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Old 13.09.2017, 09:48
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DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

Can you tell me your experiences and if the school is legally obliged to offer these to a child with German level below the rest of the class?

Following on from endless battles with the school, it now seems that my son no is no longer having DaZ lessons. We've not been informed. And I'm fully aware that he might actually be having them and not be telling me about it.

But he is now, as far as I can tell, the only child in his year who would need them (I called around the parents of the children who were in his DaZ class last year). I don't trust the school not to have decided to scrap them as he's the only child. The teacher who taught DaZ last year is now my other child's kindergarten teacher on the day my son's lesson is timetabled.

Has anyone experience of their child being given DaZ and being the only child in the class?
Do they have to inform us if they stop, or should we have been asked at the end of last year if we want him to continue?

Son is year 1 (repeating the year, we weren't involved in this discussion, they informed us a week before the end of term)
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Old 13.09.2017, 10:56
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

Have you spoken to the school? Regardless of any other battles you may have had, you're not going to get anywhere without that.

There is no legal right, but the rules would come from the cantonal lehrplan (curriculum / teaching plan) and local rules on funding.

If he is the worst German speaker in the class and you feel he needs DaZ lessons, it sounds like repeating a year is the right move but supporting it with DaZ makes sense.

And no, they don't have to inform you regarding stopping it - that is up to the school, we were also not informed when our daughter stopped. For us it wasn't an issue as we felt she should focus on other stuff at school, and we should make more of an effort at home with German reading etc.
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Old 13.09.2017, 11:42
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

No, not yet, but I will see the teacher this evening. Clearly, I will speak to her then but wanted to get some other views and experiences first.

I find it strange if they think he is up to standard as they marked him "ungenügend" for every German aspect at the end of last year. I don't see how he has suddenly improved over the summer.

I've checked the cantonal (BE) website I found this:
4 Integration Fremdsprachiger
Art. 4 Ziel
1 Fremdsprachigen Schülerinnen und Schülern stehen Angebote zur Verfügung, mit denen sie die Unterrichtssprache möglichst schnell lernen und damit dem Unterricht im Klassenverband folgen können. Dadurch sollen sprachlich oder kulturell bedingte Schulschwierigkeiten vermieden oder überwunden und die Integration begünstigt werden.

Art. 5 Angebote
1 Angebote für Schülerinnen und Schüler mit Problemen bei der sprachlichen
oder kulturellen Integration sind:
a Unterricht in Deutsch oder Französisch als Zweitsprache,
b Intensivkurse in Deutsch oder Französisch als Zweitsprache und
c Aufbaukurse Deutsch oder Französisch als Zweitsprache.
2 Die Zuweisung zu den Angeboten zur Integration fremdsprachiger Schülerin- nen und Schüler sowie der Entscheid über die Entlassung daraus stützen sich auf eine Sprachstandserfassung.

Art. 6 Unterricht Deutsch oder Französisch als Zweitsprache
1 Der Unterricht Deutsch oder Französisch als Zweitsprache findet im Rahmen
des Regelunterrichts innerhalb der Klasse statt.
2 Er kann aus organisatorischen Gründen auch in Gruppen ausserhalb der Klasse während der ordentlichen Unterrichtszeit erteilt werden.
3 Er kann ausnahmsweise als Einzelunterricht erteilt werden, wenn die inte- grierte Unterrichtsform oder die Eingliederung der Schülerin oder des Schülers in eine Gruppe nicht möglich ist.

It just speaks of "Angebote" but I'm not sure if this means they have to offer it.
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Old 13.09.2017, 11:50
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

Art 5 says they should offer it for pupils with problems in language integration, which if that was the driver for repeating he clearly has - based on a language assessment which you effectively already have if he was rated ungenugend.

Art 6 says that it may be done in the context of normal classroom teaching for kids without specific problems, but they may also have lessons separately even including individual lessons if organisationally necessary.

So overall, it looks like he should be having additional specific lessons per Art 5.
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Old 13.09.2017, 12:14
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

In the Zurich area DaZ knowledge is normally tested in spring, there is a formal test with about four levels. If the child is not up to level 3 or 4, it will have more DaZ lessons. The results are normally given and discussed to the parents at the Elterngespräch sometime in the spring. That is because the DaZ lessons for those still needing it must be budgeted beforehand.

Repetition of a class must be discussed with the parents beforehand! Very weird.
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Old 13.09.2017, 12:23
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

What were your other endless battles about if you don`t mind me asking? I mean this in a kind way: When you "battle" with the Swiss teachers or point out their faults, they immediately dig their heels in and become uncommunicative. We from other cultures may not like that or be used to it but that is what happens.

I suggest you go in with the approach of "how are we going to together help my child improve his German?"

And try and always have a "plan B" in terms of schooling
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Old 13.09.2017, 12:38
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

Letting him use a pencil grip (he has motor difficulties).
Letting him use a ruler to help him count - they won't, he's a 1st class and 1st yrs don't have rulers. Basically he has special needs, gets 6 hours extra help a week.
This teacher, to be fair is good and makes an effort to listen. But the previous teacher, it went as far the school inspectorate.
Apparently not Marischi, they can have an internal discussion and inform the parents.

Their answer to helping my child learn German is to no longer speak our native languages at home with him, but to speak un-fluent German to him i.e. against all advice.
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Old 13.09.2017, 12:59
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

We are assuming they have ruled out dyslexia? I do not wish to frighten you but some cantons in Switzerland do not even test for this.

A friend of mine`s child was not diagnosed until she was 10, and then only after a long slog by my friend. The school`s solution before diagnosis was for the parents to speak in German only (not their native language) and the child repeat a year. My suggestion, as you mentioned he has special needs, is to seek support from a group such as this one:

https://www.foundationsforlearning.ch/about-us/
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:11
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

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Apparently not Marischi, they can have an internal discussion and inform the parents. .
Bending the rules then to make it easier for them... Which canton do you live in?

Just for fun: You can always and anytime have a look at your sons file, without notice. I'd do that if I were you, scare them a bit and you might maybe be shocked what you find in there...
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:11
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

No, and I do wonder if he may have it. I was told they only diagnose it once he is so far behind the rest of the class as to make it obvious. Same with dyscalculia (I had to explain to his 1:1 what that was as she'd not heard of it) and that, I'm 99% certain, he has. He does go to speech therapy and the therapist is going to keep an eye on it. She has told us to keep opol at home and to encourage him to read to me in English. He is happy to do this because it's not "school" work. Which of course the teachers say I mustn't do.
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:21
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

https://motheringmatters.ch/special-education-matters/

Have a read of this article. Good luck with it all
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:33
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

Unfortunately a lot of the time, when a child has German as a second language a lot of issues always get blamed on insufficient language. That said if he is getting 6 lessons of special ed, that is a lot, and it sounds to me that the school is trying to help. I have 8 kids in my class of 19 that get extra help, and the special ed teacher is only in my class for 3 lessons(also Canton BE). I would ask about the DaZ, but in a non-confrontational way. Maybe they have decided he needs other support instead. Or that he is better served if the special ed teacher includes the DaZ in the work that she is doing with him.
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:39
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

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No, and I do wonder if he may have it. I was told they only diagnose it once he is so far behind the rest of the class as to make it obvious. Same with dyscalculia (I had to explain to his 1:1 what that was as she'd not heard of it) and that, I'm 99% certain, he has. He does go to speech therapy and the therapist is going to keep an eye on it. She has told us to keep opol at home and to encourage him to read to me in English. He is happy to do this because it's not "school" work. Which of course the teachers say I mustn't do.
Regarding the reading - I wouldn't suggest speaking German, but getting him to read to you in German may make more sense.

German is actually much easier to read than English - the rules on pronunciation are easy; English is a bit of a nightmare, and I say this as a native English speaker who realised from reading with two kids and having to explain the "rules".

I'd strongly recommend the Oxford Learning Tree books - Lesebaum in German.
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:30
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

I've tried. He won't. Point blank refusal. I'm the English speaking person and he is very strict with separating languages and people. We figured at least he was reading. Usually he reads the phonetic words (that would be pronounces the same in German) and I read the not so logical ones.

Definitely will ask non-confrontatinally but I wanted to know where we stood if they tried to brush me off.
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:36
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

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I've tried. He won't. Point blank refusal. I'm the English speaking person and he is very strict with separating languages and people. We figured at least he was reading. Usually he reads the phonetic words (that would be pronounces the same in German) and I read the not so logical ones.

Definitely will ask non-confrontatinally but I wanted to know where we stood if they tried to brush me off.
Maybe he could read German to his younger sibling, tell him he's helping with their German at the same time.

But probably not worth the fight just now.
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Old 13.09.2017, 16:29
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

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Letting him use a pencil grip (he has motor difficulties).
Letting him use a ruler to help him count - they won't, he's a 1st class and 1st yrs don't have rulers.
I do not understand the issue with the pencil grip and why they not let the kid use it. But I understand why they forbid the use of a ruler. It is bad and will not help much.

Why? Because calculating 5 + 7 as 5 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 is not very efficient. And calculating 18 + 3 as 18 + 1 + 1 + 1 is certainly not what he should do (8 + 3 + 10).

There are things which are better. Sticks or an Abacus.
http://www.timetex.ch/Lehrmittel-Ler...im-Koffer.html

Additions from 1 + 1 up to 10 + 10 must be known by heart. Counting will not help to memorize them.
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Old 13.09.2017, 18:38
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

Has he been assessed by the school psychologist ? That is how it is done in our local town. Kids having difficulties at school see the school psychologist, who meets with the parents and the teacher (usually separately) then with the child. They do the initial assessment then refer for whatever testing they think might be relevant. Once that's done, they recommend whatever therapy.

Sounds like your son has lots going on developmentally.

Oh, and Dyslexia won't be tested until around age 8...we could tell by age 4 that our son had issues, but it wasn't appropriate to test until age 8.

For the reading thing, we can recommend 'reading eggs' which is a computer based reading system.

1:1 Daz might not be effective. Especially since he's already doing speech therapy...

Are the 'strategies' you are using (eg. pencil grip, ruler) recommended by a qualified therapist... if not, I suggest that you go that direction... has he been offered 'psycomotorik' therapy ? Two of my children got this via the school psychologist for quite different reasons, and they both enjoyed and benefited from it.

If you can't get an assessment through the school psychologist, then I would definitely suggest getting one done privately (In English) via 'Foundations for Learning'.
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Old 13.09.2017, 19:05
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

The ruler was because he has difficulty visualising the number line, he can't tell you which number is larger/smaller etc and we thought it would be something unobtrusive that could help him.

School psychologist won't assess him until next year as they want to give his German time to improve as much as possible.

Been and done Psychomotorik- told them they had to choose between that or speech therapy and they decided speech therapy more important at the moment. They suggested hand grip as has the physio he sees weekly.

Yes, we have the reading eggs program.

What I don't want is for them to cancel the DaZ (because he's the only one) and lay the blame on his other issues when in fact he would benefit from DaZ.
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Old 13.09.2017, 20:02
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

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The ruler was because he has difficulty visualising the number line, he can't tell you which number is larger/smaller etc and we thought it would be something unobtrusive that could help him.
Maybe larger smaller. But not how big they are how they relate to each other.
Like if the difference between 5 and 7 is the same as 6 and 8. And also not if 3+3 is bigger or smaller than 2+5 or if 4+4 is the same as 3+5.

Deep down in my brain I may still calculate with Lego bricks. If the where they also available as 5, 7, and 9 knobs they would be perfect.

Here some other set The sticks are known as Wikipedia reference-linkCuisenaire_rods. Be careful, supposedly Montessori schools (where they were used first) use different colors.

Wooden instead of boring plastic:
http://www.fiba.ch/de_CH/onlineshop....nst%C3%A4bchen

With visible separators:
https://schulbedarf21.ch/produkt/farbige-rechenstaebe/

With holes:
https://schulbedarf21.ch/produkt/bun...en-basispaket/
which can be used with this ruler (this is the ruler alone)
https://schulbedarf21.ch/produkt/das-zahlenlineal/

I do not know which of them are better. But I think there is a reason why the traditional ones do not have a groves/knobs etc. where you can count. Because you should not count. You should get an inherent fell for 2, 5, 8 etc.

Here an old movie how they can be used:

or also just for playing and building stuff.

Here a nice blog (in German) of a mother using them to help her daugther with math:
http://farbigestaebchen.blogspot.ch/2015/

English material is available from the original manufacturer
http://www.cuisenaire.co.uk/
and certainly all over the internet.

I do not claim that is the thing which will bring success. Maybe something else suits your kid more.
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Old 13.09.2017, 20:10
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Re: DaZ (German as 2nd language) lessons

If your child does have dyslexia and dyscalculia, there is no 'cure'. And work-arounds may actually be discouraged (as pointed out above, short-cuts don't serve the child in the long-term)...

Plus, give your child time to just be a kid. Yes, you know there are developmental issues, yes, he has therapy, but some of these things need time, and doing too much therapy and 1:1 can also take away from other things that are more directed towards having a joyful, happy, friend-orientated childhood...

Dyslexia will be there all the way along... my mum has it, she's nearly 70. She has three university degrees/diplomas, and she still has dyslexia. My sister has dyslexia, and has a PhD in developmental psychology and a high profile research position at a prestigious university...and she still has dyslexia...
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