Teaching Methods

Not only are schools systems set up completely different in America and Germany, but teaching methods differ as well. Teachers in Europe are very serious and not always approachable. In America, teachers make an effort to connect with the student, while in Europe the teacher is just there to teach the subject. Now don’t get me wrong, the teachers aren’t totally unapproachable, but no one has office hours like most teachers have here and if the student needs help, they have to ask for it outside of school. In Austria, this was especially true. When I moved to Austria I had to catch up on work in many subjects since I had just moved from Germany and had not taken classes that were as far advanced. None of my teachers offered me help. Of course I could always ask clarifying questions and they were very friendly but I was expected to catch with the material on my own. My parents had to hire several tutors to help me outside of school. Another BIG difference also exists in testing methods. Tests in both Germany and Austria are very infrequent. They are called Exams and take place about 2-3 times per semester, depending on the class. The exam dates were given at the beginning of the year and the grades made up your semester grade. Final exams did not exist and neither did quizzes. In Austria however, teachers do use pop quizzes. These are usually oral and the teacher will call on a random student in the class which can be absolutely nerve racking! I suppose it does make you prepare for each class adequately…

I have realized that in America, a big emphasis is put on grades, test scores and results. These are certainly important in Germany and Austria, but the system is set up in a way in which actually learning and retaining the material is inevitable. I have realized now that I am in college that I barely remember anything I learned in high school, because I would just cram for each test a couple days before instead of learning the material throughout the entire semester. Since each exam is cumulative, the material has to be retained throughout the semester and cannot be crammed the day before the final exam like in high school. However, since exams are so infrequent, each one is important since there are no other ways of getting a good grade. Extra credit is a completely foreign concept there! This makes it super important to study a lot for each exam, and puts a lot of pressure on each student to do well. I think students would probably benefit most from a hybrid system that combined a way in which they need to learn the material, but still were offered help and multiple opportunities to get a good grade.

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Growing up in Germany, I never thought I would ever live in a different country. This all changed when I was 10 and moved to Austria. Since then, I have moved to the United States and traveled to many different countries around the world. This developed a passion for learning about different cultures and people in me! Today I go to Villanova University where I study Marketing and International Business. I hope to be able to further develop this passion and want to share my experiences and stories with others!

Posted in Education

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