular pattern of a sixth form course system. While this result might look similar for an outside observer the attitude of pupils who have taken control of their own education during the later grades of the Mittelstufe, instead of, possibly, acquiring an attitude of learned helplessness would be very different; as the opportunity to leave the class system for individual subjects might already arise with grade eight pupils would probably receive sufficient motivation at an early age so as not to accept boredom as a necessary property of education.
The democratic system of a school  could begin with a class council  and continue with a grade parliament, a bipartite school parliament for the Mittelstufe and Oberstufe and, finally, one or several district parliaments where neighboring schools would be jointly represented.
The democratic process inside a school could be extended to elect representatives for a local district parliament of several schools in the same school district or city that could take care of organizing summer schools and student exchanges with schools in other countries (e.g. developing countries). Student exchanges and mutual aid could also be organized by yet another pupil's parliament with a school's twin schools.
An intentional obstacle to joining a district parliament could be that every grade who wanted to be represented might have to organize the election outside regular hours and the whole process would be voluntary, starting out with forming political parties, deciding on programs and releasing at least one printed issue of a pupil magazine prior to the election. The reward of joining could be that appeals could be delegated, in extreme cases, to the supervisory authority of the school, which would only negotiate with the representatives from a district parliament. The supervisory authority of the school would also be able to send school auditors on request and after prior consultation with the representatives of the district parliament. The reason for this acceptance would be that by organizing summer schools (especially for the weaker pupils who need remedial instruction) and by contacting schools in developing countries the pupils would have gained support from a stronger authority. If your precedent is to help the weaker, you get help from the stronger. That would be a practical application of the categorical imperative.
In a case where several district parliaments were available a grade might be tempted to save some work and only gain representation in a single district parliament. The result could be that a grade might not have access to courses and services offered by schools it had not made contact with, so the decision what parliament to join would better have to be a well-informed and foresighted decision or a grade would have to join as many representations as was sensibly possible, which might conveniently allow everybody to hold some kind of office, using job rotation if necessary.
The metaphor "pupils as teachers" (and even "pupils as head teacher") can also be found in Enja Riegel's book "Schule kann gelingen!" because Enja Riegel has been pupil, student teacher, teacher and head teacher at the Helene-Lange-Schule.
Allowing the parliaments of the Mittelstufe and the Oberstufe to jointly decide the timetable of the school could further contribute to an attitude among the pupils, that the teachers were providing a valuable service to them but that they, the pupils, were in fact in control of their own education, which might further promote a responsible attitude towards education.
The task of planning a timetable could encompass assignment of teachers to regular courses for the Oberstufe and, to a lesser degree, allow the pupils to request teachers of choice for classes in the Mittelstufe. This could be another valuable source of conflict potential.
The interests of the Unterstufe could be protected by teachers participating in the decision-making process or through immutable assignments prior to the discussion. A desirable side effect could be that pupils might consider what they actually wanted from their teachers and what teachers appeared to have the desired qualities. The decision-making process could lead to any number of alternate versions which could then be discussed and voted on in a school wiki.
The timetable may be especially useful in explaining that the majority in a democracy should not outvote a minority without consideration for their interests. The minorities here could be the Unterstufe, which wouldn't even be properly represented, or any other group that would have to accept a disadvantageous timetable. In a first step protecting the interests of the Unterstufe could be left entirely to the older pupils. The school board could then review the result and refer it back to the school parliaments with a list of issues to be solved until the result was acceptable.
Coaching lessons for teachers Edit
The school parliaments could be granted the right to order teachers to an evening course where pupils of the Oberstufe could teach their teachers. Pupils of the Mittelstufe could participate under the guidance of the older pupils. The purpose of the course would be that pupils would have a means to express dissatisfaction with the teaching style of their teachers by offering constructive criticism.
Pupils would probably not abuse this as a detention class for teachers because they, or at least some of them, would have to attend the class themselves and prepare useful and constructive criticism. Coaching lessons for teachers could also require a number of impartial pupils and teachers as moderators and mediators.
A possible, intentionally undesirable situation could be a teacher aiming to provoke pupils to hold some coaching lessons. A newly assigned teacher could pretend to get carried away and talk about things not even remotely related to the subject, he could talk to a small group of pupils only and ignore the rest, he could work without assistant teachers or instruct the assistant teachers to do their own home work in the back of the room, he could talk about topics much too difficult or give home work much too difficult and he could insist on complete nonsense being true. The assistant teachers could willingly spread plausible but incorrect example solutions for the exceedingly difficult home work. After three or four lessons wasted the whole class could receive a reprimand for tolerating this teaching style (e.g. as bad marks for social behavior) and any assistant teachers or tutors from this class could be ordered to return to class, as they should have known better than to tolerate the teaching style. This could be done once or twice during grades nine and ten.
More ideas on school democracy Edit
The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia is about to reintroduce school marks for social behavior.  Incidentally it would lend itself to use assistant teachers and tutors to gather the required information and to grade the social behaviour of their assigned pupils.
The beneficial effects would be that the pupils would possibly receive more insightful marks (because of the much smaller group an assistant would have to observe), the assistant teachers and tutors would have a privilege and an additional motivation to act as pedagogues and to try to understand their pupils and especially the insights and social behaviour of their pupils. The assistant teachers and tutors could also be encouraged to form teams and discuss the evaluation of their pupils, which would encourage peer review and allow a teacher to evaluate their work and apply his or her own judgement to the marks, where required. As a further resource a teacher could receive a written report from a pupil's mentor. A mentor probably shouldn't grade his or her protégé as that would change his or her relationship to the protégé, which could be an unnecessary strain.
Dead end situations or undesirable situations Edit
Dead end situations may be desirable to allow pupils to understand that they have to take control of their own education. One of the most obvious dead end situations could be the intended end of their school career with the end of grade ten, even when attending a Gymnasium. A pupil who would not aim to reach the necessary qualifications to attend the Oberstufe could be offered the choice to leave school or to repeat the grade. An important qualification could be the permission to act as a tutor, which would be followed by the permission to act as a mentor at the beginning of grade eleven or when all preconditions for mentoring were met.
A pupil could also be assigned to a class with the goal to end with grade ten (Realschulklasse) in order to encourage him or her to take early measures to overcome laziness or other obstacles, return to his or her earlier class and to qualify for the Oberstufe.
Other dead end situations could be designed to require collective action of a class or grade. Lack of a grade parliament could, for example, mean that a grade might not receive any tutors from other grades as there would be no foundation for tutoring without negotiations between the grade meant to supply the tutors and the grade intending to receive tutors. The pupils could be required to design something like an inter-generational contract. That would, of course, require that they had some kind of choice to disagree with existing arrangements.
The intentional misbehavior of assistant teachers, described in the section assistant teachers, would also be an undesirable situation requiring collective action of a class or grade.
Appeals concerning the behavior of an assistant teacher could require a grade parliament, appeals concerning the behavior of a tutor could require participation of a grade in a school parliament and appeals concerning the behavior of a teacher could require participation of a grade in a district parliament; without a process of appeals ratified by a pupils' parliament appeals could be handled by the school administration in an intransparent procedure designed to irritate. The reward of joining a district parliament could be that appeals could be delegated, in extreme cases, to the supervisory authority of the school, which would only negotiate with the representatives from a district parliament. The supervisory authority of the school would also be able to send school auditors on request and after prior consultation with the representatives of the district parliament.
If pupils allowed it to happen a possible admission process for the Oberstufe could be to allow teachers to make arbitrary and unexplained choices. The rule for admission could come with a silly rationalization like "every teacher can pick one to five mentor-assistants who get immediate admission to college/university preparatory high school grades" (or, for example, immediate admission to mentor status in a school system where admission to sixth form grades cannot be seriously denied). A rule like that could be enacted every year for grade ten by a preceptor who, strangely, wouldn't stop thinking that it was a very good solution and had always been done this way. You might need to attend a voluntary evening event to notice it, though. In case of little attendance the preceptor might decide that is was easiest to just put all attendees on the list and not to make too much fuss about it.
Undesirable situations for groups and for individuals Edit
Undesirable situations for groups and for individuals train different insights and behaviours. The reassignment of the least proficient pupils would be a situation that was safe for most of the pupils to ignore and a good pupil would never be forced to learn anything from it through personal experience. Pupils pepared to deal with the situation appropriately would learn to defend their rights in a team effort against the prepared outcome.
In order to allow all pupils to experience situations where they would have to exercise their personal rights or protect that of their friends and schoolmates it may seem desirable to create a large number of undesirable situations for groups and for individuals. In oder not to give away the solutions to some of the arranged problems older pupils or pupils who had solved certain problems could be encouraged not to spread their knowledge too easily but to inquire about the ideas a pupil had to solve the problem instead. Questions can also lead the person being asked to arrive at some of the right conclusions "on their own".
A social internship or other additional obligations some pupils may not want to participate in could also be used as a constant motivation to elect a new grade or school parliament. It may be especially frustrating (and motivating) if a newly elected board was quickly "corrupted" (to support the social internship or other additional obligation) by an unknown opposition and would have to be dismissed immediately again. This could be continued until every pupil had sufficient opportunity to attack the problem if some pupils of the silent opposition would vote in favour of the pupils trying to abolish the extra effort.
Instead of an unknown opposition the "corruption" could also be attributed to the headteacher (or a teacher of political science), a conveniently difficult to get hold of and difficult to argue with person, which could convince the pupils to try the democratic approach rather than to try to convince the headteacher of their views. A very simple explanation could be: "If you think running for office and joining the parlament was beneficial for you then you could accept a moral obligation to allow the next group of pupils to do the same and to leave the motivation for them to do so in place."
Consequently parts of the school democracy (e.g. the grade parliaments of the Mittelstufe and the school parliament of all three grades of the Mittelstufe) could be trapped in an almost continual election campaign (for the abolishment of home work, against additional obligations, for a second summer holiday or whatever else came to mind).
This may also be beneficial by channeling naturally occurring needs of teenagers to revolt against some adult concepts towards sensible goals and the democratic education of the teenagers.
- See also: User:Fasten/school/ideas/school democracy/grade parliament#Motivating pupils to become politically active
Adult education Edit
Community building Edit
To promote community building between adults and pupils schools could offer adult education. A special variant to promote community building could be adult education prepared by pupils. Offering adult education in the form of courses, not isolated lectures, might increase the seriousness and the quality of the system.
Pupils preparing courses for adults Edit
Pupils preparing lessons for adult education could be required to have tutor status. A lesson could be prepared as group work under the supervision of a knowledgeable subject teacher and be used to evaluate the didactic skills of the pupils peparing the lessons. That would also mean that pupils could receive a school mark in didactics, possibly classified under "not subject specific grades for soft skills, social behavior and didactics", together with marks for social behavior. A grade in didactics could be optional, meaning a pupil who did not do anything that might warrant a grade would not receive such a grade.
Adults preparing courses for pupils Edit
Adults willing to prepare lessons or courses for pupils could be required to join a pupil association or club as a formal framework in which their work would be organized. A team preparing a course could consist of adults or adults and pupils and might receive scrutiny from a knowledgeable subject teacher. Adults without any qualification as teachers could be required to qualify as tutors following a qualification scheme for adult tutors. The qualification for adult tutors could, of course, be valid in other schools as well and graduates of other schools who had been tutors could be considered qualified. To make this conveniently possible a successful tutorship could be certified with an official certificate of education.
Using a sectoral currency Edit
A sectoral currency, like the Saber, could be used to motivate tutors to participate in the system. This is not meant to imply that all tutors would need such an encouragement but that the system might reach a much better proliferation if a certain amount of encouragement was given. A tutor initially not interested to participate but motivated by the use of a sectoral currency might later discover that participation can be a worthwhile and meaningful activity. People who would receive the sectoral currency for free could be young pupils unable to teach and adults unwilling or unable to teach. An advantage of a sectoral currency could be that pupils would be encouraged to appreciate the value of their education if they had, at least sometimes, to pay for it with a currency nobody else could provide for them. A sectoral currency might also increase the seriousness of courses if participants could refuse to pay for exceedingly low quality.
A sectoral currency might also motivate older pupils to approach young pupils and adults possessing the currency and to ask them what topics might be interesting for them. Regulation of permissible topics could be handled by a school parliament.
Replacing a sectoral currency with a gift economy Edit
The ultimate goal could be, at least for pupils in the sixth form grades, to replace the currency system with a gift economy. Teachers could decide when this goal was reached by measuring voluntary participation of pupils in activities that did not require a sectoral currency or other clearing system. A grade parliament or a school parliament for the sixth form grades could then be offered to abolish the currency system at their own discretion.
Vocational education Edit
Team leader qualification Edit
Team leader qualification during vocational education could encompass a preparatory parent education course (e.g. following the Gordon Model) and, possibly, one or two mentorships. This would conveniently provide some mentors for schools without sixth form grades (Realschule / Hauptschule) and would provide parent education for the participants. Participants would in return also receive a potentially valuable, additional qualification. This qualification could be seen as somewhat premature but the parent education part might justify that and a large number of qualified team leaders could also encourage job rotation as a more obvious choice in future.
Higher education Edit
Universities could make one or two semesters of mandatory tutoring part of undergraduate education, which could be seen as to provide a missing link between SHK tutors (students employed by the university to teach other students in class-sized groups) and fully self-organized learning groups. The gap may be nonexistent for some students but may be quite apparent for others (e.g. foreign students).
Schools with sixth form grades in university towns could also receive some students in mandatory tutoring assignments, e.g. to teach advanced topics in independent study courses or to offer voluntary preparatory courses for the university, which could close an educational gap between secondary education and tertiary education that sometimes exists, especially in mathematics and natural sciences.
Mandatory mentoring for college students Edit
Mandatory mentoring for college students could be seen as a logical continuation of mandatory mentoring for pupils in high-school.
A convenient method would be to require students to be members of an approved college mentoring organization. The students would then be free to form their own organizations or join an organization of their choice and the university would merely have to set the minimum standards for approved college mentoring organizations.
The administration of a mentoring organization would give the students also some more opportunity to practice what they learned in citizenship education. In order to encourage more and smaller organizations a university could set an upper limit for the number of members in a single organization.
School TV Edit
A school could have one or several rooms prepared for video recording of lessons. The recording equipment could allow several perspectives, so that it would also be possible to view the audience, if that was requested in advance or decided by the teacher during the lesson. Viewing the audience could be helpful in noisy classes or classes with poor discipline but also to better understand dialogs with the audience.
The main reason for recording a lesson could, however, be particularly good, or at least well-prepared, lessons. The recording plan for the next week(s) could be determined on a saturday meeting. The recordings could be distributed in realtime or as recordings to pupils and parents of pupils. To allow parents to tune in from home they could use a VPN network that was only accessible to parents and pupils. Such a network could also be useful to connect schools with each other on a closed educational network for secondary education, which could make full internet access in school obsolete if .edu domains and selected content from other domains was made available.
A working group of pupils could also cut available material into an actual TV channel for a school or a school district and distribute the final videostream through the VPN network to the school community. Parents who had access to well-made coverage of some lessons in the evening might find more motivation to discuss school issues with their children occasionally. A school TV channel could also have a changing reporter team for interviews on current events roaming the school between lessons or reporting from noteworthy events in or near the city.
TV might have a much different effect on people if they actually knew the people on TV or, at least, their social environment. A school TV channel could also provide documentaries for a school wiki (similar to Geist und Gehirn and Alpha Centauri in the German Wikipedia).
School uniforms Edit
School uniforms could carry name badges, which seems quite useful in promoting socializing and consequently socialization through social learning.
School uniforms could be borrowed from the school and change in color or style according to the status of a pupil as pupil, assistant teacher, tutor or mentor. While the notion to assign social rank by uniform is as superficial as the Whuffie it could still be useful in motivating young children to appreciate a beneficial school hierarchy and in higher grades to verify who of the pupils still assigned excessive meaning to the uniform.
Solitary learning in grade nine Edit
A very motivated pupil might qualify as assistant teacher in a large number of topics already in grade nine, which could effectively allow solitary learning already in grade nine. This could be seen as a problem. On the other hand the pupil would also act as an assistant teacher in a large number of topics and would have to maintain his or her qualification to be an assistant teacher in these subjects in written examinations.
A pupil would probably be well-advised not to qualify in too many topics and a school might want to set an upper limit of (e.g.) half the subjects available to a pupil.
A conceivable strategy for a pupil would be to free time where required to attend interesting courses of higher grades or even to spend a whole day at a different school in a specialized learning group. This could motivate a pupil to qualify in subjects he or she might not otherwise deem sufficiently interesting. As long as a pupil took these subjects serious enough and was seriously qualified as an assistant teacher this wouldn't have to be a problem either.
Chicken egg problem Edit
The idea to use older pupils as teachers and mentors for younger pupils may suffer from a chicken egg problem because pupils who have learned and have gotten used to self-motivation, pedagogics and teaching lessons when they were in the grades 8 to 10 are only available after they have passed through grades 8 to 10 with assistant teachers, tutors and mentors. As the expectation is that pupils would acquire a much different perspective as a consequence there may be less suitable pupils before such a scheme is implemented.
A possible solution could be to add a voluntary course in pedagogy to the sixth form curriculum and to recruit assistant teachers and tutors from this course until a sufficient number of experienced assistant teachers became available who had received tutoring and were therefore obliged to perform the same service.
Lack of self-motivation in early and in later grades Edit
For some pupils early motivation for self-motivation may be beneficial while for others it may be too early and impede further education. The problem is somewhat lessened when pupils can acquire the privilege to leave their class slowly, step by step, and the privilege is reliably withdrawn when abused. The goal to reach fully self-motivated learning by grade eleven may be a demand that is too strong (overstatement). In some subjects switching from a class to a more self-determined course where pupils regularly hold lessons and where pupils can choose between different courses or library work only sometimes, not always, may be sufficient. Pupils in the sixth form grades may also suddenly experience lack of self-motivation for various reasons or suffer from lingering lack of self-motivation. In order to accomodate those pupils there could be a Fachabitur-klasse, similar to the proposed Realschulklasse in the lower grades (Unterstufe/Mittelstufe); this class would allow pupils to reach a final exam equivalent with an Abitur, Baccalaureate or A-level but with severely restricted university admission.
Abolishing home work Edit
If a grade parliament could abolish home work a grade might decide to do that. That doesn't have to be a problem. As far as reading text is concerned teachers can recommend books pupils might want to read far ahead of time and monitor the progress the class has made through the given literature list without requesting individual chapters as home work.  As far as understanding and practice are concerned teachers could leave it to the pupils to invent alternatives to home work, which would probably lead to self-organized courses and learning groups. A grade showing a measurable decline after a semester without home work could receive a warning that their decision might require the reassignment of a larger group of pupils to different classes or even schools, which would probably lead to coaching lessons for the pupils in danger of being reassigned. As an emergency measure a school conference could overrule the decision of the grade parliament if a grade showed no signs of self organisation after taking control of their educational policies.
Independent learning Edit
The assumption that pupils can be brought to reliably educate themselves at the age of sixteen to seventeen may be somewhat optimistic, even if they had previously received up to three years of training as assistant teachers and four years of lessons in pedagogy. If a Fachabiturklasse is a sufficient solution for the problem seems difficult to predict.
Peer Tutoring Edit
A possibly undesirable effect of peer tutoring could be mutual dependencies between tutors of the same grade. Depending on the exact function of tutors and the degree of verification by adult pedagogues mutual dependencies may be nonconstructive by allowing pupils to circumvent intended behavior. An obvious solution to the problem is to disallow tutors from the same grade for all tutorships considered critical. A tutor for a critical tutorship would have to be at least one grade above his or her tutees. A tutor from a higher grade could, for example, contribute to school marks for social behavior, while a tutor from the same grade probably should not.
Assignment of assistant teachers Edit
The idea is to get assistant teachers to act responsibly and to care for a limited and manageable group of puils so that the assistant teachers could experience personal responsibility for other persons and might even be able to add valuable input to a grading conference. For mentors a workable schedule has been proposed but for assistant teachers a schedule that would sufficiently restrict the number of pupils per assistant teacher while at the same time allowing flexible assignment and fluctuations in the group of available assistant teachers may seem difficult to accomplish.
A conceivable approach could be to schedule all assistant teachers to a preferred class first and to a preferred grade as a second attempt, only when both failed an assistant teacher would be assigned outside his or her assigned grade. An algorithm could keep the number of assignments outside preferred classes and outside preferred grades at about the same level for all assistant teachers. The algorithm would have to determine schedule one or two weeks ahead so teachers and assistant teachers would have sufficient time to react to changing assignments without impact on already prepared lessons. The algorithm could also honor requests by teachers and assistant teachers to keep or change assignments but a formal request to the competent teacher could be required to do so (in order to avoid an attitude to deal with a computer instead of with a person in matters concerning people). Assistant teachers could be restricted to two or three requests and "keep" requests could additionally be restricted to the preferred grade.
This would allow both continualness and diversion in the assignment of every assistant teacher, potentially making the work both interesting and meaningful through a certain dedication to a smaller group of pupils; it would also contribute to building networks of social relations.
The one or two week preparation period should probably not allow assistant teachers who had lost their status as assistant teachers to continue their office for this time; an assistant teacher who had lost his or her status as an assistant teacher should probably be removed from office immediately for psychological reasons. (The first impulse was to recommend the opposite, to allow assistant teachers to continue for this duration)
P-day is too short Edit
The preparation day is only Saturday. In German schools that could often mean a mandatory part of only four lessons every other week. This may appear to be not enough time to prepare the lessons for a whole week or even two weeks, especially with sometimes very inexperienced teachers and unnecessarily large groups.
There are some precautions that could be taken to avoid wasting the precious time on P-day: All available teachers could be expected to be present on P-day and to have a work schedule or ideas arranged for the preparation of lessons for the next week or two weeks.
A school with 9 grades (from grade 5 to grade 13) and 3 classes per grade with about 30 pupils per class would have 810 pupils, assuming the average assistant teacher to qualify for the first semester of grade 9 about half of them would be qualified to be assistant teachers. Let's assume the school has about 65 teachers. That would mean a teacher would have to occupy about 6 assistant teachers while a lesson would only require 4 (to 6) assistant teachers. Some teachers could supervise several independent groups or set up groups to prepare lessons under the supervision of mentors. With all groups under the supervision of mentors a teacher would be free to visit the groups at his leisure as an advisor. Mentors on duty might have to be available one hour earlier than the first assistant teachers on a P-day, which could be rewarded with a joint breakfast with the teachers, while discussing the assignments, which, where necessary, could have been handed out in writing one or two days earlier. Discussing assignments over a breakfast may be a good way to start the day anyway.
Younger pupils could occasionally prepare a breakfast buffet and wait on the mentors and teachers , which could also be seen as a token gesture in return for all the work that was done primarily for their grades on P-days. A psychological side-effect could be that the younger pupils might easily pick the mentors as role models early.
Let's assume assistant teachers were primarily used for the grades 5 to 9, that would mean the lessons that might require preparations would be 3 (double lessons per class per day) * 5 (days) * 3 (classes per grade) * 5 (grades) = 15 * 15 = 225 per week and the number of available teams would be 65 (teachers) * 1.5 (teams per teacher) * 2 (if teams would prepare two lessons on a Saturday) = 195. Consequently the lessons that could be prepared in a group could be expected to be between one half and one third of all lessons, which seems sufficient. In lessons without preparation assistant teachers could just follow the instructions of the teacher and could be expected to either know the subject matter well enough, being at least three or four years ahead in school, or to be able to follow the lesson much easier than the younger pupils.
Teams could, of course, also schedule (voluntary) teamwork in the afternoon or during the following week in order to complete their work.
The term "mentor" is used here to refer to a mentor in the function of a tutor. The restriction to mentors seems sensible as the mentors would be more experienced and older than the average tutor.
The other P-day could be used by tutors to prepare their courses; teachers and mentors could attend as advisors.
Dependence on tutors and mentors Edit
A conceivable psychological effect is that pupils who were always surrounded by tutors and mentors in overabundance may develop less motivation towards independence than pupils required to work or play more independently. This doesn't appear to be a significant problem as tutors and mentors could obviously address the problem in their work and the later education to be assistant teachers, tutors and mentors appears to be a "slippery slope" (without the negative connotation) towards independence.
A wiki may seem inadequate for social learning, especially for younger pupils, because the more abstract interaction in a computer network could be seen as a motivation to see people as more abstract entities, suitable to provide a service but unsuitable for full social interaction and even less suitable to learn social interaction from.
The concern is not unjustified but is already addressed by several aspects of the school district wiki and other school wikis: The presence of mentors as moderators in a wiki could be assumed to allow the mentors to teach adequate social interaction in the medium and to limit the use of the medium, if exaggerated. The school district wiki seems especially interesting as a medium to establish new contacts with people living close-by, so the wiki would promote socializing outside the wiki and in turn the wiki would become a medium with more social relevance. An age limit seems appropriate to only allow pupils sufficiently skilled in writing and computer use to join a wiki; school marks for social behavior could be used as an additional limiting criterion.
Can tutors and mentors act sufficiently responsible and adult to meet the expectations? Edit
It may seem dubious if tutors and mentors can meet the expectations with sufficient reliability. This may be a weak spot. Tutors and mentors failing to meet expectations or even abusing the system would have to be removed from office with sufficient reliability. The actual process could be left for the school democracy of every school to decide, which would motivate a process designed to irritate as the default approach, which would allow the teachers to be quite draconic and somewhat arbitrary until the pupils responded to the challenge.
Can a process designed by pupils keep unqualified tutors and mentors out of office? Edit
The idea to remove tutors or mentors from office if they were considered unqualified is meant to promote qualification. If the teachers were intentionally heavy-handed in wielding that authority the pupils could only aim to cushion that authority, which could require them to see both sides and to be prosecutor and advocate when a tutor demanded an appeals procedure, or whatever else the school democracy had implemented.
A conceivable beneficial effect is that pupils who had learned to see both sides and who had been trained to disqualify teachers when necessary might become active on their own to either promote qualification of a tutor or to remove an unqualified tutor from office. Teachers could try to further promote this by setting a limit for the number of tutors they had to remove against the views of the pupils; after exceeding the limit the teachers could abrogate the pupils' chosen process and return to a process designed to irritate.
A process designed to irritate could also challenge a pupil's status as an assistant teacher (e.g. during a trial period) after loosing tutor status. The rationale would be to motivate tutors to avoid loosing tutor status, to motivate the grade to keep a process designed by pupils in effect and to motivate a pupil after loosing tutor status to recognize the decision between making an effort and possibly regaining tutor status quickly or loosing even more. This would be the draconic approach.
The point is that the actual process implemented by pupils doesn't seem that important for the overall result as long as it wasn't seen as a farce and the teachers were present as auditors often enough. More important may be the means to test and to qualify a tutor. A school could, possibly in cooperation with other schools, offer several procedures to test and to promote the qualification of a tutor. This could include coaching lessons for tutors, summer school or external examination or courses at another school. Another school may be useful in offering a more unprejudiced environment, so a group of older pupils could offer an examination for a larger group of tutors from neighboring schools. The representatives of the pupils would then be free to choose a way for a tutor to qualify again, within their self-imposed rules. Qualification for a tutor should both aim for sufficient school grades in written tests and for the ability to read up on a subject and present it in suitable form, so a self-motivated qualifying project may be useful for tutors, too. Concerning school grades the pupils' parliament could, for example, decide to lower the official demands of the school but would in turn accept the obligation to alleviate any problems this caused.
To provide a large number of offices for pupils every grade could be required to form one advisory committee per subject. With job rotation every semester this would allow every pupil to be on an advisory committee at one time.
- See also: Training for mentorship
Are school grades too important? Edit
School marks for social behavior and grading conferences with assistant teachers may increase the importance of school grades while some schools try to decrease the importance of school grades and even avoid grading entirely in some grades.
School marks for social behavior and grading conferences serve an important function to educate and to guide the assistant teachers, tutors and mentors. Detrimental effects for the younger pupils are not impossible but it may actually be desirable to irritate the younger pupils on occasion. Even a pupil facing a possible reassignment due to unfair school grades may learn a valuable lesson from the steps necessary to defend against reassignment.
Integrierte Gesamtschule Edit
Flexible assignment to achievement oriented classes may seem quite similar to the existing concept of an integrierte Gesamtschule . The integrierte Gesamtschule distinguishes three different levels (basic course, regular course, advanced course) to cover the whole range from Hauptschule to Gymnasium so effectively the distinction between three school levels is transferred to the individual subjects but no finer distinction is introduced. If the usually three or four classes in one grade on a Gymnasium or Realschule were assigned their individual level a much finer distinction would be introduced; for a Gesamtschule this might result in about seven different levels of proficiency: Gymnasium-advanced, Gymnasium-regular, Realschule-advanced, Realschule-regular, Realschule-basic, Hauptschule, Praxisklasse. Realschule-advanced could be an advanced level on a Realschule or the previously mentioned Realschulklasse on a Gymnasium.
If a pupil was reassigned to a different school it might even be beneficial, as a more impressive change, if that school was a different building in a different location, both when the assignment was advantageous and when it was disadvantageous. A more beneficial cooperation between pupils on greatly different levels of learning may be introduced when the better pupils are encouraged to be assistant teachers and tutors to the less good pupils. The physical proximity in a Gesamtschule may be beneficial for that purpose, at least where older grades at the same level of proficiency were unsuitable as assistant teachers.
This is not meant to imply that there are many pupils who are permanently unsuitable as assistant teachers but the goal may be more difficult to achieve at lower levels of proficiency and the respective schools may already end with grade nine or ten so it may be difficult to make use of the skills of assistant teachers who only became available very late in their school career.
Assigning pupils to courses with varying levels of difficulty in different subjects, like courses on an integrierte Gesamtschule, would always be possible, when the need to do so would arise. A reason to avoid that and to reassign pupils between classes that are left intact may be the psychological effect of moving to a different class, which can be a more impressive change than just being reassigned to another course in a single subject, which is not likely to impress a pupil. An alternative to assigning pupils, who show extraordinary proficiency, to advanced courses is to allow them to progress to independent study; this would further diminish the need for advanced courses outside the class until such courses were organized by the pupils themselves.
A further reason to keep classes intact could be that pupils, at an age where self-motivation cannot yet be expected, would have a reason to strain in subjects they did not consider important or interesting in order to reach sufficient marks to be allowed to progress to a class where the subjects they did consider relevant were sufficiently interesting; capable pupils with narrow interests could be motivated to embrace the subjects they considered irrelevant. The same applies for the subject pedagogics when pupils know that they will have to be assistant teachers, tutors and mentors before their final exams and insufficient understanding for pedagogics can lead to failure at each step.
A Realschulklasse (similar in purpose to the M-Klasse on a Hauptschule) could receive fifth graders with the recommendation for a Realschule or it could be set up according to demand after the first year.
In a school system with more flexible assignment to classes it might be more convenient to keep a large number of pupils who would otherwise be reassigned to a Realschule on the Gymnasium in order to keep fluctuation between schools small. If only a small group of pupils would be assigned to such a class it might be preferable to reassign the pupils directly to a Realschule but to allow them to return as easily.
Towards the end of grade ten a Realschulklasse could be the only remaining class, as the other classes could have dissolved into courses and learning groups. Pupils in such a class interested to enter the sixth form grades could receive coaching lessons from tutors but might have to pass an additional examination to be allowed to leave a class that was not meant to qualify for sixth form grades. Failing the examination a pupil would have to repeat grade ten in a class meant to qualify for the sixth form grades but would again run the risk of being reassigned to a Realschulklasse during grade ten.
A Realschulklasse could, if required, receive more assistant teachers than other classes. With six assistant teachers every assistant teacher would only have to take care of about five pupils.
A problem would be that the Realschulklasse on a Gymnasium would receive additional support while a similar class at an actual Realschule might not have enough assistant teachers as there would be no sixth form grades to provide assistant teachers. A possible scheme could be to assign assistant teachers from grade nine to grades five and six and assistant teachers from grade ten to grades seven and eight on a Realschule. Without the motivation that being an assistant teacher was required for admission to sixth form grades misbehavior as an assistant teacher could lead to speedy reassignment to another class instead or it might lead to a failing grade in pedagogics more quickly than other misbehavior. Team leader qualification during vocational education could provide some mentors for schools without sixth form grades.
- ^ found on http://www.caritas.de/8698.html (under homework supervision)
- ^ see also: Learning by teaching, Assistant teacher
- ^ According to the "Tutor" article in the German wikipedia the title "tutor" is also used in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Saarland to refer to a teacher who takes the responsibilities of a class teacher during the last two grades of education; the pupils are free to choose any teacher. This could be seen as a less plausible variant of actual tutorship. (or as a misunderstanding: "to get" -> bekommen -> "to become" a tutor)
- ^ In some federal states of Germany sixth form (Oberstufe) has been reduced to two years, instead of three years. The idea to begin mentoring with the beginning of sixth form assumes three years; two years may not be enough.
- ^ This assumes about one half of the pupils to attend a Gymnasium. According to "Bildungsintegration von Migranten" (www.statistik.baden-wuerttemberg.de) 43% of the german pupils attended a Gymnasium but only 16% of foreign pupils in Baden-Württemberg in 2004/2005 attended a Gymnasium.
- ^ see wikipedia:Higher-order_volition
- ^ e.g. a literature list full of comic books, an extremly weak subject but still tolerable marks or parents with completely unrealistic views of their children, when asked. The extremly weak subject could, for example, only be discovered by asking the actor performing the protégé about the subject, who would always answer "I have no idea", or by asking the actor performing the tutor, who would express vague scepticism about the grading.
- ^ BR : Zivildienst auf dem Bauernhof
- ^ e.g. BK-Junior (see also: Biodiesel - jetzt wächst der Kraftstoff auf den Feldern)
- ^ Jatrophaprojekte von BioKing
- ^ e.g. http://www.sunlabob.com/ rural electrification systems
- ^ see: Schülerunternehmen
- ^ e.g. with http://scratchpad.wikia.com/wiki/Esp
- ^ see http://www.computeraid.org/, http://www.reuse-computer.de/, Reuse computers
- ^ In Hesse the program Unterrichtsgarantie Plus (tuition guaranty plus) might provide necessary funding.
- ^ e.g. two to four years older than their oldest child.
- ^ e.g. Kindergeld or Elterngeld
- ^ especially the parents who are most in need of such a scheme may be indifferent to many other types of motivation.
- ^ Berliner Hauptschule verlangt Teilnahme an Erziehungskurs (Berlin school demands mandatory participation in parent education program)
- ^ Big-fish-little-pond_effect, Fischteicheffekt
- ^ The Hauptschule already has the concept of an M-Klasse and a Praxisklasse, which are both achievement oriented classes. (see also: #Integrierte Gesamtschule)
- ^ Which would have the advantage that parents would have to choose three different schools and consider their child visiting each one, at least for a limited time.
- ^ ksta: Lehrer ändern ihre Meinung (translates to "Teachers change their opinion" as well as "Teachers change your opinion"): 52% of the teachers want more mobility between the Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium.
- ^ A recommendation given by the primary school.
- ^ Frühes Einsortieren in verschiedene Schulformen überfordert alle (early choice of school type is too difficult), see also: ZDF: UNO-Berichterstatter kritisiert zu frühe Auslese in Schulen (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education Vernor Muñoz criticizes too early selection in german schools [wikinews])
- ^ Apparently the Waldorfschülervertretung (Representation of Waldorf Pupils of Germany) organizes something like that.[Schüleraustausch] Pupils can visit another participating Waldorf school for one or two "Epochen" (German term for a main lesson block in the Waldorf curriculum with a length of about 4 weeks). This is much shorter than a regular student exchange program.
- ^ Possibly separated into Mittelstufe and Oberstufe, so as not to hand down the wisdom of the older pupils and deny the younger pupils the chance to make their own decisions and mistakes
- ^ e.g. blk-demokratie.de: Mentorenprojekt - Betreuung von Grundschulkindern mit Migrationshintergrund durch ältere Schüler/-innen
- ^ Selbstlernsemester
- ^ see also: Cooperative learning, Social learning, Integrative learning, Active learning, Open learning, Self-regulated learning
- ^ see also: Democratic school
- ^ e.g. Klassenrat
- ^ Kopfnoten, WDR: "Einen Querulanten will ja keiner!", Was bringen Kopfnoten in Zeugnissen?
- ^ A literature list for a language subject might, for example, recommend a large number of novels and leave it to the pupils to read the novels they like to read. The teacher could then monitor the novels available for discussion and group the pupils with respect to the novels they already read. Assistant teachers could be useful here to allow small groups working on different topics. The number and the type of novels available for discussion could be useful information to get a better understanding of the personal interests of a pupil and might also be interesting for a mentor. Pupils could also be allowed to make their own recommendations and vote in their class for the inclusion of recommendations.
- ^ The idea is also inspired by Enja Riegel's book "Schule kann gelingen!"
- ^ Similar to the comprehensive school: a school type which combines Gymnasium, Realschule and Hauptschule. Gesamtschulen can be cooperative or integrated. The cooperative variant is three schools under one roof and educates pupils from different school branches jointly only in a few subjects, like sports and musical/cultural education. The integrated variant aims to allow all pupils to participate in courses that match their individual proficiency in each subject but does not distinguish the three school types.
See also Edit