Case Study: The Historic Capital City Berlin
School: Tytherington, Macclesfield, Cheshire
Subjects: History & German
Number of Pupils: 40
For four days in July, 40 students in Years 9 and 10 from Tytherington School live in the historical capital of Germany Berlin. The experience is a collaboration between the Language and History Departments of the school.
A language visit to Berlin allows our students to improve their listening and oral skills giving them the practise they need in relaxed real-life situations. Along with its rich heritage and culture, students studying History can experience their GCSE Curriculum coming to life.
A key aim of the trip is to enable learners to participate in high-quality residential experiences at the historical Hotel Transit Loft Berlin. It is designed to include a wide range of new and memorable experiences and to allow space for students to develop collaborative relationships with both peers and staff. The trip is both inclusive and affordable for all students and is fully integrated with the school curriculum and ethos. A residential trip has a long-term impact on the student’s progress and attainment.
During the four days, the students took a guided tour of Central Berlin covering the key sites such as Hitler’s Bunker, The Holocaust Memorial, The Reichstag and fully experiencing first-hand the contrast architecturally between East and West Berlin.
A Year 9 student observed ‘Being able to walk through the Holocaust memorial was very poignant and moving.’
The Itinerary is tailored to the GCSE German and History Curriculum. Students are able to discover more about life in East Germany at the DDR Museum and the Palace of Tears, experiencing first hand of what it would have been like to have been separated from loved ones when the Berlin Wall was built.
It also allows students to discover more about the history of Hitler and the Third Reich with a guided tour of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, The Topography of Terror Checkpoint Charlie and the House at Wannsee where the German Generals delivered the Final Solution. The students found the excursions an invaluable and an alternative learning experience.
A Year 10 Student commented “The guided tour around the Concentration camp really brought history to life rather than reading about it in a text book. I was visibly moved by what I saw and talking to the guide and seeing all the real resources really helped me to write about it back at school.”
Alongside the historical content there were plenty of opportunities for students to practise their German language skills in a relaxed environment exploring Alexanderplatz and the modern Potsdamer Platz Shopping complex.
In the evenings eating out at restaurants students could use their language in real life situations, improving their fluency whilst having fun. Students are stretched and challenged as their confidence grows when talking to locals, improving their vocabulary too.
‘I was really pleased with myself for practising my German. It gave me the confidence to have a go and someone actually understood what I was asking for!’
Back in the classroom
The whole experience is ideal preparation for exams and perfect for developing cultural awareness and an understanding and appreciation of different cultures.