Monday, August 31, 2009

Englisch Unterricht

[ English class ]

Today was a very cool event for me since Klara had arranged an invitation with her English teacher at school to have me visit the class. I left my German classes at the CDC during my mittagspause, lunch break, and headed across town to Ludwigsgymnasium which is Klara's school. Walking in was a bit different from what I was expecting. I was anticipating to have to check in at an office after passing a few overbearing hall monitors and fumble through some German sentences

"Yes, I am an American visitor here to visit Klara Weber...bitte...",

but it was nothing like that. Actually, Klara met me outside and I walked right in - security-wise, it was completely different from schools I have been to, or been a student in, from America. [ I don't know if that is just Saarland, however, which is a generally safe area, or if that is a national trait ]. I must say though that Klara seemed extremely proud to be bringing me into the school, especially with 5 of her friends grinning and trailing behind her for my entrance.

The hallways were rowdy, and so was the classroom that I had entered. The classroom was rather bare, which when I discussed school systems around the world with Eva, she made a valid point about. She aknowledged the benefits of the American school system - wow, a complement I didn't have to work for here in Germany! -especially the aspect that students have lockers and switch classrooms and teachers have their own personal classrooms. She felt this added to the creativity of the classroom, and a more welcoming learning enviroment for the particular subject with posters and materials which I can definitely agree with.

Klara's classroom was rather bare, which is not so new to me since my classroom in Japan was similar as well [ remember my intrigue based off of the connections of the schools systems of these two countries. ] What was more of a surprise to me was how I forgot about what it was like to be a 12 year old - which is around 6th grade in the US. So much giggling and clickiness between boys and girls. The teacher walked in and I was able to introduce myself to her. She spoke with a pronounced British accent, yet it still had a touch of German. She told me that I would get to utilize the first 10 - 15 minutes of the class to have a question and answer opportunity with the students and they would ask me questions in English.

The class started at the bell and all the students stood up to greet the teacher [ in English of course ] before they were directed to sit back down. I followed suit and did the same, even though I was at least a half foot taller than all the students in the room.

I was very impressed that even though the students have only studied English for one year, the class was completely instructed in English - no translations for vocabulary either - which I was surprised about for the young age. I was introduced to the class as Klara's special guest, and they were all instructed to take notes of my answers as they asked me questions in English. The opportunity was very fun and I enjoyed some of the cute, and funny questions from the pre-teens, especially for the fact that they spoke in short, choppy Brittish accents!

What is your name?

How many languages can you speak?

Where are you from?

What time do you go to bed?

... ?!
[I liked that one] :)

and I think my favorite -

What do you do with friends?
... So do you like Chilling?

Hearing that slang come from a young German speaking with a Brittish accent was really funny to hear.

The Q&A was very fun, and I was actually surprised with myself how difficult it was to answer the questions with a fair vocabulary for the students to understand. Even so, their command of English at this point was very impressive for their ages, even if it was rudimentary.

The next part of the class I was able to observe. The teacher went over some new vocabulary on the board and opened disucssion in the class over words that dealt with " Going on holiday" - very Brittish already as you can tell.

The words ranged from where to go, to where to stay, and I thought it was pretty funny that one student raised his hand and said " You can stay under a bridge". I don't know about his vacationing, but I'll spare the cardboard boxes for my European travels, danke.

The 45 minutes flew by, and the students were all out of their desks again and out of the room. The teacher invited me back to the class anytime, so hopefully I can visit Klara again this month. The experience was short, but a very good opportunity for me to learn and observe. Education is something that has interested me, as I have noted before, and the differences here in Germany that I have noticed already, and some I haven't even jotted down here yet, are more abundant than I thought. After leaving the school I wasn't done learning, however, since it was back to my course across town for some more German komunikationstrainings!

1 comment:

  1. So does Germany go to school year round or have they just started their 2009-2010 school year? Wonder what the class thought of your Michigan accent? Strictly speaking, most American news-casters are trained to speak/announciate with a Midwestern accent...specifically a Michigan accent ;)

    Maria K.

    Maria K.