How does the summer school help

Summer schools: "There is no way around targeted funding"

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The schools were closed for many weeks. Until further notice, students will only be able to visit them on a daily basis. Many children whose parents were unable to attend homeschooling may have lost touch in some subjects as a result. The Berlin school authority is therefore planning a summer school during the long holidays - a voluntary offer for socially disadvantaged children, newly immigrated children and those who have had difficulties with homeschooling for other reasons. Petra Stanat explains how summer schools can be a success. She is director of the Institute for Quality Development in Education (IQB) at the Humboldt University in Berlin. A few years ago she carried out a study on a summer camp in Bremen that was supposed to promote children from migrant families in the German language.

ZEIT ONLINE: Are summer schools for disadvantaged children a good alternative to make up for the last few weeks of school closings?

Petra Stanat: The following always applies to additional lessons and extra funding: the extent to which they help depends on their quality. The summer school program must be tailored to the areas in which the individual children need support.

ZEIT ONLINE: How do you determine that?

Stanat: Teachers should think carefully beforehand about who has what support needs. The offers can then possibly be organized in such a way that pupils are grouped together in learning groups who, for example, lose touch with mathematics. It is also important that the pedagogues are able to implement the funding in a subject-related manner. The time available in the summer schools will be very limited because the children also have to have vacation.

ZEIT ONLINE: The usual teachers will not teach in the summer schools. Instead, in Berlin, for example, retired teachers or students should take over the lessons in the summer school. Is that enough?

Stanat: If they are adequately prepared for this task, I can well imagine the use of students. It would be helpful if the universities provided support with the recruitment and, above all, with the preparation and support of the students. The idea of ​​using retired teachers, on the other hand, surprised me, because they belong to the risk group.

ZEIT ONLINE: In Berlin, children from poor families should first be invited to the summer schools. What do you make of it?

Stanat: Not all children from socially disadvantaged families have special needs and there are certainly children from socially privileged families who have developed professional gaps during the school closings. In this respect, it would make more sense to make the decision about participating in summer schools dependent on who has fallen behind in terms of skills development. This, too, can certainly be judged best by the respective teachers.

ZEIT ONLINE: Can it also be perceived as stigmatizing if only children from poor families are invited? Families may shy away from registering their children.

Stanat: Lump-sum attributions of special needs always involve the risk of stigmatization. Therefore, an offer based on actual needs would make more sense. But of course this also conveys: Your child needs additional support. However, teachers can counteract the feeling of stigmatization well if they make it clear that something should be made up for here that the children did not miss, but the school, which had to close its doors due to the Corona crisis.

ZEIT ONLINE: There is also a dispute about voluntariness or obligation. Does voluntary participation really create more equal opportunities? Or are only those who have committed parents anyway?