AS one of the Hunter’s most multicultural schools, Islington Public has students from almost every corner of the globe.
The school welcomed Norwegians into the fold this month, after third-year teaching students Ingrid Meyer, 22, and Maria Pedersen, 24, travelled from Trondheim – where it’s minus 15 degrees – to complete their five weeks of practicum in Newcastle.
About 65 of the 400 students in their year were offered places outside Norway, including eight in Australia.
“I thought it would be interesting to see what the school system here is like – I’d heard lots of good things,” Ms Pedersen said.
“It felt really exciting to go to such a totally different continent so far away.”
Ms Meyer, who is poised to one day take over her family’s dairy farm, said the school’s 150 students reminded her of being a child at her own small school and feeling “safe and like I was seen”.
“All the kids here know each other’s names and are so respectful and polite,” she said.
Ms Pedersen said she liked that “at recess it doesn’t matter what age you are, they all play together”.
“The older kids are so helpful to the smaller ones.”
Ms Meyer said her year five and six class “are so good at reflecting on their own thoughts and how a group has worked together”.
“In Norway you put your hand up and wait to talk, here you have a real conversation."
Ms Pedersen said while Norway seemed to put more emphasis on content, Australia also concentrated on critical thinking skills, even in kindergarten and year one.
Related: Read more education news here.
“These kids think logically, use reasoning and express opinions. In Norway people say ‘she’s a grown-up, she knows’, they would not question you,” she said.
“But also, you say ‘sit’ here and everyone sits, in Norway you’d have to use techniques and tricks to make people follow instructions.”
Both plan to teach their classes Norwegian songs and words and introduce them to brown cheese.
They said in Norway, students use teachers’ first names, keep to a strict timetable of subjects, sit tests frequently and don’t wear uniforms.