Observation at the Wutöschingen Community School

During the visit to the Wutöschingen Community School on October 9, 2018, it became evident what developments are possible when people engage and consistently utilize their resources on-site. From an ordinary school, it transformed into a flagship project, creatively and pedagogically designed to place learners at the center of all endeavors, encouraging them towards self-responsibility and independence.

Accompanied by the school principal and an educational companion throughout the entire morning, we could witness how the school effectively implements its concept of „V-8 Begleitung“ (V-8 accompaniment) in daily practice: „On various paths, with diverse people, at multiple locations, during varied times, using diverse materials, in different steps, with a multitude of ideas, in diverse rhythms, all toward shared goals.“ The school consistently challenges and supports each child’s desire to learn, emanating enthusiasm and a spirit of innovation. As visitors, we left with a plethora of stimulating impulses and encouragement.

In the afternoon, we were guests at the neighboring Rheintal Community School. There, 6th-grade students, along with their school social worker, presented their „Participation Project,“ which involved proposing changes within the school, advocating for their implementation in projects, and engaging in decision-making processes both within the school and up to the municipal council. Impressive!

„As a teacher I cannot prevent them from learning, if a child comes to school happily and behaves well,“ says Stefan Ruppaner, principal of the Alemannen Community School in Wutöschingen. The primary goal of this school is not to instill reproducible knowledge, but to develop students into responsible and self-confident individuals who have learned to assimilate content and facts while independently deciding the „when“ and „how.“

For the more than 600 students, the school has four levels of „self-responsibility“:

  • Starter: When learners join the school, they begin at the „Starter“ level. They are introduced to their rights and responsibilities and are personally guided by an educational companion to learn how to manage these often unfamiliar rights and duties. Once four educational companions confirm in writing that the learner is utilizing their rights and fulfilling their duties, they become a „Durchstarter“ (Throughstarter).
  • Durchstarter: As „Durchstarter,“ students have more rights and more responsibilities.
  • Neustarter: If a student struggles with the increased level of self-responsibility as a „Durchstarter,“ they receive more support and guidance as a „Neustarter“ (Restarter).
  • Lernprofi (only for upper grades 9-10): The „Lernprofi“ (Learning Professional) fully trusts their self-responsibility. They work independently, know their goals and the requirements needed to achieve them, seeking help when necessary. Lernprofis can also work from home and are not required to attend classes.

For further information about the Alemannenschule Wutöschingen, visit the link: https://www.alemannenschule-wutoeschingen.de/