At the MOS München, students don’t feel like a number, they feel like themselves because teachers are interested in them as people, they make them feel as people. It’s not only what happens in classes but the interpersonal contact that happens in between, the problems, the feedback, the emotions, the frustrations…There are much more things that happen that are closer to reach the school goals than the curriculum.
These are just some of the wonderful insights given by the amazing Karina Stanglmayr, teacher at MOS München.
«The students here don’t feel like a number, they feel like themselves»
I just remember talking to one of the students last year at a party and she told me that here at the MOS she doesn’t feel like a number, she feels like herself and I think that’s a great sentence which explains at all. At other schools students are just numbers, it’s just one class. Teachers may not even be interested in every single student, what is not possible because they have so many classes and they have so much to do with the whole evaluation process and deciding who is good and who is bad.
Here the teacher is actually interested in the students as people so they feel as people and no just somebody.
«We have a lot of things happening apart from the classes that might be closer for reaching our schools goals than with the curriculum»
What happens in between the classes is as important as what happens during the classes: the interpersonal contact, the way people talk with each other, the problems that appear, the emotions that you have, the frustration that you have and how you deal with it or the feedback that you give and get and how you deal with that and just the goal that we have together and we try to reach, if we address that problem and talk about it.
At our school we don’t just have the classes, we have a lot of things happening. And I think during those other events and during the breaks and before school and after school happens a lot as well, which might be closer for reaching our schools goals than with the curriculum.
One thing that helps is if you have time during the class to actually talk to your students individually and you don’t have that time if you are the one who is in front of the class and explains what to do. Then of course the teacher is busy the whole time and has no time to build relationships but if you leave that process to the students and they are responsible for their learning process then the teacher has a lot of more freedom and more time to work on relationships.
What we also have that helps is the supporting system so every student has one support teacher, who is responsible for her and if the student has some problems or anything they can go to that teacher and talk to him. So every teacher has ten to fifteen students who he supports. This group they meet every week as well. In that group we build those relationships as well.
«Success if about overcome your own difficulties and learn from it«
In our society a lot of people if they hear success they think about earning a lot of money and in school having good marks so you have the highest possible graduation that you can get a job where you earn a lot of money. For me that’s not success. I would see it in more individual level so success is if you manage to surpass yourself, if you have a difficulty and you manage to face it and find some kind of solution or that you learned something about yourself.
«We have a class council every week in each class«
I would say, the methodology at our school in general but also in my different classes are very various, very diverse and it’s difficult to say each lesson looks like that. In general we have some input phase and then the rest of the lesson is free work by the students and they can decide whether they want to stay in the classroom or go somewhere else. We have those study rooms in the hallways that they can use during the classes as well.
It depends on the subject and it depends on the student as well. I have very different subject with Maths and English. In Maths homework is definitely necessary and because it just takes so much practice in Math to get better, to understand the tasks, to know what to do. I would say that’s the main thing in maths. At least in this curriculum, in our system, so for being good in the final exam, in maths you have to practice a lot. I write tasks that students have to do for the next lesson but I never control that. It’s up to the students if they think they want to do it or not.
We have something that is called class council every week in each class and there are two teachers responsible for one class and so the class and the teacher meet every week for 45 minutes and have time to talk about issues. It might be organizational things but it can also be conflicts. So if conflicts in that class arise, the class can talk about it and I as a teacher try only to moderate it.
«Evaluation is just a feedback. It is not taken into account at the end of the graduation»
So we have different classifications of evaluation which are product, presentation, portfolio, written test and the working behaviour. And there are some kind of marks, we call them categories because it is not just a number, it means something and the important thing is that our evaluation isn’t taken into account at the end of the graduation, it’s just a feedback, so that the students know where they have to improve or where their strengths are.