By ANN-MARIE MAY
THERE are a number of similarities between the school Esther Messerli teachers at in her home town and Karangi Primary School.
There is also one major difference ? the kids here don't speak German as their first language.
Hailing from Switzerland, Ms Messerli will today complete the first week of a three-week exchange at Karangi Primary School.
So far the exchange has been a huge success, with Ms Messerli enjoying seeing how Australian schools differ from the schools back home.
Surprisingly though, she has found that apart from the language and curriculum, there are more similarities then not.
"The students are the same. Also the way they learn maths and spelling is the same," Ms Messerli said.
She is also pleased to note that like in Switzerland, things have changed for the better at schools over the years.
"When I was a child it was very important how many mistakes were made. Now it is to see what is good and build the self-confidence of the students," she said.
The exchange follows a move in Switzerland to start teaching students English from an earlier age.
From next year it will be compulsory for students from the age of eight to have two lessons in English a week.
In a practice run, while at Karangi Ms Messerli will teach two lessons a day and assist principal, Ms Kathy Puddey.
Ms Puddey said the students had taken a shining to their new teacher and were learning a lot.
"The kids have already learnt some German phrases and are enjoying hearing about Switzerland," she said.
"It is a great experience. While she is here to learn from us, we are all learn- ing a lot from her as well."