Sometimes we got some reading homework, so throughout the semester I was reading six scientific papers about teaching prepared written summaries. In general I can say, it was a quite interesting course, and I got a lot of input and possibility for critical reflection. It was somewhat different to courses I was used from Austria, but that was the aim: to see things running different.
Attending this course for the first time, the Professor told me, it was a course for the Master studies and I was the only international Student attending, so I had not to attend all of the lessons, which were held in Slovenian language, but I had some additional special meetings with the professor throughout the Semester. Nevertheless it was a great chance to learn a lot: the course was focused on the one hand on concepts of bringing science to the class and motivate pupils to learn about scientific approaches with the help of asking questions of their surrounding world, creating hypotheses, planning and fulfilling practical experiments and finally reporting and evaluate results.
On the other hand the second focus was on the scientific approach of educational studies. For this we used the book Research Methods in Education by Louis Cohen et al, which is a compendium of all kind of possible strategies, styles and methods in educational research as well as quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods. For this course I had to create several written concepts for classes with students as well as doing a scientific study including a questionnaire for students of mathematics and give a report about the results. He is a teacher of Mathematics at this school, who is very ambitious and established in Didactics of Mathematic, being author of several textbooks.
The school hosts students from class 1 to class 9 in one building, which has one big gym, a library and a kitchen, providing lunch for most of the students and the ever day common class snack at , consisting of warm tea and bread with butter, jam or honey.
For 4th till 9th grade, they have specialized classrooms for different subjects, like geography, mathematics and biology. Almost every classroom provides a beamer and a white board, some of them even an interactive whiteboard.
In the beginning I could attend several lessons of Mathematic and Biology in different classes, then I was teaching Mathematics myself in classes of the 6 th , 7 th , 8 th and 9 th grade in English language. This was easier than I was expected, since the English skills of the students was quite impressing, and the really had fun with the special concept of learning mathematical topics in a foreign language.
After some days, a German teacher found out, that there is German native speaker at the school for internship and she asked me to do some classes with her, in order to give the students a better impression of right pronunciation. Although I am not a German teacher and I will never become one, I was happy to get this spontaneous possibility too and it was a nice experience to teach German to the Slovenian students for several classes. So after few days, I got in contact with lots of students and most of the teachers, so that nearly everyone was greeting in a friendly was in German or English in the hallway, so that I felt as a stranger at all!
What was really impressing for me is the fact, that homework in Slovenia is not obligatory: Teachers give homework to their students, in order to provide material for practicing, but students can decide themselves, whether thy do it or not. Is has no direct impact on their graduation.
Another impressing thing was the really good and modern equipment in the rooms. Nearly every room had its own beamer, and all of the class-book registration is done in a digital system.
It was also interesting to see, that there exist optional subjects in grades 7 -9, which are chosen by the students themselves. I was very surprised that there were students, who had chosen to attend this optional course for two hours a week in Mathematics…. Here you can see all the classes for the field of studies available for foreign students. The course descriptions are quite precise and you can see which language is offered and what the main educational goals of the course are.
One important thing for students from Austria who have to attend an internship the University of Maribor does not provide: a course including an internship. I contacted the university about an internship and they confirmed that they would not arrange any internship for exchange students and I had to organize myself. So I contacted some schools and asked them for the possibility of an internship and in the end I was successful after some trials. After the online application process was finished, you receive a letter of acceptance with further information.
Slovenija tajnistvo osbi. Since Maribor is small city, you easily find your ways and life is easy and relaxing. So best way is to walk around or try to find a cheap bicycle to explore the city and its surrounding landscape. The university provides a lot of information about different accommodations, so it is quite easy to find the appropriate room for your wishes. The ESN Erasmus Student Network Maribor additionally is providing any kind of help and information for international students and is organizing lot of social events, starting with a Welcome Week to see sights all over Slovenia and a Welcome party and different kind of activities like for example Ice-Skating, Football evenings, and International meetings throughout the semester.
Food and living is somewhat cheaper than it is in Austria and additionally Slovenia has a great student coupon system. For each day you spend in Maribor you have a four euro coupon which you can use in restaurants for dinner or lunch. You just order your menu and pay with your phone one part and the rest, which was about two euro, you pay in cash. So meeting friends or colleagues for lunch in one of the restaurants involved in the coupon-system is not that expensive and always a pleasure.
What I will really miss, are the charming small coffee shops in the city center where the coffee is not just really good but also really cheap.
Moreover I really enjoyed the bakeries with great diversity of sweet stuff for breakfast…. What I really like about Slovenia in general is the fact, that it is so close to my hometown and that I can come back here in future whenever I want to. All of my courses were held in English, so I could learn lots of vocabulary related to the pedagogic topic. But I think I was able to improve my English in general, since I did a lot of communication, reading and writing in this language during this semester. I could learn few words in Slovenian language too, especially expressions connected to the topic of mathematics, which were important while teaching during my internship.
During my internship I did not only get an intense impression of the Slovenian school system, I met interesting people and I am still in contact with my supervising teacher from that school, who is using really good concepts in teaching Mathematics.
Since Slovenia was part of Austrian Empire in the history and is the closed neighbor to Styria, the culture is quite similar to our own culture. You can truly rely on your partners in Slovenia. They are extremely professional in all aspects of their work. Slovenian Convention Bureau unites over 60 certified and standardised providers of meetings services located throughout the country.
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