Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and may you be together with your family and friends in harmony and gratitude!
Last weekend Ute Hoefel and Barbara Olbricht of the German Institute for the Southwest had a chance to travel to Boston to attend the Annual Convention & World Language Expo 2016 of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), where they lectured on the topic Migration – Now and Then. The convention takes place every year in a U.S. city, and attracts thousands of teachers and language instructors.
Offers at the convention included information and state-of-the-art developments in language teaching for many world languages, such as European (German, French, Italian, etc.) and Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) languages, just to mention a few. This year the program guide listed more than 800 workshops, lectures, and sessions during the three-day convention. Exhibitors included publishing houses, language schools, language departments of various universities, embassies, travel agencies for studies abroad, cultural institutes, and of course our own Goethe-Instituts from Boston, Washington, and New York.
Hoefel and Olbricht presentation aimed to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of recent events in Germany and the challenges modern Germany faces today, and to foster intercultural awareness in order to strengthen the students’ global competence and ability to compete.
One goal was to make students understand the meaning and gravity of leaving one’s home country. Many states, including Texas, welcomed German immigrants in the 19th century. Authentic materials were based on a book by German author Anke Bär and the Texas German Dialect Project by Prof. Hans Boas at the University of Texas. A combination of project-based learning strategies were included to develop self-efficient learning and group work skills of the students. More material was provided for hands-on activities for interpersonal skills, such as reading, writing, listening and speaking.
The audience of high school teachers with students who have prior knowledge of German (AP-level) enjoyed the lecture and held a lively discussion afterwards.
Our teachers enjoyed the opportunity to attend various lectures about modern language teaching and pedagogy, and to strengthen the relationship with representatives from the Goethe-Institut and other language institutes around the US. They are looking forward to next year’s convention which will be held in Nashville, TN.