I am happy to report that this past Tuesday on Day Two of school I was able to implement my first Austria-centered lesson. I used one of the resource books that was given to us at the seminar called "Das neue Österreich Quiz" (The New Austria Quiz).
|front cover of the resource book|
This lit up a gigantic light bulb in my head! The students naturally expect conversational basics at the beginning of a language course, but why not present instead them with the chance to participate right away with what they really love anyway? Most of my students tell me that it's the CULTURE of a particular country that interests them the most when they choose a language to study.
Why hadn't I thought of this before? Well, I suppose like many teachers, my tendency is to teach like I was taught, to present content in the order in which I experienced it myself. It requires a certain level of intentionality to do something different, to deviate from the norm. Innovation, experimentation, and creation all are a lot of work, let's be honest! The great thing is that when it works, when it clicks during a class, it is the most rewarding thing. I strive all the time to do the unexpected, when I am teaching language. Creating a bit of mystery and suspense in a class is always a successful tactic.
Using this lesson about preconceived notions regarding Austria, we were able to weave together language, history (both modern and old), ethnic diversity and cultural products. My students, on only their second day of German class, learned the words Monarchie, Moschee, Mozartkugel, Skifahren, and Kaffeehaus. It was a great activity, and I am already looking forward to next week's lesson that presents a method for examining Austrian perspectives on their national identity. Stay posted!
|Mozartkugel (Austrian chocolate confection)|