Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming 14 Austrian trainee teachers from the Kirchliche Padagogische Hochschule in Graz on a tailor-made course which combined language development work at NILE with placements in local primary schools across Norwich. In their 10 days with us, the group began with sessions at NILE focusing on language and culture in the UK, and preparation for their school placements. The six days in schools allowed the trainee teachers to follow life in a UK primary school, working alongside the teachers, and leading some sessions themselves. The course participants were enthusiastic about the welcome they received in schools:

"It was really great that we had the chance to hold a lesson. We were very involved!!!"; "The school staff were polite, helpful, and always there!"; "I learned a lot of things that I will adopt in my future classes, but I also learned to appreciate the different things in Austria."; "I saw many interesting materials and ideas." “There are so many new and different things we can take with us and implement into every day school life in Austria!”

The group were also very positive about the preparation and language work they did at NILE before the placements, commenting:

"A good structure, with interesting tasks and we were able to influence it"; "I learned a lot of new vocabulary and a lot about the British school system"; "The organisation of the classes was perfect"; "The tutor was friendly, funny and spontaneous."; "It was very interactive."

They also had this to say about Norwich life:

“I liked Norwich, its houses and the little shops!” “I love English tea and scones!” “The storytelling evening was brilliant!” 

Despite only being in Norwich for a week and a half, the group also managed to fit in an evening in a local pub, a ghost tour of Norwich at night, a day trip to Cambridge, a day on the Norfolk Broads, an evening of storytelling and a cream tea! As the course coordinator from KPH Graz, Marie Theres Hofer, said:

"The evenings and afternoons were delightfully planned and offered in addition to a nice welcome-drink in a traditional English Pub, evening activities such as storytelling as well as weekend excursions to Cambridge and the nearby seaside. Furthermore, staying with host families allowed these students to be directly affected by the British lifestyle. In sum, the students were very pleased with having had such a good opportunity to gather new experiences in school life for their future career."

We wish the trainee teachers all the best for the remainder of their studies in Graz, and in their future teaching careers.

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Susi What a great group to work with! The trainee teachers were really keen to make the most of their stay, both in terms of enjoying what Norwich and Norfolk have to offer culturally, and getting the best out of their school placements. When we visited the schools they were working in, the staff there were very positive about how the placements were going and the group made some very interesting observations about the differences between the two education systems in our final feedback session. Good luck in your final year everyone and I hope to meet you all again in the future. Susi (Course Tutor) 25 September 2014

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