Pupils build bridges world-wide

Our Lateral entry programme in science lessons is for learners without German language skills

I. Description

The International German School HCMC (IGS) has developed, introduced, and evaluated a language support programme for the lateral entry of pupils (SuS) without any knowledge of German.

It is aimed at students moving from other national and international education systems to grades 2 – 7 at the German School in the booming business metropolis of HCMC. This will give them the opportunity to start an apprenticeship or study in Germany or in German-speaking countries. Currently, 17 nations are registered at IGS SuS. In the past three years, 55% of SuS took part in the lateral entrants programme, 50% of them from Vietnam.

The special feature of the programme is that SuS participate in the profile focus – science teaching – immediately after the change to IGS and are fully integrated into all areas of everyday school life: The science lessons complement the language lessons conceptually; at the same time the children develop core competencies in the field of science.



Support in subject lessons is immediate. This way, a student isn’t at a disadvantage by being placed in an earlier year or having to repeat a year.


The subject lessons complement the acquisition of German language skills with a chance to acquire subject-specific terms, thinking operations and the linguistic structures emanating from them.


The programme forms a bridge for entry into German-speaking education systems; this supports important prerequisites for vocational training or studies in German-speaking countries and promotes the next generation of skilled workers.


The programme can provide experience and help for language integration in schools in Germany.


Preparatory language course for beginners (100 hours A1, 1 – 2 x a week with intensive block shortly before the beginning of the school year)
Introduction: Educational Technology / digital language learning applications
DaF lessons on the basis of a modular DaF/DaZ curriculum with examinations to determine the learning status
Parallel programme DFU (biology, chemistry, physics, maths, geography) as well as general science in primary school. In all other subjects, SuS take part in classroom instruction together with the students in the native speaker programme.
Step-by-step transfer to the programme for native speakers accompanied by a DaF/EdTech coach, taking into account the criteria specified in the inclusion concept.
Complete integration into the programme for native speakers (according to the inclusion concept after 1 – 3 school years) with continuation of DaF/DaZ lessons, which follows up topics of the specialised instruction and at the same time continues a systematic development of language structure.

“The lateral entry programme at IGS is a holistic concept and promotes the development of cultural and social bridges.“

The lateral entrants were involved in the following performances

  • Choir performance and booths for Germany Day together with the business and mediator institutions in HCMC
  • Concert at the Soul Academy with Martina Marques (invitation of a Brazilian artist from Germany in cooperation with the International Choir HCMC)
  • Studio recording of a music CD
  • Brazilian Music Week at IGS in Vietnam under the direction of Brazilian musicians from Germany
  • Opening of the DAAD Singing Competition on the National University campus
  • Concert Opening: Spring Jazz on the IGS Campus
  • Day for the Promotion of Creativity and Traditional Craftsmanship
  • Ceramic project (Traditional Vietnamese firing methods/production of school utensils)
  • Tape-Art-Project with support of the German Consulate General
  • Together with PASCH schools: St. Nicholas celebration
  • Theatre play for the IGS lantern festival

Furthermore, the DAF-lateral entrants took part in projects to promote environmental awareness and sustainability

  • Excursion to a peffer farm and underwater world on Phu Quoc Island
  • Coffee project: plantation in the highlands of Da Lat
  • Refuge project in Vung Tau

Participation in projects to promote social responsibilities

  • Running event to commemorate the Fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Campaign “Bildungsflieger” (project of the Foundation for Education and Crafts)
  • Project day: Mindfulness Day (project to promote tolerance)
  • “Buy No Rhino”
  • Participation in the “Cities by the River” PASCH school competition

Organisation and execution of Festivals

  • Traditional German Christmans market in HCMC with live glass blowing
  • Vietnamese New Year’s Festival (theatre and choir)

Supervision in science

The lateral entry programme is coupled on the side of academia with natural sciences/bilingual teaching conceptually by Professor Becker, currently DAAD Visiting Professor for Chemistry Methodology at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, with a research focus on bilingual learning in chemistry. (see also IGS News, 2017, p. 3)

Over 20 teacher training students from Germany and Vietnam were supported by IGS mentors over the last three school years to familiarise themselves with the special requirements of German as a Foreign Language (DaF/DFU) teaching at this German school abroad.

Digitalisation and autonomous learning

Digital learning and organisational media form an essential pillar of the lateral entry programme. Both in natural sciences and in the area of DaF/DFU, they enable a systematic development of competencies with a flexible structure in terms of: spatial/temporal structure of teaching, task character, autonomous learning pace and performance assessment.

To ensure a smooth implementation, IGS offers learners, teachers and parents an EdTech coach as well as a series of training courses and workshops in the areas of DaF/DFU and digitisation. These took place within the school or within the framework of the regional advanced training of the Central Office for Schools Abroad, via the DAAD, partly also in cooperation with the local Pasch schools (e.g. DSD Gold). Together with the PASCH schools, the IGS lateral entrants will jointly conduct the first DSD I exams in HCMC on the IGS campus in March 2018.