My son’s class guide is a new teacher from Switzerland. I
n the first parent-teacher symposium after the third grade started,
apart from the introduction of the teacher and the key points of study,
what impressed me most was a copy of “” work contract”.
This “job contract” is a common class rule discussed by the students in the class,
and everyone signs it to express their agreement and responsibility.
We are used to having class rules since we were young. Usually,
the school or teachers make them for students to abide by. However,
it is the first time I hear about the rules set by the students themselves.
So I asked the class guide Mr. S, why do you have such an idea?
The young teacher smiled shyly: “Because these are the rules they made by themselves, and if they sign,
they will have a sense of responsibility and better comply with the rules!
And I also hope that the children will not feel that they are passive parties,
they can be very proactive in making demands in this classroom too!

Work Contract (Our Class Contract)

1.We speak german
2.We don’t shout
3.We don’t hit people
4.We don’t run in the classroom corridors
5.We don’t laugh at others
6.We listen carefully
7.We do not instruct others
8.We work hard (referring to study, homework)

I was amazed + pleasantly surprised when I saw this contract on the wall!
I never thought such a concept would pop up in an elementary school classroom.
I’m so glad my son met such an interesting teacher!
However, Rome wasn’t built in a day,
and children’s sense of responsibility wasn’t created out of thin air.
From behind this “contract”, I can see that German education is not only responsible for itself,
but also “cultivating democratic consciousness”.

Many German elementary schools have a tradition of weekly (30-40) minutes of classroom meetings (Der Klassenrat).
With children as the main body, the chairperson/moderator (Moderator) and the meeting minutes (Protokollant)
are elected by the students in turn.
Sometimes the maintainer of order (Regelwächter) and the one who controls time (Zeitwächter),
who confirm that all discussions and actions are in order.

During the class, everyone gathered in a circle to discuss.
Such circles have their own meaning.
Everyone present can see everyone else, and when the speaker speaks again,
he can get everyone’s attention and feel valued.
Such a seating arrangement can actually create a harmonious and reassuring atmosphere.
The content of the meeting is mainly what happened in class or classmates during the week,
and even the expression of opinions on the class, teacher or school. Since the school is a collective life,
there will definitely be some quarrels and disputes,
which will be raised and resolved at the class meeting every Friday.

Teachers usually print small notepads in the corner of the classroom.
The notepads come in different formats, but they will have sentences beginning with “I” on them. E.g:

I feel troubled, (because) __________________________

I like/dislike, (because) _____________________________

I hope, ___________________________________________

Children can take a note at any time, write whatever they want,
and drop it into a small mailbox.
At the opening of the class meeting every Friday,
the chairman of the meeting will open the mailbox,
and the chairman or the child who wrote the note will read out the problems he/she listed by himself/herself,
and everyone will discuss the solution. Sometimes there is no mailbox,
just a book, the child can record on it at any time.
In the lower grades, the more common situation is that the boys have disputes over playing football.
The primary school director Mr. H joked that it often happens that the boys have a lot of quarrels,
and then the girls always Help the boys solve their problems.
All issues discussed, big or small, are included in the official meeting minutes.
The director re-emphasized that every sentence is from the perspective of “I”, expressing the feelings of “I”,
inviting the other party to understand, rather than blaming others.

In the process, children learn:

Learn to express your feelings, ask questions and ask for help

Feel the needs of others and put yourself in their shoes

Learn to discuss rationally and find solutions

Behavioral practice of democratic consultation, meeting procedures and meeting minutes
Because I wanted to write this article in more depth,
and I was fortunate to have the enthusiastic help of several teachers in the school,
Ms.R, the second grade teacher, invited me into the class to observe their class meeting.
During the process, I sat on the side and watched it silently,
and found a very interesting phenomenon – all the people spoke in a low voice….
Whether it is the teacher or the student, the volume is very low even when the two sides are arguing of.
I asked Ms.R curiously, is this intentional?
The teacher said, yes, it is precisely because there will be different opinions
that it is easy to cause friction, so we should make everyone get used to not shouting loudly,
and say something calmly and calmly.
This kind of volume reminds me that every time I have a parent-teacher meeting with Germans,
most Germans speak in a low voice (of course, there are exceptions…XD)
Compared with Taiwan, it seems that German culture is more about sound. Sensitive.
(Digress from the topic, the ambient noise in Taiwan is really scary….)

At the beginning of the class meeting,
each child picked up a beanie and placed it on the disc in the picture above, representing their current mood.
After the end, the teacher explained to me the purpose of this card.
It is very important to teach children about emotions.
In addition to basic emotions, human emotions are multi-dimensional and complex.
There are more delicate words such as excitement, embarrassment, irritability, etc. to express.
So you can also take this opportunity to lead your children to understand more emotions.
In addition, the larger stone in the upper right corner represents the “voice” of the teacher.
Since the main body of the class meeting is the students,
the teacher should reduce the degree of intervention, and try not to intervene unless necessary.
If it is really necessary to intervene, a small stone should be taken out for each speech,
and there will be a total of 5 opportunities to speak.
This is the same as my son’s class rules.
When the teacher “hands over the power”, the classroom also has emotional cards.

emotional cards

In this class meeting, I really encountered the “boys football problem”
mentioned by Mr.H. Most of the boys’ problems were football-related.
When there were two disputes, Ms.R asked the two parties to communicate outside the classroom
and find a solution together before coming in.

Flip it up ~ so that when the problem is solved,
the person who wrote the note will tear it up and throw it into the trash,
symbolizing that this negative problem has been solved and no longer exists!
Like the following note:
I am very troubled because xx students often don’t clean up their things,
I feel very angry. I hope he can tidy up.
After discussion with the whole class
(whether such a thing happened), everyone found a solution to the class meeting (Klassenrat).

In addition to the matters that need to be dealt with, there are also notes expressing gratitude or praise.

Big thanks to ____________, because _________________

I would like to commend ________________ because _________________

When I was in the first grade, my son often received love notes from classmates,
which read: Dear Marcus, thank you for playing football with me often, you are my good friend!
I believe that every child will feel very happy when they receive such a warm note! Of course, t
he world of children is sometimes very cruel, because they are very real and will not hide,
and there may be some children who are particularly unacceptable.
During the interview, I asked the director of the primary school if this happened? ?
Will there be a child who never receives a positive small note?
He answered me with a smile: After years of teaching experience,
there are indeed special children who cannot integrate well into the group,
but no matter how unpopular people are, they will have their advantages!
And the kids will see it! Hearing this answer, I immediately felt so warm.
Indeed, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses,
and such a positive little note is to encourage children to discover the advantages of others,
and to show kindness. Forward cycle. method, so the problem is torn out/solved by flipping exercises,
which get even more unexpected results!

This class observation also allowed me to see a very positive side!
At the end of the activity, a note was torn into many small pieces.
Each student took a small part, and some put it directly into the pencil case.
Confused, I asked the teacher afterwards, what is this?
I’ve seen it thrown into the trash before, and I understand.. it means it’s gone. But why is this one kept?
The female teacher smiled and said: This is my thank you note.
Usually teachers don’t participate directly, but last week the children did something that touched me very much,
so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank them.
Several children wanted to leave my thank you note,
so We decided to tear it into a few pieces for everyone to share~
Oh my god~ I should never have heard teachers express their gratitude to students since I was a child…
Mom was moved… 

Moderator, Moderator, is dispersing teacher thank you notes

principal of the primary school, Mr. H, mentioned that the class meeting that impressed him the most was in a fourth-grade class.
The students thought that the teacher in the next class had misunderstood them
and thought they had bullied the students in their own class and complained about it.
Group of children making incorrect comments.
The kids in this class don’t want to be labelled like this for something they didn’t do and bring it up in class.
After the whole class had a discussion, two representatives of the classmates went to communicate rationally
with the teacher of the next class to explain what happened at that time.
The teacher later understood the whole picture and apologized to them.
This is the best performance of a democratic and rational communication!
On the other hand, many quarrels now are about people and people,
and it seems that because of the different objects, it seems that right and wrong can be reversed…
How to be rational about things and people, listen to other people’s ideas,
learn to discuss the problem itself and find out everyone An acceptable solution is the core value of social harmony.

This kind of continuous civic literacy training until after the fourth grade,
the questions that can be explored go further.
From the problem of small groups in the classroom, to the whole grade and even the school.
Teacher Mr. S mentioned that once in a school in Switzerland,
some students thought that the teacher had too much homework and hoped to reduce it.
After this question was raised, it caused a heated discussion.
Unexpectedly, children do not think that less homework is a good thing,
but think about how to achieve learning without discount when homework is reduced!
Therefore, in a series of discussions, the students realized that more efficient learning in the classroom is the most important task;
as the age group goes up, there are even class representatives from various schools in Germany
to hold a meeting with the mayor and propose a summary of German schools

The core of the class meeting (Der Klassenrat):

Facilitate group life

Children spend a lot of time in school every day, and not being able to integrate into the school group life can be a challenge.
Through the active and encouraged speeches of each person,
the problems encountered by the individual are raised for consultation together,
and the activities of the group are discussed,
which can promote harmony and solidarity within the group and create a positive learning atmosphere.

social skills development

During class meetings children can practice expressing their feelings,
listening to others and learning communication skills.
Be courageous in expressing your own opinions while also accepting the ideas of others,
perhaps changing your own arguments, and discussing with each other to reach a fair solution.
This is very important in German education! On the transcripts of grades one and two,
the first key competency to be listed is social competency.
This includes whether you can think about others in the group;
whether you can take responsibility and obey the rules in the group; whether you can handle disputes fairly..etc.

Develop a sense of democracy

Practice civic behavior from an early age. In class meetings,
children discuss their own problems and find ways to solve them,
adopting the opinions of the majority but also respecting the minority.
This is not an easy task. Even adults need to learn how to focus on the essence of things rather than emotions,
accept other people’s ideas, and practice and learn from an early age
how to grasp the spirit of democracy and become a modern citizen.


At the end of the industrial revolution,
French education reformer Célestin Freinet turned the center of education to children,
and developed a set of educational methods based on people-oriented thinking,
including this class council system (Class Council / Der Klassenrat),
and its core idea is hope To be able to prepare future social citizens through democracy in schools;
and to educate with dignity and respect for children,
which is a prerequisite for them to respect teachers,
which is one of the first conditions for modern educational innovation!

After I interviewed the three teachers,
plus the children’s real feedback and observations from the actual class,
I determined that the actual implementation and results of this class are consistent with the design ideal.
On the other hand, the environment in which I study,
there are class meetings starting from elementary school.
But it still feels more standardized, starting from the squad leader and reporting to individual section leaders.
For example, the head of the health department said: I will check the hygiene next week, please do your own cleaning work;
the head of the art department: remember to bring scissors and glue tomorrow…
The content of the report in the class meeting is always this kind of “work flow account”…
Yes The discussion of some motions is also a show of hands to vote – agree or disagree,
rather than emphasizing the process of discussion in the middle.
In the senior high school, especially starting a month before the exam,
the weekly class meeting time is used for review or exams,
which completely loses the meaning of the class meeting itself.
So my impression of the class meeting is actually not that deep….
(I remember it as a time to write exam papers….)
Maybe a little naive, but I sincerely hope that such a “defocused class meeting”
can draw the end of my era, Instead, it is a “true class meeting”
that focuses on the needs of children and aims to cultivate independent thinking,
communication and coordination skills. Ideas for building a city.

Finally, I put a photo of my favorite,
which was also posted at the back of my son’s classroom.
Every child is a superman ~ they draw their own superman costumes and have different super powers!

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