Andreas pfaff would make it so again. In sixth grade, today's ninth grader had been able to go to junior high school. He decided against it. "I had a learning disability, was bad in german. At the middle school, everyone receives individual attention. The fact that you don't have constantly changing teachers, but one class teacher, who knows you and can respond to your needs. It was good for me, and that's why I stayed here", the schoolmaster of the gottfried-neukam middle school explains. But that's not the only reason: andreas wanted to become an industrial mechanic; through various internships that are part of the curriculum, he has already gained experience, has been able to find out whether this job really suits him – and has even already received training offers.
Uwe dorfer, director of the school district, also sees the in-depth vocational orientation as one of the advantages of the middle schools. He makes a plea for this – especially for those in the kronach school district. The bad reputation as a "rest school, the middle schools often have, they do not deserve, dorfer is convinced. Of course, one must differentiate between the schools in the cities and in the countryside. "You should first see for yourself what is on offer at the middle schools before you criticize", dorfer is of the opinion.
Three pillars of secondary school
He sees three important pillars of the middle schools. The first is vocational orientation: "a lot is happening here, it's a kind of unique selling point of the middle schools", says dorfer, citing as examples a school practice center at the vocational training center, a career orientation camp – where job application interviews are trained, etc. -, career guidance by a contact person who prepares the young people for working life, and the school companies, where the boys and girls learn about economic activity.
The second pillar of the middle school is social learning. The so-called "class leader principle", "lions quest" – a youth demand program -, the training of arbitrators and the school parliament all contribute to this.
Dorfer cites the third pillar as being the open structure of instruction in the middle schools, in which the classes can be broken up so that the performance of the individual can be addressed more individually.
Dorfer considers the middle school to be the most practice-oriented type of school in bavaria. And it is precisely the practical experience and the training of social skills that are the factors why the middle school students – especially the M-train graduates – have been so well received by the business companies. "It's time to get into people's heads, according to dorfer, "the middle school is also a continuation school and the young people have every opportunity via the second educational path.
The M-train students in particular have all the options open to them, for example, to attend the introductory class of the gymnasium or to go to the fachoberschule and take the abitur. Dorfer reports, for example, of eight M-train graduates at the FOS am rennsteig who got on well there. In addition, a number of former M-school students have already graduated from the gymnasium.
Advantage: the class leader principle
This is the path that lisa-marie schultheib, another student at the gottfried-neukam middle school, wants to take.
They and their fellow students, like andreas pfaff, emphasize the advantages of the class ladder principle. Melanie muller and niklas buckreus also mention the opportunity to have a say through the school parliament. Niklas was previously at a secondary school, but went back to middle school in the sixth grade. "For me it was better because here the supervision by a teacher is more intensive than if you have a different teacher every lesson," says dorfer, he is sure.
Jannis gatzenberger, who is also involved in one of the school projects, felt the same way. "There you are already prepared for the profession. I'm in the business branch and in the school company you also learn a lot about accounting or advertising." Principal anita dauer emphasizes, however, that it is not a question of competition with other types of school such as gymnasium or realschule. At the school center in particular, there is good interaction between the students. "Some students are simply not ready in the fourth grade and need a little more time to develop. And then they stay at the middle school – even if they were able to transfer to a secondary school in the sixth grade – because they appreciated the practical orientation or the principle of the class leader.
Director of the school district dorfer also addresses this issue. In his opinion, there was no need for a six-grade secondary school; it would have been better if the students had been able to decide after the sixth grade whether they wanted to switch to the more theoretical secondary school or stay at the practice-oriented middle school.
If there is to be an optimization of the middle schools, the director of the school district is of the opinion that they must be expanded into full-day classes. "Then you can demand even better. In the ninth grade, the students already have two or three afternoon classes anyway; with the full-day class, there are four afternoons."
Through all-day school, children received a healthy lunch, homework was completed and there was time for leisure activities – especially because clubs were included in the concept and thus in the afternoon activities.