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Excellent Teacher Award Delegation Visits Integration Classes at Elementary Schools in Salzburg, Austria

Excellent Teacher Award Delegation Visits Integration Classes at Elementary Schools in Salzburg, Austria

On February 28, 2023, the Taiwanese Excellent Teachers delegation from the Ministry of Education visited an elementary school Liefering II in the city of Salzburg in Austria. The delegation of 35 people was led by Mr. Peng Fu-Yuan, the Director General of the K-12 Education Administration of the Ministry of Education, and  accompanied by Dr. Elisa Hsiang-Yueh Wang, the Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria. 
On February 28, the delegation visited Elementary School Liefering II in Salzburg in the morning, where they were welcomed by the principal, Ms. Monika Dachs, and Mag. Lucia Eder from the Board of Education for Salzburg. The Board of Education for Salzburg worked closely with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office to make this visit possible. Elementary School Liefering II is an alternative school with a focus on inclusion and gifted education. The integration classes are led by a team of two teachers. Nursing staff and assistants support the work in these classes. The school’s teachers are trained to recognize different talents and to support their students accordingly. Particularly gifted students, disadvantaged students, or students with a learning disability can learn at their own pace and according to their personal interests during daily free work sessions. In this way, material beyond the curriculum can be explored and studied in depth.
During the school visit, the delegation was divided into small groups of between six and eight people giving them an opportunity to follow the lessons first-hand and get a better impression of everyday school life. The smaller groups made it possible to observe the lessons closely without disturbing the students too much. 
After observing the teaching in the class settings, the delegation, school staff, and Board of Education for Salzburg officials took part in a discussion session, where the delegation members could ask questions.  They were particularly interested in the curriculum and how the different learning pace of different students is addressed. They also asked about the characteristics of inclusive education and the way it is implemented in Austria. Another interesting point of discussion was the subsequent school experiences and life path, of the students who graduate from this elementary school.
In addition to the school visit, the delegation had time to explore the beautiful architecture and history of Salzburg. This city is renowned for its wealth of music and culture and this aspect certainly left a lasting impression on the teachers.
It is hoped that the members of the Taiwanese Excellent Teachers delegation were further inspired by their visit and that they will be able to incorporate some of the measures they saw being used in the school in Salzburg into their teaching in Taiwan, to meet the individual needs of their students even better. Exchanges such as this allow us to further improve the care and education of our students and to constantly incorporate new methods and approaches into children’s education.
The Excellent Teacher Award is the highest honor in the education field in Taiwan. The winners of this award have each given their best to children without expecting anything in return, helping children to develop a path of their own and treating them with love.
The Ministry of Education emphasizes that all the award-winning teachers have a passion for education. They are highly appreciated by parents, students, and colleagues. Their characteristics and deeds epitomize professionalism and a love of teaching.