Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What is a Gymnasium??

No, it's not a place to sweat or to worry about having to change your clothes in front of strangers! At least not in MY WORLD!

Between my blog and FB, I receive lots of questions about WHAT a gymnasium actually is...and how it relates to the American system.....especially since my students are now in Seattle, going to school at a Community College.

A gymnasium is NOT an equivalent to an American High School.
If anything, picture this:
  • Take the SENIOR YEAR of the high school and add the FIRST TWO YEARS of COLLEGE; that is what a Gymnasium is.
  • First year gymnasium students are not like High school Freshmen; they really are like seniors (Seniors who are taking a FULL Academic LOAD) 
  • Gymnasium students CHOOSE to go to the gymnasium after completing the last year of COMPULSORY education in DK is 9th/10th.  
  • Gymnasium students (98% of them) plan to go to the university, where they will actually ENTER their degree program that first year..... they do not take "2 years of basics that everyone takes" (like in the US). They immediately begin classes in whatever department they have selected (i.e.: law, psychology, medicine, etc....)  
  • Gymnasium students take courses as a cohort....with the same 30 students all 3 years. This cohort is in the same study line (i.e.: Languages, Music, Physics, etc.) 
  • Gymnasium students (ideally) have the same TEAM of teachers  all 3 years who meet regularly as a team to discuss progress of the students. 
  • Gymnasium students are assessed (at the end of the 3 years) in the majority of their subjects (from their study line) and these assessments are ORAL as well as written. The oral exam is an amazing process that I will explain in its own blog someday! They are also assessed on their SRP (Danish version of the IB's Extended Essay) and on their AT (Danish version of..... well, the Danish version of something unique to DK! LOL) which is an oral exam about the methods and theories used in the subjects in their study line.... Will explain that one later.. AFTER I experience the AT exams this spring!  So their assessment is comprehensive... and NONE of it involves scantrons & #2 pencils. :-)

See, my kind of Gymnasium is WAY Better than those places where you sweat and change clothes in front of strangers! There are about 140 gymnasium in Denmark (You can read more here: THE STX GYMNASIUM), but here is the one where I "work out" every day:

9 comments:

GutsyWriter said...

So how old are kids when they start Gymnasium? I studied in Britain and after "O" levels at 16, we specialized in 3 subjects until "A" levels at 18, which meant that college is only 3 years instead of 4. In a way, I prefer that system to the one my kids follow in the US.

May said...

WHAT is that red-silver spaceship they put on the top of the building??? *lol*

I could barely recognize it.

Garkbit said...

So that's why my attempt to persuade my kids that "High School Musical" should be translated as "Gymnasium Revy" was a bust.

Mads and Kelli said...

LOL Garkbit!!

And GW-- students are usually at Gymnasium from 16/17- 19. It all depends on if they go to an efterskole in 10th grade or if they come directly to gymnasium after 9th.

In one of my 3rd year classes, I have a student who just turned 20 and another who will turn 18 about 5 months before graduation....

Archaeogoddess said...

You forgot to point out that there are different tracks in gymnasium and also not all gymnasiums are the same, some are HXF or whatever they're called, as I completely blank now while half way through this comment (my bad), and focus on preparing students for specialty schools that are not the same as university but sort of are. We have the maritime gymnasium on my island, where you take your normal classes but also focus on navigation and maritime studies so you can go to the special maritime højskole which is not "high school" and get a specialist degree as a captain or a ships engineer or navigator. This is where I get completely confused, because my husband wanted to do the math track in gymnasium but didn't do so hot on his exams his last year of uh... not-gymnasium, so he did the language track instead and then went to a folk højskole for a year to learn some philosophy, but it didn't earn him a degree. YEARS later he went to journalist højskole and that took 4 years and did result in a special journalist degree that you must have if you want to work as a journalist in DK.

Are you confused yet? I totally am.

In the end, gymnasiums are not at all like high schools in the US, really, so I think we should probably not compare the two ever again. It will be much better for everyone's blood pressure. LOL!

Anonymous said...

98% of students at gymnasium do NOT go to university. You're way off. Perhaps you should correct that since it paints the wrong picture.

Mads and Kelli said...

I had to turn in quite a bit of data when we were applying to be an IB School and the data for our school, for our region and for the country was between 97 and 98%. However, we are an STX gymnasium and the stats may be different for the other 3 types.
I wrote this from the perspective of someone at an STX gymnasium.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe you. Supply evidence for that statement. My wife teaches at a gymnasium, which is also an STX. She estimates about 50% continue onto university.

Mads and Kelli said...

Anon,
Those stats are in an archived report that was submitted to the IB Geneva, Switzerland in June 2009; If my blog were being written as an "expert view" on topical subjects, I would be more than glad to go to work this week and find that report, scan it in and post it here. Since, instead, my blog is my own experiences based on what I see, hear and observe in Denmark, I will not be going to school to find that report and that data.
I know what I was given by those in positions to know such things when I was writing the application and it estimated 98%. End of story.
Sorry if that is not good enough for you.
If you are looking for stats you can "believe in" as you stated, my blog is not the place to go.

It is just one foreigner's view of what she is learning about life in DK.