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Teacher Mobility Paderborn

30 May 2013

Teacher Mobility Paderborn - Kieran McGeown's personal story.

I had been invited to make a presentation at Paderborn University on Tuesday 29 January 2013. The invitation was extended to me by Dr Ulrich Nehm, a member of Paderborn University’s Academic Council. Ulrich’s specialisms are in the areas of Language Teaching and Learning and the Teaching of English.

Paderborn was once the oldest academic site in Westphalia. In 1614, the University of Paderborn was founded by the Jesuit Order but was closed in 1819. It was re-founded in 1972 as Universität-Gesamthochschule and transformed into a university in its own right in 2002. Today, it is attended by about 14,000 students.

The lecture was delivered at Paderborn University and was aimed at giving my German colleagues an overview of both the pre and post-entry standards that prevail within the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) sector of Northern Ireland. There was a particular focus on St Mary’s University College, Belfast. St Mary’s was recently ranked fourth in the United Kingdom by the Guardian University Guide for teaching excellence and first in terms of the highest percentage of students who were satisfied with their courses.

I also included an overview of the latest international reports on the standard of literacy and numeracy within Northern Ireland’s schools. In the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, Northern Ireland was the highest ranking English-speaking country. Northern Ireland pupils were also ranked sixth in mathematics, significantly outperforming pupils in forty-four of the fifty countries that participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2011. Northern Ireland was again the highest performing English-speaking country.

I had the pleasure of delivering my lecture to approximately twenty colleagues who worked within the Education faculty of Paderborn University. I was asked a variety of questions about both the recruitment and admission processes that apply within the ITE sector of Northern Ireland. I was humbled by the positive response that I received from my German colleagues. Overall the six days that I spent in the Paderborn area of the North-West Rhine Westphalia were highly enjoyable. The staff at Paderborn University went out of their way to make my stay both interesting and rewarding. Paderborn itself is a city with a very rich history and unfortunately my stay was too short to truly appreciate its unique historical tapestry.

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