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While this sounds like discipline is strict in German Gymnasia, in many cases, the official rules are watered down and ignored, except when school officials are watching. For example, while teachers and upper-class students are not allowed to call one another by their first names, in some cases, they do. Relationships can be very informal, and notoriously some teachers have even become drunk with their students after school. A 'Klassenabend' or 'Kurstreffen' are features of German schools, whereby teachers meet their form in the evening for a social occasion.
There are written, as well as oral, exams. Written exams are essay-based and called Klausur and typically take one and a half hours. Many German students never take a multiple choice test. Gymnasium is a school where most of the students are college-bound and stringent grading is traditional. Pupils of average ability find themselves at the bottom of their class and might have done better at another type of school.
A study revealed that upper-class gymnasium students of average mathematical ability  found themselves at the very bottom of their class and had an average grade of "5" fail. Students who graduated from a gymnasium often do better in college than their grades or ranking in class would predict.
To many traditionally minded Germans, a "gymnasium in the south" is the epitome of a good education [ citation needed ] , while to other Germans, it is the epitome of outmoded traditions and elitism [ citation needed ]. A study revealed that gymnasia in the south did have higher standards than those in other parts of Germany.
On a standardised mathematics test provided by scientists, the study showed that students attending a southern gymnasium outperformed those attending one elsewhere in Germany. A study revealed that those attending a gymnasium in the north had similar IQs to those attending one in the south. Yet those attending a gymnasium in the north under-performed on standardised tests. Because students had the same IQ, the difference in knowledge can only be explained by a difference in the teaching methods. Comparing students on a creativity test could produce different results.
Students from all grades are required to take physical education classes. Most gymnasia have sports teams. Sports often include soccer , badminton , table tennis , rowing and hockey. Most gymnasia offer students the opportunity to participate in sport-related outings.
In the summer months, they have the opportunity to enjoy rowing trips or sailing and in winter months, they may go skiing. Students are not required to participate, but teachers see the trips as good for building character and leadership skills and encourage students to participate. As a rule, most of these trips come with fees.
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Most gymnasia offer social and academic clubs. Most traditional among these sports excepted are drama , journalism i. However, chess, photography, debating , improv , environmentalism, additional math, experimental physics, IT classes, etc. Some gymnasia require students to participate in at least one club of the student's choosing , but in most cases, participation is voluntary. It has become increasingly common for gymnasium students to spend some time attending school in another country.
Very popular destinations are English-speaking countries such as the US, Great Britain, Canada and Ireland; however, as it is increasingly difficult to find partner schools in English-speaking countries high demand, little supply, among other things because of the limited importance of German lessons even countries whose language is not taught at all are visited.
While this is not required, it is encouraged. Generally, gymnasia have no school uniforms or official dress codes. However, students may be expected to dress modestly and tastefully. Some gymnasia offer branded shirts, but students are allowed to choose whether or not to wear them. For specific school events like the Abitur ball students may be expected to wear formal dress, usually consisting of dresses for women and blazer and tie for men, but even this is no longer the case for every gymnasium.
In the past, Gymnasiasten wore a traditional cap, marking them as a gymnasium student. The colour of the cap differed by gymnasium and grade. In case of the Ludwig Meyn Gymnasium in Uetersen , for example, in After the Machtergreifung of the Nazis, the gymnasium cap was banned for political reasons.
Literature describing student caps was burned [ citation needed ]. Now, it is no longer illegal and these caps are again being sold  however, few ever wear one. At some schools, when graduating, students receive an Abitur T-shirt, which is printed with the name of the school, the year of graduation and a slogan. As the new crop of students arrive at gymnasium, there is often a period of adjustment.
Some gymnasia have mentors that help the new, younger students get settled in. They show them around the school and introduce them to older students. In the case of boarding schools, they also show them the city. The mentoring does not mean a student is seen as being "at risk". On the contrary, if there is a mentoring programme, all new students are likely to have a mentor. Some schools have mentors mostly alumni or parents who help graduates choose a college and who arrange practical training for them.
In , a mentoring programme called "Arbeiterkind" "working-class child" was founded to assist students from working-class families make the transition. A year later, this organization had mentors and 70 local chapters. Members may be parents and alumni, or philanthropists. They pay for books for the school library and offer a hand to students from less affluent families, affording them the opportunity to participate in field trips and school outings.
In general, to obtain a teaching degree for Gymnasia, prospective teachers have to study at least two subjects which are part of the curriculum of the gymnasia. Some decide to study three subjects or more. In addition, the university programmes for teachers always include lectures on educational sciences and didactics. After nine semesters 4. However, having passed this test does not qualify someone at once to become a gymnasium teacher. This education is followed by the Referendariat training on-the-job , which normally lasts for 18—24 months.
During this time, the student teacher gains practical teaching experience under the supervision of experienced colleagues. This phase is completed by the "Zweites Staatsexamen", which assesses the trainees' practical teaching ability. Those having successfully completed both the first and second state examinations may then apply for a position at a Gymnasium or lesser schools.
One trend is the abolishing of the first state examination in favour of Master of Education programmes. The second state examination is not affected by this development. Admission procedures vary by state and gymnasium. Most gymnasia do not have written entrance exams. In some cases, students need a certain grade point average in order to apply to gymnasium. In most cases, students applying to a gymnasium nominally need a letter of recommendation written by the primary school teacher.
The letter covers the child's academic performance, classroom behaviour, personal attributes, leadership abilities and extracurricular activities.
Based on that letter, the gymnasium determines the applicant's suitability for the school. Some gymnasia have informal interviews during which they present their school to the applicant and in turn, learn about him as the school representative works with the applicant and his parents to find out if that gymnasium is a good fit for the child.
Any qualified child can enter the lottery, regardless of previous school performance see: Education in Berlin. Some gymnasia are inundated with applications and some children have to resort to second or third choices. State-funded schools a big majority are tuition-free, as foreseen by the respective laws, even often on constitutional level.
Segregation of students by parent wealth or income is looked down upon, to the point of being an exception to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom to have private schools Article 7 section 4 of the German constitution, Sondierungsverbot. Of the private gymnasia, the vast majority is run by the Catholic Church on very low tuition fees which is more easy as by Concordat , the Church receives a high percentage of the amount of money the State need not spend for a pupil in a Church-school ; fees for schools who need to earn money by teaching are higher.
Schools with fees generally offer scholarships. This is less than what was spent on a student attending Hauptschule , but more than was spent on those attending Realschule. While one third of all German youngsters have at least one foreign-born parent  and other German schools are becoming more multicultural, gymnasia have remained more or less socially and ethnically exclusive.
However, that is only half the truth.
Children belonging to Russian-Jewish, Chinese, Greek, Korean or Vietnamese minorities    are more likely to attend a gymnasium than ethnic Germans. Yet, most minorities are less likely to attend a gymnasium than ethnic Germans. According to Der Spiegel magazine, some minority students were denied a letter of recommendation for entrance to a gymnasium by their teachers simply because they were immigrants.
According to Der Spiegel , teachers think minority students would not feel at home at a school having such a homogenous student body. When you visit these sites, please refer to their own privacy policies. CIFE assumes no responsibility for the content of documents in references or links.
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