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Corona: How Germany's schools are fighting their way through the Omicron winter

2022-01-25T09:39:37.435Z

Test, prick, persevere - how Germany's schools are fighting their way through the Omicron winter. January always gives me a kind of black bread feeling: dark and somehow chewy. This applies even more in the second Corona winter. Children and young people in particular suffer from this, as my colleague Jan Friedmann reports in the current issue of SPIEGEL. Many schools are struggling with staff shortages. In some places, only the core subjects are currently taught. And in the afternoon? Doesn't



January always gives me a kind of black bread feeling: dark and somehow chewy.

This applies even more in the second Corona winter.

Children and young people in particular suffer from this, as my colleague Jan Friedmann reports in the current issue of SPIEGEL.

Many schools are struggling with staff shortages.

In some places, only the core subjects are currently taught.

And in the afternoon?

Doesn't look much better.

Many sports and music clubs are playing it safe and are reducing their offerings.

In this newsletter we are therefore also trying to draw your attention from the Corona tunnel to other interesting topics.

Maybe it will work.

We look at the struggle for the Nonnenwerth Gymnasium, located on a picturesque island in the Rhine and threatened with closure (That's going on).

We deal with an evergreen among the pedagogical discussions: How much smartphone is helpful in the classroom - and how much is too much (debate of the week)?

And there are exciting new workshops at SPIEGEL Ed (News from SPIEGEL Ed).

Hang in there and stay healthy!

Miriam Olbrisch


for the SPIEGEL education team

Feedback & Suggestions?

That's going on

1. O omicron!

After the Christmas holidays, the number of corona infections skyrockets, and tests are running out in some places.

If there are bottlenecks, schoolchildren should not be left behind, demands the new FDP Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger.

2. Spades at school

What started slowly for a long time is now picking up speed: More and more federal states are sending mobile vaccination teams to schools to vaccinate children and young people against the corona virus, such as Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony.

Reports of vaccination teams being attacked by anti-vaccinationists in Saxony and Thuringia often deterred school management last autumn.

The omicron mutant seems to have given the subject a new urgency.

3. Drama in the Rhine

The Franziskus-Gymnasium Nonnenwerth is idyllically situated on an island in the middle of the Rhine.

But whether the private school will still exist after the summer holidays is more than questionable.

An investor bought the school and is now arguing with parents, the district and the state about who will bear the costs for the dilapidated fire protection.

Nerves are on edge: young people fear for their school, teachers for their jobs, investors for their money.

My colleague Armin Himmelrath and I visited the island and spoke to those involved on both sides.

"Only a miracle can help now," says Armin.

Read the whole story here.

4. And anything else?

In Austria, schoolchildren are currently staying away from class again and again - to demonstrate for more protection against infection.

Does it happen here too?

Deutschlandfunk interviewed the Berlin school spokesman Anjo Genow about this.

The number of infections in schools is also increasing in France.

The vice rector of the German school in Paris, Jörn Gerdes, told my colleague Silke Fokken how our neighbors deal with the subject: Gerdes plans to send his high school graduates to distance learning for two weeks before the exams as a precaution.

Heinz-Peter Meidinger is President of the German Teachers' Association - and feels the most cited voice in education policy in the pandemic.

Who is the man?

The »Süddeutsche Zeitung« met him on a walk in his Bavarian homeland.

number of the week

93,100

The Federal Statistical Office reports that this is the number of children and young people who repeated a class last school year – around a third fewer than in previous years.

The statisticians justify this with the corona pandemic.

Because of the long school closing times, many federal states have changed their transfer rules.

Learn more here.

debate of the week

Does the smartphone help with learning?

Or does it bother you more?

In the corona pandemic, it seems, there is no way around digital learning.

Many students use their smartphones for this – either their own or that of their parents.

In an interview with SPIEGEL, educational researcher Klaus Zierer now warns against using smartphones in the classroom.

Statistically speaking, schoolchildren are more often distracted, less attentive and less able to learn when they use cell phones at school.

He refers to new findings from the famous Hattie study.

"The use of digital media alone," says Zierer, "does not automatically lead to media competence and learning success" - even if this is assumed often enough.

Do you share Zierer's attitude?

What experiences have you had with smartphones in the classroom?

We look forward to your opinion and further good arguments.

Write to bildung@spiegel.de.

News from SPIEGEL Ed

SPIEGEL Ed has two new media education workshops in the program.

They developed young media fellows as part of the media fellowship »Democracy and Media« from SPIEGEL Ed and the Schwarzkopf Foundation for school classes from grade 9:

School workshop 1: Faster than the algorithm

The workshop shows how algorithms are changing the democratic public sphere and what influence they have on opinion-forming and decision-making processes.

In the first part, the students deal with the relevance of political participation in democratic systems.

In the second part, they become content creators themselves and create fictitious Instagram profiles based on user profiles.

The workshop content including all materials, schedule and manual can be downloaded here free of charge.

School workshop 2: Discriminatory language and narratives in the media

This workshop gives school classes from grade 9 a critical look at discriminatory images and content in media reporting.

The students first deal with the role of the media in social discourse and with the question of how discrimination in the media arises and what effects it has on the people or groups affected.

In the second part, the presentation of a topic in different media is discussed using examples.

Finally, the students use a meme generator to develop diversity-sensitive counter-narratives themselves.

The workshop content including all materials, schedule and manual can be downloaded here free of charge.

Together with the association Understanding Europe Germany eV, SPIEGEL Ed will come to your school with media education school workshops.

The courses are led by peer trainers from the association and, if requested, accompanied by SPIEGEL journalists.

The courses can be booked here.

That's it for this time.

Do you have a topic on your mind that we should take a closer look at?

Then please write to us at bildung@spiegel.de – the »Kleine Pause« team thanks you for your interest!

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-01-25

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