Phorms Campus Berlin Süd – Heading to China with the new lower secondary coordinator
In October 2019, the students from Berlin spent 12 days visiting the metropolis of Qingdao in eastern China, in addition to Beijing, which is around 650 km from Qingdao. The exchange programme at the Phorms Campus Berlin Süd has previously seen students visit Canada, Spain and Saint Martin. Thanks to the initiative of Qingdao middle school no. 4, China was now next in line.
In Qingdao, the Phorms students stayed with Chinese host families, allowing them to experience their hosts’ everyday way of life and their generous hospitality. Before the trip, the group was able to get ready for the journey with a one-day seminar at the Confucius Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin. This consisted of a lecture on the current situation in China, a language course, a calligraphy unit and an introduction to the art of tai-chi. Even after all this, however, their experiences in China were unexpected and overwhelming.
On a three-day excursion to Beijing, the students visited Tiananmen Square, which was where the massacre began in 1989. They learned a lot about how this event was processed in the aftermath, and they also touched on the government’s restrictive mechanisms of control. It is currently not certain whether a reciprocal visit by the Chinese students to Berlin will be possible, due to the political situation in their country.
Robert Schleifer, the lower secondary coordinator at the Phorms Campus Berlin Süd, accompanied students on the exchange trip. The 29-year-old maths teacher has held this new position since August 2019 and, among other duties, is responsible for organising the learning assessment in year 7, the VERA 8 assessment of academic progress, and the MSA exams for year 10. He is a competent point of contact when it comes to school career guidance, questions relating to organising students’ learning and motivation. Robert Schleifer not only guides the students’ academic progress, but also facilitates discussions with teachers and parents. He believes that a strong relationship of trust and personal communication with students are very important. They are the essential foundations for positive interactions in everyday life both on the campus in Berlin and in China.