Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We've got a long way to go

Since autumn I've been attempting to pick up some teaching pedagogy. My English major did not include a single education class and, while I've muddled through reasonably well, it's always nice to learn some of the theory behind education. To this end, I've attended the student teachers' regular seminars, in which they discuss education theory and teaching strategies. This particular seminar is held in English (it is, conveniently, the English student teacher seminar) and I've learned a great deal from it.

Today things went a little off-script. We discussed cooperative learning, which essentially means giving the students some time to work in small groups regarding their homework or current class topic. Ideally, this kind of group work follows some individual work, and the students can all ask one another questions and give one another answers, allowing for more questions, answers, and (hopefully) understanding than would be available from the single teacher. The catch? This entire discussion was in German.

I thought I'd been doing well with German. I'm no longer exhausted at the end of the day, I can eavesdrop pretty effectively, and I haven't completely confused someone with my butchery of their language in quite some time. What I'm definitely not prepared for, however, is a university-level discussion of teaching pedagogy in German. We were given a text to read and I understand how my students sometimes feel because I just stared at it, dumb. The student teachers - they can all speak fluent English - chattered away happily and I worked really hard just to understand what it was they were saying. Mostly I failed.

Pride goeth before the fall, I tell ya. I'll stick to my grocery store conversations. And the weather. I can very reliably comment on the weather.

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