German Secondary

GSIS is part of the worldwide German Schools Abroad network, which consists of over 140 schools, governed by the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad (Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen, ZfA) of the German Federal Office of Administrations and teaches to the worldwide highly regarded German educational standards.

In K05 students have the opportunity to try out academic-track learning content and working methods and to qualify for Gymnasium, or to indicate that they are better suited to a vocational-track approach in Realschule/Hauptschule. In this class, particularly close contact with parents is essential in order to ensure they receive information and advice on students’ development, attainment levels and progress in good time. At the end of K05, a decision is taken on which school type students should attend from K06 on.

From K06, internal differentiation is practised. Students at all school types will generally remain in their own class. The school has support systems in place to help new students to adapt and address individual learning needs if required through parallel classes in German, English and Mathematics, catch-up lessons, support and extension classes.

The curricula for the eight-year Gymnasium are based on the core curricula for German schools in South-East and East Asia, which in turn are based on the curricula of the German state of Thuringia.

Lesson Organisation

In K05, students continue with subjects taught in Primary - German, English, Mathematics, Computer Science, Art (Drawing/Design and Technology), Music, RE/Ethics and Physical Education - and begin Science, Biology and Geography. History follows in K06.

In K06, students begin a second foreign language. Those on the academic track at Gymnasium can choose between French, Latin and - after passing an admission test - Mandarin. Vocational-track students at Realschule are required to take French. Vocational-track students at Hauptschule do not take a second foreign language. Gymnasium students are required to take the second foreign language up to and including K10. Whether a foreign language is offered depends on the number of students who have opted for this language. There is no entitlement to a language.

As regards Latin, it is important to bear in mind that GSIS only offers this language up to an including K10. In addition, it should be taken into account that not all schools offer Latin, which may be a problem for students changing to another German school abroad.

Mandarin is offered in after-school activities and as a compulsory second foreign language. Special admission requirements apply for students wishing to take Mandarin as a second foreign language. It is only recommended for students who will be staying in Hong Kong up to at least K10. Mandarin lessons are taken together with students from the English Stream.

From K07 to K09, Geography is taught bilingually (German/English); from K10, it is taught in English. From K08, History is taught bilingually (German/English).

Physics replaces Science in K07. Chemistry is first taught in K08, and Computer Science is no longer taught as an individual subject.

In K08 and K09, Politics and Economics is a compulsory subject.

From K05 to K12, students choose between Religious Education and Ethics.

From K10, students have the choice of Art or Music as an artistic subject. With the start of the Qualifying Phase in K11, students can either continue with the three science subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and drop French or continue with French and drop one science subject. There are special conditions as regards the second foreign language for Realschule graduates eligible to attend Senior High School level.

Compulsory elective subjects are offered as far as is feasible. There is no entitlement to a particular subject.

Qualifications

As per the Resolution of the Education Ministers' Conference (KMK), GSIS is authorised to award the German International Abitur at the end of Class 12, the Realschule leaving certificate at the end of Class 10 and the Hauptschule leaving certificate at the end of Class 9.

In terms of providing proof of eligibility for admission to universities in Germany, Abitur certificates earned at GSIS are equivalent to Abitur certificates earned in Germany. They are also recognised by universities in Switzerland and Austria, potentially with certain restrictions.

The Abitur is internationally respected and provides access to British and American universities.

Big Band

The GSIS Big Band has been an institution at the school for many years. Well known for jazz interpretations performed at events like the annual Christmas bazaar, the Big Band is also in demand at many events in Hong Kong.

Chor

Many of our students already join the school choir in Primary. Students in K05 to K08 can take part in the cross-stream Junior Choir, which sings at numerous events during the year. From K09, they can join the cross-stream mixed choir.

Orchester

The school has a very ambitious orchestra, which appears at many school events. New members are always welcome.

Class Trips

There are various excursions and class trips for students during the school year. Of particular note is Discovery Week, a joint project week organized by the German and English Secondary Departments, the China trip in Class 9 and the trip to the Asian region in K11.

Prefect System

Each year teachers and senior students choose about 12 students from Year 13 and Class 11 to act as prefects. The prefects are expected to set an example for the younger students. They participate in many school events, collect money for charity and help their peers in a variety of ways.

Sports Teams

GSIS has a large number of cross-stream sports teams: e.g. basketball, football, rugby, tennis, swimming, hockey, volleyball, squash, table tennis and badminton. Especially our tennis and swimming teams can look back on many successes. In addition to the above-mentioned competitions, GSIS also participates in interschool swimming and track-and-field competitions. For further information on places and times for these activities, please follow this link.

Student Union

Each class elects two representatives to the Student Union. It is their task to represent the class in Assembly and to represent the interests of their class. In their final year, students may stand for election as Presidents of the Student Council.

A member of the teaching staff offers counselling on careers and university entrance to students in the German Stream. If students wish to study in Great Britain, the USA, Canada or Australia, additional support is offered by the careers and university counsellor from the English Stream.

The Hong Kong Higher Education Fair is held each March, and various European Universities present themselves at the fair. Shortly after or before this exhibition, some universities from German-speaking countries visit K11 & K12 students at GSIS.

In Hong Kong our pupils grow up in an environment that is strongly influenced by the English language and offers numerous opportunities to use English outside school. The situation is different as far as German is concerned, as this is a language that children only rarely hear and speak outside school and family. That is why a special coordinated effort is required of parents and school when it comes to learning German. It is basically true to say that

  • the more your child hears and speaks German,
  • the more positive his/her experience of the German speaking aspects of family life,
  • the more closely school and parents work together,
  • the better he/she will learn German.

What does this actually mean? How can you help your child to gain the best possible command of German? The German speaking parent plays a key role, serving as a language model, but the non-German speaking parent can also provide lasting support for the language learning process by showing an interest in and appreciation of the German language and culture.
The following tips and recommendations are intended for families with children in all age groups. Please select those ideas that apply to your family situation.

In the family

  • Spend as much time as possible with your child and consistently speak German with him/her from the start. Play with your child and read German books aloud to him/her.
  • Make sure that communication in German within the family is not limited to just a few words. By setting an example in the way you speak German, you can help your child to express himself/herself in longer, coherent sentences.
  • Avoid using a mixture of languages. Continue to speak in German even if your child answers you in English (or in another language spoken within the family). The more German he/she hears, the better he/she will understand the language and the easier it will be for him/her to develop German language patterns.
  • Explain to your home help why you speak to your child in German even if she does not understand this. Teach her everyday German. If necessary, summarise essential information for your home help in English.
  • Listen to German on cassettes and CDs with your child and watch German DVDs together. Speak to him/her about his/her impressions and questions – in German, of course. You can obtain information about suitable listening material from the school librarians.
  • Watch the news and other programmes together on Deutsche Welle.

Other German speaking families / German speaking institutions

  • Encourage your child to make friends with children from other German speaking families and arrange for the children to visit one another. Do handicrafts with the children and have parties together.
  • Make use of offers outside school where German is spoken, e.g. private playgroups, events put on by the German speaking Protestant and Catholic communities, the German Speaking Ladies Group or the Goethe Institute.
  • Speak to the Head of the Kindergarten if you need advice on expert pre school German tuition.

Contact with German speaking countries

  • Keep in touch with German speaking grandparents and relatives. Have your child speak to them on the phone regularly.
  • Spend your holiday or a part of your holiday in a German speaking country. Repeat stays in places that are clearly different from Hong Kong in a positive way (e.g. at the grandparents’ house, which has a large garden for playing with pets) will help your child to develop an emotional link to the German language and culture.
  • Encourage your child to take part in holiday sports courses, practical social training or practical training in a company in a German speaking country.

School and parents

  • Take advantage of the Afternoon Activities offered by GSIS.
  • Show an interest in the progress your child makes with the Antolin reading programme used in the Primary Department. Encourage your child to read fiction and non-fiction on topics that interest him/her. You can find recommendations on what books to read in GIST, the monthly circular sent out by the School Management. Books in German are available from the school library and in the school shop.
Each class is supervised by a class teacher and a deputy class teacher. Class teachers discuss organizational matters with their class, such as planning events like outing day and the bazaar. If possible, class teachers teach two subjects in their class, thus ensuring they see their students regularly and get to know them better. In K05 to K10, there is an additional class period each week. If there are problems, students and parents should first approach the class teacher, who will provide advice and support.

The class teacher is an important link between parents and the school. GSIS parents and teachers are expected to maintain close contact and to inform each other in the event of problems.

The duties of the school education worker are very varied. She is not only a point of contact for the needs and concerns of children and parents; she also supports and encourages group processes in individual classes, for example by setting up a class council. The aim is to strengthen class community and individuals. Students should experience school not only as a place to learn but also as a place to live.
Students in K05 are given a LEAP (Life Education Activity Programme) presentation against smoking by the Hong Kong Education Department.

In K07 and K08, students take part in an anti-drug workshop.

Every year, the students choose two teachers from the German Stream and from the English Stream as trust teachers. These teachers support the Student Union, their main task being to act as a point of contact for all students. The term “trust teacher” emphasizes the fact that student matters are treated confidentially by the teachers.
As far as is possible, the German Secondary Department provides extra lessons for students with special needs or a need to catch up. Thus, there are support and extension lessons for students who do not speak German at home and catch-up lessons in English, French or Latin for students who do not meet the requirements to actively participate in the classroom in their track.

Extra lessons may be given on a one-to-one basis or in small groups. These lessons generally take place outside normal class hours; in special cases and with the consent of the respective legal guardians, they may be offered parallel to normal lessons.

Tuition in small groups may be across year groups. There may be students with different learning abilities in small group tuition.

The costs of catch-up lessons are charged to the students’ legal guardians. Reductions may be possible if corresponding proof of income is provided.