Glömstaskolan: teaching and learning (post part 4)

The way teaching works in Glömstaskolan is a little different than the other schools I’ve visited as well. In general, you are in charge of your own classes in your own subject, much like in the US. One large difference that I noted before is that Swedish teachers, in general, have at least 10 hours of planning time each week that is paid to have at home or wherever you want. This is on top of the 5 hours per week of planning time. If I add up the time I have before school, my planning period, and my time after school, I reach about 9.4 hours.

These teachers then do get less planning time than traditional Swedish teachers; even less than me actually. The get around 5 hours. However, they are only responsible for planning the same amount of time for their subject (around 20 hours). What this then means is that the rest of the time (20 hours) they are in school with students, but aren’t running the show.

(Really quick aside about technology in Glömstaskolan: every student gets an ipad. Also, technology is so engrained here that we really didn’t even have a conversation about. At this school, it is almost a given that the teachers are skilled at using technology effectively in their classrooms. I know that White Bear is just in the beginning of its 1:1 program, so it’s unfair to compare; however, this was a night and day experience for me. Personally, I am much like the teachers here at Glömstaskolan: technology is my language for teaching. However, I know that there are many 624 teachers that feel a large need for lots of professional development around technology in the classroom. I wonder what accounts for these differences.)

However, at Glömstaskolan the teachers teach in teams. They are not in charge of their own classroom. As I mentioned above, they don’t even have a classroom that they can call their own. Each teaching team is by grade level. They have a shared teacher office area (that is gorgeous). They then decide, as a team, what the schedule for the week and for each day will be. As a result of this and the design principles of the school, each teacher is rarely alone with a full class of students. This means that, for example, if the math teacher has taught a lesson, more likely than not the social studies teacher was near during the lesson and heard the content. That means that during work time, the social studies teacher can help out if needed since they know the subject matter. This also bleeds over into scheduling. If the English teacher needs more time for a project the students are working on, she can simply say to the other teachers that the students are going to continue working on English. There aren’t any bells or daily schedules except for when students go to their art/music/etc classes. This also means that it is very easy for students and teachers alike to use the classroom area that suits them the best. Perhaps the English class would like to learn some science words and would like to use the lab: no problem! Perhaps the social studies teacher would like students to work in break out groups in the small break out rooms: no problem!

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Author: karinhogen

I teach middle school language arts and run an Edtech company, DocentEDU, on the side. Every day is an adventure in my classroom with technology!

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