“It is extremely gratifying.”
When I began working with classes 1a & 1b in March of 2017, there was just one little boy who understood a little English. Now, a year and a half later, most of the class (now class 2 students ) understand me and many make a point of speaking to me in English. We talk about everyday topics such as family, pets and sports. By the end of the school year there were a dozen or so children in the second class who were beginning to read English.
It is extremely gratifying to see the children develop confidence in learning English. The bilingual program is clearly effective and beneficial for the children. In addition to learning English vocabulary and forming simple sentences and questions, the students also learned a bit about my country from the stories and photographs that I shared in the classroom.
The bilingual program in Lübeck is new and it is largely up to the classroom teachers to find their own approach to bilingual teaching. I attend two second year and two first year classes four days a week and interact with the children in a variety of ways in the classroom and in the school yard. In class, I typically talk to the children about their school work, using English vocabulary to reinforce the subjects they are learning, for example, the months, seasons, colors, numbers, etc. I also assist the teachers with using the correct phrases in classroom instruction.
My favorite activity is going on field trips with the classes. I normally have a few children in tow, and as we walk, we play word games reinforcing vocabulary related to the subjects they are learning in class. Invariably, I end up with a large group of children participating in our little games.
The KinderWege afterschool program offers the children a wide variety of activities. On Tuesday I stay to play games with the children. We incorporate English as much as possible into our after school activities.
Working at the Stadtpark Schule has been gratifying. I thoroughly enjoy the children, I have learned a lot about German culture, and my German has improved significantly. The feedback I have received from a few parents and the faculty is that the bilingual program is worthwhile and fruitful. I have seen great progress in the short time I have worked with KinderWege. The only qualification needed is the ability to speak English and the rewards are enormous—nothing makes me smile more than to be greeted in the school yard with a chorus of “good morning Mrs. Cohen.” I would encourage others to join the bilingual English program.
I look forward to the coming school year.
Wanda M. Cohen