Bringing grand visions to life
Work on the framework concept to bring the university school to life was officially launched in early 2020. In various working groups, researchers, teachers and students regularly exchange ideas on how the basic ideas can be implemented. “In pedagogy, the dream of a school that promotes inclusion, heterogeneity and differentiated learning has long existed. As a public school, the new university school should in principle be open to everyone, from the first to the 13th grade.
We have to make sure,” says Nadine Spörer, “that children from all social classes have the same opportunities for the best possible education. One of the goals must be to bring children from different family backgrounds together and let them learn together in one school – so that they also learn from each other,” she says. Many cities are socially segregated. The unequal distribution of different population groups – such as wealthy and disadvantaged families – among individual districts has consequences for learning at a school, said Spörer.
The university school should not only enable joint learning, but also support each child according to his or her individual abilities. To this end, there should be different learning rooms in which the children can spend time with different learning elements at their own discretion. Convertible rooms, studios and workshops are to make teaching flexible and can be used for courses beyond school lessons. The concept provides space for new teaching and learning practices to give each child the chance to develop according to their own needs and abilities.
The school should be at the centre of the community here and therefore involve many different people and aspects of life. For example, the craftsman from next door or the cook from the canteen could become part of the learning project so that the pupils could also learn from them. “Here, school becomes a meeting place for children and parents, for people from the city, scientific institutions and the university,” says Katrin Völkner, who is active in the project as an expert for knowledge transfer in education. “In addition to classic teaching methods, there will be plenty of room in the university school for discussion rounds, learning groups and independent project work. And in order to create optimal learning conditions for each child, the teachers will work closely with psychologists as well as social and remedial educators,” she explains.