„GeKOS“– Projekt for Students and Children of Refugees

In 2015 more than one million people are expected to apply for asylum in Germany. Among them are families fleeing from war, persecution and destruction, with children, who are bound to go to school in Germany. These are the conditions under which GeKOS was implemented. GeKOS (shorthand for ‘Gemeinsam entdecken Kinder ihren Ort mit Studierenden’) is a project headed by Prof. Dr. Heike de Boer and situated at the institute for primary school pedagogy in Koblenz, that tries to take an active role in supporting refugee children and at the same time contributes to the professionalization of student teachers and pedagogues for the pedagogical work with refugees. Over the course of eight months university students and pupils aged six to twelve meet once a week in the afternoon.

The project seeks to contribute to the social and cultural integration of refugee children into their new home region. Building up orientation in their district, establishing social contacts and learning the German language are regarded as central to this process of integration and thus play a major part in the project. The students become role models regarding language and the German culture for the children. The tandems shape their free time together, take part in various activities and they explore the town as well as cultural rituals and traditions.

Furthermore, future pedagogues and teachers need intercultural and reflective competences in order to deal professionally with the increasing diversity in children’s milieus. Within the project the students gain valuable insights into other cultures and milieus while they get to know the living environments, the everyday life and the parents of their mentees. By reflecting on their experiences in accompanying seminars the students learn to question their impressions as well as prejudice, fears and stereotypes they might have.

In collaboration with teachers and local volunteers involved in the support of refugees two start days have recently taken place at the Medardus primary school Bendorf and the primary school Rübenach, with 42 tandems altogether. They mark the beginning of the third-party funded project, which is planned to last five years and which is also scientifically evaluated throughout this time period.

You can find further information under this link.


Dealing with heterogeneity in schools and lessons with a focus on linguistic and cultural diversity - SpraKult

In 2015 Germany is expected to accept over 1 million applications for asylum. Families with school-age children flee to Rhineland-Palatinate from war, ethnic cleansing and destruction. Here SpraKult comes in: students of all teacher training courses can select a focus in the courses of educational sciences on the preparation for successful work with students from different backgrounds, especially in view of linguistic and cultural difference.

This will enable them to respond appropriately to organizational and instructional tasks incurred by migration in schools and lessons: especially basic knowledge and basic skills in dealing with limited proficiency in the language of instruction, with specific prior experience (of for example, so-called refugee children) and "other" ethnic-cultural-religious background. Schools and teachers need this knowledge and skills in all types of schools in the long term, because the future migration cannot be reliably predicted and calculated and because the already present student require a long-time support.

The project is a part of the curricular requirements for the subject Educational Sciences  and requires - depending on the teaching degree and school subject - participation in additional events as well as in practical projects.