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Vestsiden ungdomsskole Kongsberg, Norway


Vestsiden ungdomsskole is situated in the town of Kongsberg, in the south east part of Norway, approximately 1 hour from Oslo

The school:  300 pupils  Age 13 – 16; 8th, 9th and 10th grade  14 classes  Special class for those who don`t speak Norwegian  40 teachers + assistants  30 lessons a week (á 45 minutes)  38 weeks of school during the year  Students from 35 countries  Optional foreign language: german, french, spanish


Ex. of a time schedule for 10th grade Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

8.30

Norwegian

Foreign language

Mathematics

Norwegian

Social studies

9.20

Music

Science

Norwegian

Norwegian

Social studies

10.20

English/science

Norwegian/

Social studies

Mathematics

Psysical education

Art

Mathematics

Psysical education

Art

Foreign language

Nature studies

Foreign language

Class council

mathematics 11.10

Science/english

Norwegian/ mathematics

12.30

Religion & ethics

English

13.20

Religion & ethics

English

14.15

Career studies


Student Council work Our student council is made up of two pupils elected from each class at the beginning of each school year in September. One of the elected pupils is the main representative and the other is the assistant representative. The student council elect a leader from the student council members. The leader of the student council is responsible for taking minutes and writing a report which is then filed and sent to the student council. The student council is guided by a contact teacher who calls the group in to meetings once a month. The leader of the student council and the assistant representative attend liaison committee meetings to facilitate communication between staff and the student council. There are two meetings per year where they discuss the running of the school, budget etc. Comments are noted but no final decisions are made. These meetings are also attended by a member of the council, the school`s rector, a teacher representing the staff and the janitor representing the cleaning staff. Each week class representatives ask the pupils if there are any points they wish raised at the next student council meeting. They also report back to the class about previous points which have been dealt with. The student council has no access to funds but the rector may designate a small portion of the school`s budget should the need arise. Student council members receive no payment for their work. Members of the student council have this year been involved in a committee with a member of Kongsberg council to discuss the subject of bullying. Two members of the student council have also taken part in an environmental group and the school is now working towards gaining an environmental cerificate.


Creativity in teaching A. To encourage creativity among the students teachers should give the pupils a variety of learning strategies which they can choose from. These should include: auditive skills, tactile skills, visual skills and oral skills. See under. B. Learning strategies Loop. Answer and new question on notes to each pupil. The teachers starts with a question and the pupil that has the answer to that question gives first the answer and follows up with a new question. The person who has the final answer will be the person who started. 2- columns. Keywords on the left, explanations on the right. True or false. Write true and false on the blackboard. The teacher or a pupil make a statement and the first pupil to touch the true or false sign wins a point. Circle of knowledge. Ten pupils in circle, each one gives a factual sentence about a topic. If you say pass, you are out. The winner is the last pupil who can say a factual sentence. Taking away keywords from a text. Write a text on the blackboard (foreign language), read through, and remove the verbs, then the nouns and the adjectives. You are then left with a sceleton of a text. The pupils then have to rebuild the text. They can work on this excerice in pairs orally, then fill in the blanks on the board. Circle. The teacher start a story and then the pupils continue the story sentence by sentence or word by word. Picture notes. Read, draw, explain. Pupils read a text and draw simple drawings or symbols which will remind them of the content. Pupils then have to retell the text from the pictures. Post its. Post difficult words from a text on the board. Go through orally. Reflection note. Look at a headline or a picture. The pupils write down what they think they are going to read about. After reading they write what they have learned.


How to deal with bullying? In ÂŤEducation and training in Norway, 2003 Âť which contains measures against bullying in primary and secondary education, the Norwegian Department of Education has passed the following regulations : Schools are obliged to improve psycho-social conditions through systematic development and evaluation. If an employee receives information or even suspicion about harassment or reveals such cases, he or she is required to investigate and notify school authorities immediately and if necessary intervene personally . If parents or students require that steps be taken to improve conditions, school authorities have to deal with the case as soon as possible. If school authorities fail to deal with this within a reasonable period of time, the plaintiffs are entitled to complain to the local authorities A FEW FACTS ABOUT BULLYING IN NORWEGIAN SCHOOLS : How the different Norwegian schools deal with victimization and bullying vary a great deal. The measures described above, have never been properly implemented at our school, but we make use of parts of it. You might say that the level of awareness in this field is quite high among teachers and directors, parents and kids due to the involvement of different governments since 2002 Apprx 15 % of our pupils in primary and lower secondary schools are either victimized or take part in bullying. Consequently the issue is of great importance and regrettably recent surveys indicate that bullying is on the rise and is found in new areas in the digital world. Facebook and other netbased social spots of meeting are currently used among students to harass their peers.


Measures against bullying at our school Vestsiden ungdomsskole Definition : When one or several individuals are victims of repetitive negative attention, verbal or physical from one or several persons. Bullying is violence towards a person or persons, both psychologically and physically.It implies that the victim has a lower social status and feels offended Instantaneous conflicts among students is not bullying The measures against bullying should include : work of the students' council (SC)against bullying discover harassment put an end to bullying further measures 1. Student council The students' council should be trained through annual classes in order to join forces with the principal teachers in their fight against bullying. The principal teacher is in charge of keeping up the vigil through meetings with the SC three times each term. He or she is the liaison between students and other teachers. It is the responsibility of the principal teacher to keep up the awareness of bullying among the Students' councils' members to make them reveal and discover such cases. The SC should propose measures to improve the wellbeing of all students. 2. Discover harassment Bullying is often hard to reveal. The victim often feels shame and the bully often expertly covers up. This is why teachers and school directors need ways of coping in order to discover bullying.


frequent conferences with students individually questionnaires about the wellbeing of students parents' conferences at least twice a year informal contact with students observation of behaviour, especially in spots where unwanted beaviour occurs - make students aware their responsibility towards their mates. Telling teachers is not informing but caring about others - Pay attention to change of behaviour among students -

It is a duty and a must to inform if somebody, teacher or student, suspects that bullying occurs. 3. How to deal with cases of bullying ďƒź gather information about the issue which holds up in a confrontation. ďƒź the victim should be assured of the the teachers' and the school's support and intentions to put an end to the harassment ďƒź Make sure the bullies don't coordinate their excuses and explanations Confronting the bully or bullies : always two teachers and one of the offenders focus on the issue not on the person stating the facts- no discussion make the offender come up with suggestions as to what can be done to help the victim write a contract where the offender admits his or her part and which lists the measures the teachers and the student come up with. To prevent new episodes of bullying it is essential that the teachers help both victim and bully to keep up their awareness by talking regularly and encouragingly to the students. The duration of this period of observation may vary, but a common error is to stop it too soon. 4. If or when bullying recurs

If bullying is dealt with professionally and adequately, the problem is solved. Occasionally it may be unavoidable to make the bully change school. The parents of the victim can report the bully to the police.


Social skills We have made a list of expected standards of behavior for the 9th grade. 1. A good start Respect your teacher and teaching periods. Stand beside your desk and pay attention to the teacher at the start of every period. The period starts after we have greeted each other. Listen to and follow messages. Wait with questions until all messages are given. 2. Irrelevant things which are not allowed during lessons; Outdoor clothes, hat, iPod, cell phone, food, drink, sweets. 3. Respect the property of others and their need for quiet working environment. Do not “borrow� things from others without asking permission first. Keep to yourself, do not annoy others. No wandering, throwing things, tilting of chairs or making unnecessary sounds. Do not destroy or draw on others or school property. 4. Do not get involved when the teacher is talking to others. Quarrelling will not be tolerated! Wait for turn – put your hand up to get your teacher`s attention. 5. Include your classmates. Negative body language, looks, laughter, comments, name calling, bad language, ignoring fellow pupils, teasing or threatening others is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. 6. Fighting, hitting, kicking and play fighting are not allowed. 7. At the end of each period Put your books in your lockers and take out everything you need for the next period. Tidy up the classroom. Nobody leaves the classroom until the teacher says you can go.


Extended community Our School Vestsiden ungdomsskole is situated in the town of Kongsberg, in the south east part of Norway, approximately 1 hour from Oslo. Our school comprises of 300 students from four local primary schools where thirty eight nationalities are represented. Quite a high percentage of our students have learning and behavioral difficulties and need remedial teaching in small groups, individually or with assistants in the classroom. Vestsiden Ungdomsskole is also in charge of a separate school building where two teachers teach a group of twelve 10th grade students who have problems adjusting to and working in an ordinary school environment. These students have to apply in writing and are subjected to an interview before being accepted into this one year program. The aim is to give these students an opportunity to make positive changes and prepare them for college. Our school can also “buy� places for individual students who are not working at school, at the Work Institute, which is a college for pupils where they do more practical work. In addition we have a class comprising of students who are new to Norway. All new students between the ages of 13 -16 residing in the Kongsberg area start schooling here. The aim is to teach them about Norwegian culture,get their language up to speed and work with ordinary school subjects so they can be placed in age appropriate classes after a year. Homework Help Our students are between the ages of 13 – 16. One day a week after school they can go to an external community hall where they can get help with their homework. The assistants are members from the local Red Cross and retired teachers. The students are given some food and help with their homework . Our Local Police The local police come to the school every year to talk about different aspects of youth crimes and drug abuse. Courses are also available for parents. Often we hold combined student/parent courses giving them an opportunity to discuss the problems and affects of drug abuse and crime in Kongsberg. When necessary the police cooperate well with the school, parents, juvenile authorities and various council departments. Kongsberg Council has created a youth contact position where two women, paid by the council, work afternoons and evenings out among the young people in the town. They talk to, observe and when needed help the youths in the town and youth clubs. If they suspect youngsters are abusing drugs or alcohol or are having problems at home, they help them or get in touch with the police, child services or school.


Other Working Partners As for the subject called Cooking & Health (previously called Home Economics) we work with two different partners. A chef from one of the local hotels comes to teach our students more about how to prepare and make healthy meals using fish as the main component. They are also given lessons at one of the local colleges in baking. In addition of these permanent cooperation partners, our teachers invite experts of different fields to the classroom. That might vary from one year to another and from one class to another. During our school`s International Week, adult students from Kongsberg Norwegian Centre visit our school and hold courses in cookery, music and dance. Some of the students from the centre sit down with our students and explain about the difficulties in their home country and their reasons for coming to Norway. This gives our students a better understanding of the problems these people have faced. These courses are very popular with our students. Kulturskolen (an external group who bring cultural activities into schools) offer us several cultural activities during the school year, such as theater, music and literature performances. Devotech lab is also an offer – a technical laboratory where the students have lessons and practical activities. At this laboratory they can learn to build robots, vehicles etc.

Kongsberg Church We cooperate with the Church as well. They come into the classes every autumn and present the confirmation course given by the church after school time. Students are confirmed when they are 15 years old, though not all


students choose to be confirmed. The Human Ethics Association do the same in each class, as an alternative option to the Christian confirmation. Before Christmas the minister and some of our students work together and make up a program of Christmas carols and bible texts to mark the the occasion of Christmas . School Trips Every year our students in 10th grade go to Poland and Germany to visit the concentration camps. We cooperate with Aktive Fredsreiser (Active Peace Tours) on these trips. They give us a lot of information in advance and they visit our students (and their parents), to prepare us as best they can before we go. To raise money for these trips, the students sell things in town, like cakes and waffles. They also work voluntarily in the local community to raise money for the trip. Half of the funding needed is financed by the local council. We cooperate with different schools as well. Naturskolen ( a group of teachers who take learning outdoors) offers excursions focusing on the local history from The Second World War and explain how the local resistance worked throughout this period.


Intercultural competence In a former project we said this about intercultural competence: What do we do to obtain intercultural competences?

Respect

Ensure that the students have an understanding of their own roots,. Treat others with consideration and respect another person’s point of view, culture, believes and attitudes

How do we obtain these intercultural competences? Through the teaching of topics such as Literature, history, social science, religion Listening to what the other is telling to us and his opinions. Mutual respect between all students, in focus in all subjects.

Flexibility

Important to be open to changes and creativity The ability to respond and adapt to new changing situations

Openness

Trying not to get too confused when something is different, and show an interest in it. The teaching is flexible towards students of different levels and nationality.

Students need to have a good feeling about their roots and themselves as a group, and as individuals.

Create situations where students socialize in their spare time

When we see or listen to different opinions, wondering what can be true in that idea.

Show concern for others

Willingness to accept other person’s opinion, receptiveness to new possibilities.


Motivation We can do it!

Keep students’ curiosity and creativity alive.

Motivate new students to share knowledge and values from their own culture.

Interest and desire to learn, the two together lead to success Knowing more about our own emotions, how things and people affect us, and promote the different

Visitors at school during our international week.


Vestsiden skole