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IEGS Impresses Visiting Teacher

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Following on from yesterday's podcast (no longer available), Text & Communication student Lo Lagercrantz Zachrisson talks to Ben Robertson.

Mr Robertson, who studied at the University of Durham, graduating in June 2009 with a degree in Physics and Earth Science, recently visited Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet for three weeks, returning to the UK on Friday.

Whilst at the school he gained teaching experience, holding his first solo lesson.

"I came here because a former IEGS pupil who's now at Durham University told me about the school," says Mr Robertson, originally from Rochdale, north of Manchester. "I wanted to do something different before I start my one year teacher training at Durham and this was a great opportunity,"

“Teaching my first lesson on my own wasn't as scary as I thought it would be,” he confesses. "There is a much more natural way of teaching here and an easier teacher lifestyle. English classrooms are much harder to control."

Looking at the free school model

Mr Robertson wasn't just in Stockholm to visit IEGS. He also came to see how the Swedish free school system works. The UK government recently granted free school status to 16 schools and to find out more about the Swedish model, Mr Roberson participated in Friskoledagen during his stay.

"In the UK, [education] is much more teacher restricted and it is more prescribed how you teach and what," says Mr Roberson; however, he isn't sure whether the Swedish or English education system is better.

An active member of the Student Union whilst a student at Durham, Mr Robertson finds the amount of school related activities offered in Sweden very little compared to England.

"I am told that Engelska Gymnasiet offers a lot of school related activities compared to other schools in Stockholm, such as the house competitions and school sport teams. This isn't very much compared to English schools and their sense of community."

Misses small talk

Mr Robertson stayed in Hallonbergen during the three weeks he was at IEGS with a friend of the former IEGS student who inspired him to come here.

"It's very nice because I get to experience so many sides of Sweden. I now have community experience as well as, classroom experience."

Mr Robertson does however find it disturbing that small talk never takes place in Sweden.

"Swedish people are very nice and hospitable, but it is hard to speak to someone unless you already know them. Once you get to know someone they are very nice and easy to speak to, but before that it is almost impossible to small talk."

Best city in the world

When asked about what he thinks of Stockholm and Sweden in general, Mr Robertson smiles. He confesses that he has had trouble teaching physics here when the Globe Stadium (Globen) is visible from the classroom windows. The view is distracting since he is a big fan of the Swedish Song for Europe Competition (Melodifestivalen).

"Stockholm is one of the best cities in the world. I'll miss Stockholm - but maybe I will work here later."

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