How does school make you smarter

This is how we work

The SchlaU school of the support group for young refugees e. V.

The sponsoring group for young refugees e. V. has set itself the goal of helping unaccompanied minors and young refugees between the ages of 16 and 21 (in exceptional cases 25) to exercise their human right to education and school and to participate in society. At the school of the association in Munich - "SchlaU" (school-like lessons for young refugees) - a total of 300 young refugees are taught in up to 20 classes. Around 80 pupils are taken to graduation each year and placed in training or secondary schools. Afterwards, during their training or when attending a secondary school, the former pupils receive follow-up care through the program “SchlaU Transition from school to work” in order to support sustainable integration. Overall, the SchlaU school in Munich successfully looked after over 5000 individual cases with the SchlaU transition from school to work. Since 2004 the schools have been recognized as vocational support institutions in accordance with Art. 36 Paragraph 1, Sentence 1, No. 3, BayEUG, at which young refugees can complete their compulsory vocational school. The schools are financed by mixed funding from public funds, foundation funds and non-earmarked donations. In 2018, we used a total of around 4.15 million euros in personnel and material costs to implement our offers. We were supported by around 100 volunteers who were mainly involved in tutoring. With this concept, the Young Refugees Association is following up on current inclusion debates. Targeted, intensive individual support in a protected setting enables young people to enter the German mainstream school and training system after a short period of time in order to develop there.

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Promotion in the different school levels

The SchlaU school team sees schools as a space for mutual learning that promotes personal development and opens up opportunities for the future. In contrast to the regular school, the concept of school-like teaching for young refugees relies on a permeable class level system and low class sizes with an average of 16 learners per class. Because the different life paths and learning biographies of the students make individual and, above all, socio-educational support indispensable.

School attendance at SchlaU extends over a period of one to four years, depending on previous education and individual learning progress. Classification is based on a placement test developed in practice. This tests both the written and the oral language proficiency, taking into account the natural language acquisition levels and mathematics skills. A general distinction is made between literacy, elementary, intermediate and final level, each of which is divided into classes with different focus areas. The subject of mathematics is separated from the class network and taught in an accompanying course system. Because the mathematical knowledge of the students usually differs considerably within the individual classes and must be considered regardless of the current language level. The open school system enables pupils to move to higher grades during the year in order to adequately counter under- and excessive demands and to maintain the motivation of the learners. Performance surveys are carried out regularly in the form of oral and written, graded tests. Similar to the state school system, the school issues certificates twice a year to assess the learning status of the young people, which are accompanied by learning development interviews. Failure in the classic sense is not possible, as the individual grades do not have uniform academic goals that can be achieved. These are at the discretion of the teaching team and vary from class to class and from student to student. For the transition from level to level, however, competence requirements apply, which regulate the transitions. As a result, the teaching team reserves the right to teach individual students within the same level in different skill development levels.

Learning in literacy, elementary and intermediate levels

The main focus in the literacy level is on literacy in Latin written language, basic knowledge of the German grammar system, simple mathematics and an initial orientation in the subjects of ethics, GSE (history, social studies, geography), AWT (work, economics, technology), sport, art and music.

In the elementary and intermediate levels, the content in these subjects is expanded and the subjects IT and PCB (physics-chemistry-biology) are introduced. In addition to specialist knowledge, we want to impart important general knowledge and key competencies, as this facilitates participation in society. B. the equal treatment of each other, regardless of gender, origin, age and social status, as well as punctuality and reliability.

Learning in the final level

In the final level, which is named like the state school system with class 9 or 10, the pupils are prepared for the exams for the successful secondary school leaving certificate (HASA), for the qualifying secondary school leaving certificate (QUALI) or the secondary school leaving certificate, which they each take externally at a of our cooperation schools. When we are accepted into a final year, not only do school performance play a role for us; the question of whether the pupil is generally ready for training is just as important. H. is able to cope with apprenticeship and vocational school after graduation. It often makes more sense to take a year longer to graduate than to finish school as quickly as possible and then fail in the training.

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Dealing with diversity: learning atmosphere and teaching structure

When selecting teachers, the personality of the teacher is a central criterion. As well as intercultural sensitivity and methodology with regard to heterogeneous learning groups, attention is paid to the ability to work in a team, to critically reflect on one's own teaching style and to create a relaxed learning atmosphere based on a good teacher-student relationship. A university education in German as a foreign language or German as a second language and existing teaching experience in the refugee sector are also essential. Within a short time, the young people learn the German language system from scratch. This requires a controlled language acquisition from the beginning and thus a systematic development of grammar and vocabulary. For many of the young people, lessons also begin with a literacy course, as they have not yet been literate in their mother tongue or they first have to learn the Latin writing system. Here, too, appropriate training of the teachers is necessary.

In their teaching practice, the teachers rely on a stimulating learning environment. The new school building was designed in accordance with school building regulations and then creatively designed together with the students. When furnishing the classrooms, attention was paid to using cheerful colors. Each room is equipped with a whiteboard and overhead projector, and the teachers also have access to projectors and various teaching materials. A computer room was set up for computer lessons. Each class is free to design their classroom individually together with the teachers.

The lessons themselves are designed to be competence-oriented. The focus of the curriculum is the acquisition of the German language. A second focus is placed on the subject of mathematics. In addition, the subjects GSE, AWT, PCB, ethics and IT offer enough space to discuss ethical-social questions and practical life topics. It is of crucial importance that the specialist teaching is not only language-sensitive, but also culturally sensitive. Different social backgrounds, diverse experiences and living environments must be taken into account. The subject areas dealt with in the literacy / elementary level and in the intermediate level are partly based on the framework curriculum of Bavarian secondary schools, but above all on the realities of life of the students. In line with the learning needs of young people, internal school curricular guidelines are currently being drawn up as part of school development, which support teaching in the literacy / elementary level and in the intermediate level. Examination material is taught in the final stage. The teaching materials in the individual subjects are compiled by the teachers for each class. In German lessons, existing German-as-a-foreign language textbooks are used again and again, but above all the learning units are created by the teachers themselves. When designing the material, attention must be paid to the possibilities of internal differentiation in order to be able to react to the different learning requirements of the students according to the situation. The methodology used in class should always be based on the needs of the class. New learning methods should be introduced sensitively, and previous learning cultures should be taken into account.

The lessons in the classroom are supplemented by a variety of projects that enable young people to discover and develop their own talents in order to further stabilize and expand their expectations of self-efficacy in a protected setting. In addition, we attach particular importance to trusting relationships between students and teachers in everyday teaching. One-on-one conversations with the young people are just as much a part of the school year as the learning goal conversations with the young people and spontaneous conversations between the door and the hinge. The psychological stress situation in which the young people find themselves after the trip and during the asylum procedure has a significant influence on the classroom. Teachers are always required to be able to react to the situation and to be able to intervene in crisis situations in order to maintain the motivation to learn. When creating the timetable, care is therefore taken to ensure that individual teachers spend as many hours as possible in the class in order to get to know the students. Because learning is based on a good relationship with one another and this only develops with enough time for one another.