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German secondary education includes five types of school. The Gymnasium is designed to prepare pupils for higher education and finishes with the final examination Abitur, after grade 12 or 13. Other than this, there is the Gesamtschule, which combines the Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium. There are also Förder- or Sonderschulen.
One in 21 pupils attends a Förderschule. Many of Germany’s hundred or so institutions of higher learning charge little or no tuition by international comparison. Students usually must prove through examinations that they are qualified. A special system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung allows pupils on vocational courses to do in-service training in a company as well as at a state school. Historically, Lutheranism had a strong influence on German culture, including its education.
Martin Luther advocated compulsory schooling so that all people would independently be able to read and interpret the Bible. This concept became a model for schools throughout Germany. During the 18th century, the Kingdom of Prussia was among the first countries in the world to introduce free and generally compulsory primary education, consisting of an eight-year course of basic education, Volksschule. In 1810, after the Napoleonic wars, Prussia introduced state certification requirements for teachers, which significantly raised the standard of teaching. The final examination, Abitur, was introduced in 1788, implemented in all Prussian secondary schools by 1812 and extended to all of Germany in 1871. When the German Empire was formed in 1871, the school system became more centralized. In 1872, Prussia recognized the first separate secondary schools for females.
As learned professions demanded well-educated young people, more secondary schools were established, and the state claimed the sole right to set standards and to supervise the newly established schools. By the turn of the 20th century, the four types of schools had achieved equal rank and privilege, although they did not have equal prestige. Most pupils continued at these schools for another four-year course. Those who were able to pay a small fee went on to a Mittelschule that provided a more challenging curriculum for an additional one or two years. National Socialist ideology was integrated into the school system, however the basic education system remained unchanged. The Hitler Youth accepted students aged 7-18, and education often focused more on Nazism and Nazi-related activities, rather than traditional academic subjects.
Soviet Union, France, United Kingdom, and the U. Nazi ideology was eliminated from the curriculum. They installed educational systems in their respective occupation zones that reflected their own ideas. Multi-state agreements ensure that basic requirements are universally met by all state school systems. 6 to the age of 16. Graduation certificates from one state are recognized by all the other states.