Melissa Shalter and Trista Wagner, German teacher certification students, and Carolyn Scheele (B.A., German Education, 2009) were selected to take part in an education seminar in Leipzig, Germany, from June 13 to July 11, 2009. This year 20 participants were chosen from all over the US. The seminar included all program costs and materials, as well as room and breakfast for the duration of the four-week program. Also covered were excursions and cultural events, a city tour, and transportation costs in Leipzig. This program was funded by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) with generous support by the German government’s Transatlantic Program, through funds from the European Recovery Plan (ERP) program of the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie. The program is in its second year and will be offered again in 2010.
This four-week seminar, conducted in German, focused on: the theoretical basics of the acquisition of communicative competence, methods of performance measurement and the evaluation of oral skills as well as methodology for teaching German as a foreign language. During their stay, the participants also became aware of their own acquisition of oral skills with the help of conversation units, thereby improving their language skills. Intercultural interaction and knowledge of daily life in Germany were other important components of the seminar.
The students improved their spoken German. German was not only spoken inside the classroom but also outside. All students were hosted by German families. In addition, they visited many places close to Leipzig: Wittenberg, where they had the chance to attend a service in the church where Martin Luther posted his 95 theses; Quedlinburg, a UNESCO world heritage site; the picturesque Harz mountains; Dresden, the city of the Zwinger and the reconstructed Frauenkirche; and – last but not least – the German capital Berlin. The program was a great experience for all of them as nothing can give a better insight into a culture than living it.
From left to right: Trista, Melissa and Carolyn in Wittenberg