Excluded from school what to do next
Training: "Unschulbar" - what happens to these cases
Although there is general compulsory schooling in Germany, it happens that children who are permanently behaving abnormally, "blow up" the lessons or are often absent without excuse, are excluded from the class. But what then happens to these children? An educator explains.
"Nothing works anymore" - was the motto of a nine-year-old from southern Hesse at the beginning of this year. The elementary school pupil, who is considered to be normally intelligent and should actually attend the third grade, refused to attend regular classes for weeks, was severely disturbed or did not even want to enter the school premises. Attempts to change something by changing classes or schools were unsuccessful. In May, the authorities ordered the suspension of schooling. Instead, one-to-one tuition was given and parents were advised to apply for socio-educational family help in order to track down the causes of the problems.
"Dormant compulsory schooling"
In the media, the boy was repeatedly referred to as "not schoolable" - a term that teacher Wera Bleimehl does not find appropriate. She has to deal with similar cases every day in the state-approved special needs school for educational assistance "Schule am Geisberg" with the main location in Wiesbaden and a branch in Darmstadt: "The expression 'unschulbar' discriminates against and gives the impression that children are for school and the school is not there for the children. It is correct to speak of dormant compulsory schooling here, "said the support teacher to the parents' editorial team at t-online.de.
This is what the school law says about training
But until compulsory schooling is actually officially suspended for a pupil, the responsible educators first try to improve the situation in consultation with the parents, for example by moving the child to another class or to another school. Only when these alternatives have been exhausted can the final consequence be the suspension of compulsory schooling in a general school. The school management, a class conference and the school supervisory authority must approve this measure. If necessary, the youth welfare office can also be called in. This is how it is regulated in the school laws of all federal states.
There it is also clearly defined when schools and authorities are authorized to take this step. For example, Paragraph 53 of the North Rhine-Westphalian School Act states that such measures are only permitted "if the student has seriously endangered or violated the school's duties or the rights of others through serious or repeated misconduct". However, frequent unexcused absenteeism can have similar consequences.
The chance for a new start in school
Although schooling may seem like a punishment and exclusion at first glance, it is actually the first step towards a fresh start with the aim of helping affected students with behavioral problems to stabilize and to reintegrate into normal school life in the long term. As a rule, this should be achieved through special learning opportunities within the framework of special domestic lessons or in special schools, which are initiated in coordination with the representatives of the education authority and, under certain circumstances, with the support of the youth welfare office. Such measures are also offered by the "Schule am Geisberg" school, which looks after around 160 students in Wiesbaden and 24 in Darmstadt, where Wera Bleimehl has been teaching for about seven years.
Well-trained students come from all social classes
Most of their students are between eleven and 17 years old, two thirds of them boys and one third girls. "The children and young people who learn here are no more stupid or less talented than others, some are even highly talented. And - contrary to some prejudices - they come from all social classes," reports the teacher. "Most of the time they were noticed through aggressive behavior, verbal failures or persistent truancy. But more and more often we also have students - often girls - who have a school phobia, are not able to cope with the stress and pressure, because they mostly have big problems at home or are traumatized due to strokes of fate in their private environment. "
Support through support measures and socio-educational accompaniment
Schooled children should be accompanied by support measures for a maximum of six months in order to be able to attend a normal school again afterwards. At the same time, there is the possibility that the schoolchildren, who are often housed in residential groups during this time, are supported by social pedagogues appointed by the youth welfare office. In addition to the teachers, they are permanent contacts outside the school and - if desired - also look after the children and young people during their free time in order to support them socially and emotionally in the difficult phase of life.
Expert: "We want to strengthen resources and increase children's self-esteem"
The teachers at the special school also pursue this goal. "Our basic attitude is: We only trust our students to do good things and communicate this clearly," explains Bleimehl. "We want to discover and strengthen the resources of the children, who often experience themselves as incapable of acting and powerless, and thus increase their self-esteem. That is the key to success," says the teacher. The intensive individual support and support only works in small groups. There are a maximum of five students per remedial class at the "Schule am Geisberg" in Darmstadt.
Conscious reflection on one's own behavior and school performance
Nevertheless, the trained children are not wrapped in cotton wool and spared. You will learn the same material in the respective subjects that dictate the educational standards of the respective year and school types. And they also write class tests and get grades. Only the learning atmosphere is different now and the students are now continuously reflecting on their everyday school life. After every lesson, they use a form to provide feedback on how they experienced themselves in class.
Take initiative and no longer remain in the role of victim
Several times during the school year, the teacher examines the forms with the teacher - sometimes the parents are there too - always with the focus on what went well without being compared with others and their performance. "With the vast majority of them, the knot bursts," says Bleimehl. "They will then be able to understand what is going on with them and may understand that they do not have to remain in the role of victim, but that they can manage and control things in their lives themselves so that some projects run positively."
Nevertheless, the students also have to practice dealing with failures and bad grades without falling back into old patterns. "We then also help our protégés to endure such disappointing experiences. We then suffer with them when things have not gone so well and convey the confident message: 'You have now written a five, but that does not automatically mean that the next job has to be bad again. It's in your own hands. '"
Experience school as a safe and secure place
In order for such insights to be effective in the long term, there are additional support plan discussions with the class teacher, the social pedagogues responsible and the parents about every six weeks for each student in the "Schule am Geisberg". The focus is then again on the strengths and resources of the children. That motivates, and the special needs students can experience school under different conditions than before, according to Wera Bleimehl's positive experience: "Most of the children who are taught here feel at home. Our aim is to enable them to appreciate learning and to experience school as a safe, secure place where they experience recognition, fun and respect and do not have the feeling of being humiliated or over- or under-challenged. "
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