inGenious Teacher Of The Month: Wolfgang Schiele


This month inGenious catches up with Wolfgang Schiele, mathematics, science, technology and sports teacher from Germany, - experienced industry collaborator and inGenious teacher coordinator.

Wolfgang Schiele from Stuttgart, in Germany, is a mathematics, science, technology and sports teacher by day and an inGenious teacher co-ordinator by night. We caught up with him to learn more about the STEM situation in Germany and capture his reflections on industry – teacher collaboration.

How would you describe the STEM situation in Germany?

In general, our educational schemes are in good shape. However, problems in the STEM sector often include an attitude towards performance, endurance, spirit of research and effort. But this is more of a societal problem. STEM competes with commerce and leisure time. The STEM subjects need to raise awareness: “I have to do something first, be able to do this and that, and then I will get the ‘reward’ for it”. Once this knowledge has been gained, one can dive into the possibilities of the curriculum. In principle, the curriculum makes everything possible. It is down to the school and its teachers, who are willing to open up towards something novel.

The problem today is that our society has become spoilt. Students have a lot so there is a tendency for them to question why they should work for more. The way to confront this issue is to encourage greater consciousness across the student base of the value of learning. Once a level of knowledge is obtained, it is possible for teachers to enter deeper into the range of possibilities allowed by the curriculum and explore new ideas and approaches.

Tell us about successful experiences you have had with students in STEM?

During the course of my many years of teaching, I have had feedback on the professional lives of my students, which can be really satisfying senses of achievement. Feedback that I, as a teacher, opened a door for a pupil, for further studies during the professional life, hence for professional advancements. Furthermore, it is nice when students volunteer ideas about solving a STEM problem; for example, an invention to create a technical solution.

What do you think of school - industry collaborations?

I see only a positive aspect of this. The important question is: "How can we work together?" You have to develop mutual trust by saying from the beginning: "I must not only demand, but must also provide, must have an understanding of the other side, and be a reliable ambassador".

"We need to teach all young people to be able to deal with the range of learning society has already acquired and deepen it. The exchange between schools and enterprises is so important to help students understand the applicability of their lessons and take it further. Such cooperation supports the whole operation of the school”.

Wolfgang Schiele, inGenious Teacher Co-ordinator, Germany

What do you think schools can learn from each other and the industry?

Schools can learn from industry's approach to current challenges, namely through economic thought and actions. Industry may find that schools offer no specific training for a particular profession, but that pupils are taught the basics. Such teaching takes place within a social context. Although schools provide the basics, industry ought to offer Technical input.

What makes a school-industry co-operation successful?

The most important aspect is the relationship between partners. You have to reach a good partnership, plan joint projects and arrange content together.

Do you have any advice for teachers who would like to work with industry?

It would be helpful for teachers to have practical training in this area, perhaps through a guest visit by operational staff to the school or an internship with specifically formulated goals. This would be very helpful and would help promote mutual understanding. I mean not just a day of training, but a whole week; or at least a few days. My experiences on this are unique and fundamental.