Ian Bishop and Hannah Reinhard are both teachers at the Free School Frankfurt. They sent us a short passage about themselves.
Hannah: My name is Hannah Reinhard. I’ve been working as a key carer/reference person in the ‘middle’ group (roughly our 6 – 9 year olds) at the Free School Frankfurt for the last four years. I share responsibility for the group (at the moment 21 children) with another full time colleague. We encourage and help the children to develop not only their cognitive skills, but also ones concerning assertion and communicating in group situations, playing games and arbitrating disputes.
Ian: My name is Ian Bishop. I’m a British native speaker and have lived in Germany for over 25 years. My professional background is in adult education and teacher training. I’ve been working at the Free School Frankfurt as the in-house English teacher for almost seventeen years. I work with children from the age of three to twelve or thirteen. I also share the organisation and supervision of regular out-of-school activities like swimming and sport with my colleagues in our pedagogical team.
The Free School Frankfurt is one of the oldest alternative schools in Germany. It was established in the early 1970’s. For parents at the Free School Frankfurt participation in discussion groups is obligatory. At the Free School Frankfurt there is no formal hierarchy. Planning and organisation lies in the hands of the team of pedagogues. Self-responsibility and self-determination are guiding principles for the work process. Mutual observation and exchange of opinion, and willingness to solve conflicts are essential elements. The team of pedagogues takes part in regular reflective supervision. It is the responsibility of the team to monitor the manifold learning experiences vis-à-vis the regulations of education law. For the team of pedagogues participation in the weekly evening meetings with parents and organisational committees is part of their regular working hours.
Together with Hannah and Ian we will look at the effects that such an environment of collective responsibility has on relationships and communication processes.
For more on the Free School Frankfurt you can follow this link. Please be aware that the content of their webpage is in German.