The child care team at Marlborough recently welcomed 4 Swedish tutors from a college in Gothenburg, Sweden. Over the day (and evening) we were able to compare and contrast the way that we work with both children and students.
As well as a tour of Marlborough Centre, the visiting tutors were able to sit in on 2 classes, one at level 1 and the other the Foundation Degree in Early Years. We then shared lunch, and later supper.
The most notable differences that we identified were:
- Children are aged 7 before they begin formal schooling and compulsory education finishes at 19 – 20 years old.
- All children begin to learn English at 9 years and are therefore fluent by the time they reach college.
- College class sizes are much larger than ours with on average 25 – 30 students in each group
- We have better learning resources with a SMART board in every class
- The Swedish principal likes to keep his students as long as possible in order to keep his funding coming! This means there is much less emphasis on success rates.
- The Functional Skills tutor works as part of the child care team rather than a number of staff being spread out over a number of different vocational areas.
- For college tutors, CPD is not essential, or necessarily encouraged by the college.
We were able to exchange teaching and learning ideas such as relevant English newspaper articles and links into the UNICEF website.
Plans are now underway for some of the child care team to pay a reciprocal visit in April 2010, and for the students to set up an exchange visit or contact via Facebook.
Date published: 1 December 2009