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DISJ - small and powerful

A pupil's typical schoolday in the German International School Jeddah

It is nearly 8 o’clock in the morning – 9-year old André gets off the bus, passes the school gate of the German International School and returns with a smile the greeting of the teacher on duty. He will meet this teacher again in one of the next lessons – and André is looking forward to that. He still remembers the time when he attended kindergarten and pre-school on the school’s premises with their friendly and warm-hearted teachers. In those days he had his first encounter with the English language; today, a few years later, he masters English quite well, using the language easily in his everyday life – other pupils in his age in Germany would certainly become a bit jealous of his language skills.

The school bell rings, and pupils and teachers flock into their classrooms. André knows the next bell ringings will have no consequences for the primary school pupils – the old 45 minutes lessons do not longer exist - classroom topics, discussions, project work and the needs of the pupils are taken into consideration. However, the main breaks are announced by the bell and André gets a drink and a snack to be ready for the second part of the morning. He meets his older sister who is in her last year, preparing for her final exams. Later she wants to do the “Abitur”, a German high school qualification, maybe back in Germany or in another official German school abroad. If things go well, she might even get the necessary training and preparation here at the German school in Jeddah.

André’s five classmates come from different countries, but they all speak German. Their parents have deliberately chosen a German school education for their child – they have heard a lot of good things about “Made in Germany”; besides, there are so many German schools all over the world – and being a part of this system must be an advantage. For a moment André recalls his parents’ comments when talking about other international schools in Jeddah: everywhere classes with 25, sometimes even 30 pupils in one room! André does not want to imagine being in a class like this – he appreciates the personal learning environment where the teachers have enough time for each pupil and their individual needs and questions. And the quiet and calmness in the classroom! If someone just starts to share his idea without putting his hand up – no problem, the teacher takes up his remark and it is discussed in the classroom. This is possible in small classes, and André enjoys this privilege.

André’s school in Jeddah is an official German School abroad; founded 30 years ago, it is one of 117 official German schools around the globe; e.g. also in Riyadh. All these schools are supported – financially and with teaching staff – from the German government. Locally they are organized in school boards, consisting of parents and volunteers of the school community.

German schools abroad teach German pupils, as well as German speaking pupils from all over the world, bringing them together with their different cultures and languages in one classroom. The families have one thing in common: They want to be a part of the German school system, because they are convinced of the advantages and values of this system. And the school tries everything to make it possible for non-German speaking children to attend the German school and to acquire the necessary language skills.

German schools abroad teach and educate according to the German curricula. Their exams and qualifications are accepted from every school in Germany as well as from any other official German school abroad. German government representatives regularly look after continual training and high quality.

One of the emphasizes of the German School Jeddah is an excellent language training: in pre-school the pupils start with English, in class 1 they have already 4 lessons per week with native English speakers. In class 6 they take up French, also taught by a native speaker. Arabic is of course also taught: one advanced level for Arabic as first language speakers, and one more basic level for Arabic as a foreign language learners.

Small classes, individual teaching and education – these are privileges and qualities with great pedagogical values. Our teachers have these first-hand experiences: when they compare their educational work back in Germany in big classes with 25 to 30 pupils with the possibilities they have here in Jeddah, they are thrilled to be in a place where they can really put their pedagogical principles into everyday practice in small and individual classes.

Besides, the German School Jeddah – in cooperation with the German Consulate General - also offers German language courses for adults: on several evenings a week people from different nationalities come together to learn and practise German – from beginners up to advanced levels.

André’s official school day ends at 1:15 p.m., but he stays for another two hours in the school: He takes part in the study groups ball games and Arts. He also learns to play the guitar. Some of his classmates appreciate the opportunity of being supervised while doing their homework in school.

So André usually stays in school until the afternoon, spending time with his classmates, being together with younger and older people – no time for being bored!

Sometimes André dreams of a school where he could even spend more time with different afternoon activities; he knows that the school board and administration are working on this.

Finally André says goodbye to his teachers, greets the security officer – the school bus is already waiting to take him back home. Another school day comes to an end at the German School - André enjoyed it.