Aug 09, 2016
For the second time, the Johannes Gutenberg- Universität Mainz and its Teacher Training Center hosted our professional development seminar for 15 American high school teachers. The participants represented different regions, subjects and types of schools such as Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California and Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore, Maryland. This also helped the German hosts to understand the diversity of U.S. high school education.
The two-week long seminar took place in mid-June and started with a welcome by University President Prof. Dr. Georg Krausch. It offered introductory sessions on general and special regional educational issues, on international relations, especially on the role of the European Union, and on local and state history. As a highlight of the seminar the participants visited several schools in Mainz, including a Gymnasium, a Realschule, a school for students with special needs and a vocational school to understand the local school system.
The insights into day-to-day-school routine were complemented by many formal and informal discussions with German teachers and teacher trainees, administrators, students, Fulbright alumni and, of course, university experts. An excursion program allowed the participants to get to know the cultural and culinary specifics of the region. The participants were very grateful for this current view on Germany and its educational landscape. The issues of integrating refugees, the European struggle for solutions in and outside of Europe, and the American presidential elections added to the wide range of discussions across the Atlantic.
The participants left Mainz with new and authentic experiences and with an appreciation for the warm and professional hospitality of the university hosts.