The German-language name Deutschland is derived from a Germanic root meaning volk, or people. A document written in Latin from the Frankish court of C.
Modern languages[ edit ] The introduction of French and English as elective languages in the early twentieth century brought about the greatest change to German secondary education since the introduction of the Realschulen in the eighteenth century. Today, German gymnasia teach English, French, or Latin as a compulsory primary foreign language, while the compulsory second foreign language may be English, French, Latin, Ancient GreekSpanish or Russian.
The German State of Berlinwhere secondary education normally begins in the seventh year of schooling, has some specialised gymnasia beginning with the fifth year which teach Latin or French as a primary foreign language. Teaching English as a subject, particularly, has a long history at the Gymnasium and this is demonstrated by the time-honoured practices and subject matter that are unique to the gymnasia and could be baffling to outsiders.
Languages of instruction[ edit ] Although some specialist gymnasia have English or French as the language of instruction, most lessons in a typical gymnasium apart from foreign language courses are conducted in High Standard German. This is true even in regions where High German is not the prevailing dialect.
Subjects taught[ edit ] Gymnasium student in crafts class, Bonn, This vignette of the Arndt-Gymnasium Dahlem shows a young man studying at the left and a young man doing sports at the right; it was printed on the school programme.
For younger students nearly the entire curriculum of a gymnasium is compulsory; in upper years more elective subjects are available, but the choice is not as wide as in a U.
Schools concentrate not only on academic subjects, but on producing well-rounded individuals, so physical education and religion or ethics are compulsory, even in non-denominational schools which are prevalent. The German constitution guarantees the separation of church and state, so although religion or ethics classes are compulsory, students may choose to study a specific religion or none at all.
Schools for the gifted[ edit ] Gynmasien are often conceived as schools for the gifted. In these federal states, it is not up to the parents to decide if a pupil will attend the Gymnasium but decision will mainly be based on the performance in elementary schools. However, even "the gifted" in this sense comprise a fourth or fifth of the population.
Other gymnasia in other states have no such strict provisions. Though gymnasia traditionally impose strict grading that causes students of average academic ability to struggle, many schools share the motto: The focus is on the classical antiquity and the civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome.
Neusprachliches Gymnasium focus on modern languages [ edit ] This type of school is less traditional. It teaches at least two modern languages. In most cases the students have the chance to learn Latin as well. Previous names[ edit ] The Gymnasium with focus on math and sciences used to be called Oberrealschule, the Gymnasium with focus on both modern languages and math plus sciences used to be called Realgymnasium.
The Gymnasium was supposed to be the humanities-oriented variety; during the Nazi era, a common term for all of these schools put together was Oberschule literally, "upper school".
In the s, school reformers in an equalization effort discontinued these names. The most practical benefit of this was that it prevented the frequent confusion among parents about the fundamental difference between Realgymnasium, Oberrealschule and Oberschule on the one side and Realschule on the other.
Special types of gymnasium[ edit ] The Sportgymnasium and the Skigymnasium[ edit ] The Sportgymnasium is a school of the gymnasium-type, usually a boarding school, that has its main focus on sport. The Skigymnasium has a focus on skiing.
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