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: