GESCHWISTER SCHOLL VOCATIONAL COLLEGE – INTERNATIONALIZATION OF TEACHING AND STUDYING
The Geschwister Scholl Vocational College Leverkusen (GSB) started in 2007 to focus on a more internationally oriented education. It began with a flying visit in Kuopio/Finland and it has grown to an international network, where GSB cooperates with five vocational colleges in various ways. Students and teachers from Leverkusen are cooperating on a regular basis with colleges in Spain, Finland, France and the Netherlands. The aim is to enable as many students as possible to get in contact with foreign partners in order to open their mind for the economic and political importance of Europe. Thereby the students become aware of the great chances the European labor market offers for their own careers.
In particular the GSB is focusing on four different levels:
In the field of electrical engineering specific lessons have been planned together with our Spanish partners using video conferences and Facebook as communication platform for the students.
We allow our pupils to take part in several exchange projects in the area of electrical and automotive engineering, housekeeping and social pedagogy. Getting in contact with students from other countries is important to better understand similarities and differences between the cultures. Though it is important to learn how to communicate in a different language the preceding goal of the exchange is to build personal relationships across European borders. Many students have kept in contact ever since.
The exchange of education staff is an integral part. Through short stays abroad our teaching staff is getting new ideas about how to shape and improve the European educational system. The training managers of our cooperation enterprises are included in this process and take part in exchange projects, too. So a network has been developed which is of great benefit for both Spanish and German students.
It is more and more important for young to gain practical experience abroad within their vocational education. We organize several weeks of placements in our partner countries in the field of mechatronics, metalwork, electrical engineering, housekeeping, social pedagogy and practical nurse. A qualified support, instructions and preparation is given by our international partners and by us.
Moreover we are hosting students from our partners. We organize the placements in enterprises, offer an extensive support program and organize meetings in order to bring the Spanish and German students together.
The GSB was the first school organizing a symposium for teachers and students in the field of electrical engineering. Starting in 2009 this idea was constantly developed further and led to the Leonardo-Partner-Project “Vocational Spiders” in 2012. The main objective of this project is to create a network for students and teachers alike, to exchange culturally, politically and economically and show perspectives in a European labor market. This networking is created by using a common virtual communication platform and regular meetings. Among other things all involved persons meet annually at a symposium, where students present a solution to a problem-oriented task. The preparation for this meeting and the work on a problem oriented task is going on more than six months and is accomplished by all partner colleges and industrial partners. This event finds general approval of both participating companies and vocational schools. At the same time the symposium stands for the excellent and continuing cooperation of the European partners.
The GSB cooperates with numerous enterprises of the region, with the local chambers, the EU-Office of the regional administration Cologne and the city of Leverkusen.
We are applying for projects within the Leonardo Program of the European Union and we are both participating in the exchange program of the DFS and in numerous activities launched by the EU-Office of the regional administration Cologne.