All around the world students should be encouraged to learn second languages. Another language opens doors to other cultures and other parts of your personality. Since language is the tool we need for thinking, a new language provides new ways of thinking and therefore makes you creative and communicative. In Germany, it is crucial for everyone who wants to be an independent citizen to speak German as fluently as possible. It is the key to education, work and social contact. Being German, I also encourage students from other places to learn this language that offers a lot of wonderful expressions and is a door opener to German, Swiss and Austrian culture.
I taught German as a Foreign Language as a foreign language assistant at Samuel Whitbread Academy in Great Britain and as a teaching fellow at Otago University in New Zealand. I love teaching German as a foreign language since it is absolutely great to teach your own language and culture.
Also, German as a Foreign Language offered plenty of possibilities for me to work abroad and in international teams or participate in international conferences and seminars with Goethe Institut, British Council, PAD (Paedagogic Exchange Service), DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), NZALT (New Zealand Association of Language Teachers) or DaFWebkon.
I joined DaFWebkon 2014 as a participant and member of the public relations team. I was very impressed with the enthusiasm of the 470 participants and 80 hosts and speakers and the technology that allowed everyone to join the conference from anywhere in the world. We discussed Open Educational Resources, learning in developing countries, music as a method in languages teaching, web 2.0 in languages learning, and several tools like software for creating animated movies with students. All contributions are still available online.
At DaFWebkon 2015 790 participants and
80 speakers dealt with gamification and game-based learning including sections on international teacher training and options for professional development, serious games, the impact of games on
the education sector and multimedia games for foreign languages learners. This year, I joined the team as a fundraiser and also gave a short presentation on global teaching and the global teacher
prize. Joining is easy and free. You should join to at DaFWebkon 2016.
The PAD (German Pedagogic Exchange Service) offers jobs as foreign language assistants for advanced university students who study teaching or languages. I spend a little bit less than one school year at a British Upper School as a Foreign Languages Assistant for German.
I taught small and big groups, assisted in the classroom and coached individual students for their A-level German exams. After my time as a Foreign Language Assistant I wrote about my experience at a British Upper School. The text contains a detailed job description and a foreigners' view on the British school system.
Hachemer, Mareike. Fremdsprachenassistenz: Erfahrungsbericht aus einer Upper School in
Großbritannien. München: Grin, 2005. ISBN: 978-3-656-24521-6
German as a Foreign Language usually comes with a particular challenge for German teachers: In a lot of countries foreign languages are competing subjects since students either study German, French or Spanish (or another language). The economic situation in a country often plays a big role in whether people choose one or another foreign language. So, as a teaching fellow at Otago University I learned that German teachers must open their classrooms to raise the awareness that German is an attractive school subject and a great opportunity for a students' life.
Thanks to my wonderful mentor, senior lecturer Antonie Alm from Otago University, Department of Languages and Cultures, I learned a lot about public relations for German as a school and university subject. Together with other German teachers and in cooperation with other institutions we organized various events to promote the language.
1. A Languages day
2. A German camp
3. A German theater competition
4. A German play
5. A concert with a German band
6. A German rap music workshop
7. An exhibition in the local settlers museum about German settlers
8. German movie screenings
9. Free German lessons at intermediate schools
With these activities we try to support students choosing German, a language that is spoken by 100 million native speakers and therefore the most widely spoken native language in the European
Union. German is the second most commonly used scientific language and the third largest contributor to research and development. It is also a dominant language in business, culture, history,
literature, philosophy and theology. Worldwide, Germany is ranked number 5 in terms of annual publication of new books. One tenth of all books in the world are published in German. German is a
minority language in 40 different countries. The language is taught in high schools and universities in 144 countries all over the world.