Two masters students from France are getting an insight into the English education system thanks to an exchange link with the University of Cumbria.
Hélène Boos and Samantha Pallas, who are studying at the ESPE Aquitaine (École Supérieure du Professorat et de l’Éducation) based in Bordeaux, are spending two weeks in a primary school in Lancaster.
They aim to compare education systems of the two countries by shadowing teachers, observing both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 lessons.
The pair’s visit has been organised by Christelle Blach-Davies, a senior lecturer in primary education and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) specialist at the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Education.
MFL specialist Christelle said: “It is wonderful to be able to welcome Hélène and Samantha. They will be experiencing our education system and will report on it.
“Thanks go to Moorside Primary where they are spending time observing lessons being delivered to pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2.
“They will be observing some of the differences between the English and French systems which could be from the wearing of school uniforms to assemblies.
“The way they approach things in France can be very different to here in the UK so it is very exciting to learn about other ways of teaching and learning as well as other cultures.”
Asked about their experience to date, both Hélène and Samantha say that it has been ‘wonderful’, observing almost all years from year 1 to year 6. They have also taken part in French lessons.
One striking difference in teaching they have observed is ‘differentiated learning objectives’.
“We don’t have much ‘differentiation’ in France,” they said.
“Classroom organisation is also very different, the way the tables are organised: desks are all aligned in France, and pupils would never sit on the floor like they do in England.
“We don’t have assemblies either and children finish an hour later! Days are organised differently. It was really nice and the teaching team at Moorside is very friendly.”
Kathryn Fox, co-head of the university’s Institute of Education, said: “This is excellent example of strong collaboration between the university, Moorside School and an international partner that enriches the experience of all involved in the programme and provides high quality opportunities to learn from one another.
“We are looking forward to the return visit which promising to be similarly enriching experience for the student teachers involved.”
There are plans for a number of University of Cumbria student teachers specialising in MFL to travel to Bordeaux later this year as part of the cultural exchange.
The University of Cumbria’s Institute of Education is one of the most successful in the UK, with 97 per cent (DHLE 2018) of its students being employed or in further education six months after graduating.
It works with over 1,500 partners including primary schools and specialised environments such as museums and prisons to offer students high-quality placements and courses such as degrees in primary education, masters-level qualifications and a range of PGCEs.
The University of Cumbria has been inspiring teachers through training and professional development opportunities for over 100 years, beginning with its founding institutions of Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside and St Martin’s College, Lancaster.