I got this report from Robert. It describes how yesterday he pitched his German program to eighth graders. Ironically, in a few hours we will do the same here in our program at the American Embassy School in Delhi. Our plan is a lot less labor intensive than Robert’s – we’re just going to ask Linda Li to teach the parents and rising sixth graders some Chinese.
Here is the first part of Robert’s report:
Today, my high school hosted eighth graders from our primary feeder middle school. They visited many classes for a brief introduction to the courses taught. As always, I made certain I was on the rotation. (Have to promote the program, right?) Since I had only a couple of minutes to make an impression with each group that came by, I gave out a brochure on “Why study German” and Gummy Bears (always a hit). Among the things I emphasized was the absence of desks – only chairs – because the purpose of the class is communication, and a different purpose dictates a different arrangement. I also talked about using the language to communicate rather than learning about the language.
One of the periods of the visitation was my German 3-4-AP class, the other was one of my second-year classes. The interaction with my students was interesting:
– When I said, “I don’t give a lot of homework”, my students shouted, “None! He gives no homework!”
This is in spite of the fact that I just recently gave them something to do at home. Somehow, my students don’t perceive these assignments as homework.
I then gave my students opportunity to tell the eight graders their impressions of German. Here are some comments:
– “The best decision I ever made in my high school career was taking German.” (Fourth year student)
– “Spanish students often wish they had taken German instead of Spanish. No one ever wishes they had taken Spanish instead of German.” (Third year student) [BTW, a colleague who is very connected to students said that in the twenty years I have been teaching German here, he has never heard a single student wish he had taken a different language from German.]
– “There is no stress in this classroom, but man have I learned a lot over four years.” (Fourth year)
– “This is the only class I have where I’m not stressed out.” (AP)
– “Most people think German is hard, but this class is where I come to have fun.” (Fourth year)
– “I hate school – except for German.” (Second-year)
– “German is the only class I actually like. I love this class.” (Second-year)
– “You have to take German!” (Several)
I have no idea what impact this will have on enrollment, but it certainly made my day.