Today has been an inspiring day! We have had some time to work on our e-portfolios before our third visit to a local school. This time, we went to Ricarda Huchschule, where we met the director. She introduced the school, their teaching approach and she also highlighted their focus on the language programme, especially when it comes to Spanish lessons. She congratulated the Spanish teachers' work and their effort to improve year after year the teaching's quality.
It is worth mentioning that the number of students who choose Spanish as a foreign language is increasing every course, even though they know they cannot quit once they start the subject until they finish their school period.
Then, we were able to attend to Susanna Hönig's Spanish lesson with her group of about 20 students, who have studied this subject for only a year now. We could observe her lessons and she also let us participate in them. We could walk around the class and help students with their activities and doubts. The lesson lasted for 45 minutes and they worked on vocabulary practice about groceries, shopping expressions, etc.
The class started with the teacher asking some questions: ¿En qué día estamos? and ¿Qué tiempo hace hoy?, which some students answered orally. Afterwards, she showed a picture of 3 people who were planning to go shopping so they had a context of what was the lesson going to be about. The next activity was reading out loud a shopping list. The teacher wrote on the blackboard some mistakes students made in order to correct them.
Following with the topic, the students had to listen to an audio about flatmates that were going to the supermarket to buy some food. Students had to answer questions, such as: ¿Adónde quieren ir? and ¿Qué falta/qué tienen que comprar? These questions were written on the board by the teacher so everyone could see them while listening. To correct it they shared the answers all together and the teacher gave some feedback.
To practice the vocabulary they had worked with the text students had to complete an exercice, where there were some pictures and they had to write the word in Spanish. In my opinion, the pictures were too small and not in a very high quality, besides there were in black and white so they had some problems to identify what was the element that appeared in each photograph. I would probably have printed bigger images and in colour, so that it is more helpful for them to clearly see the object.
Besides from this con, the correction was done orally in an open-class way and, plus, it was supported by the use of digital devices: an ipad and an electronic pen. The teacher just had to write down on the ipad the correct answer and instantly it was visible for everybody in the class. Personally, I think this was a great idea and I didn't expect that at all, as in the classroom there were no computers, nor smartboards, nor any visible digitial tool.
The last activity was about preparing a dialogue in small groups, a role play, in which they were flatmates and they had to go shopping and decide what to buy. The idea was that they could write it to prepare it and, then, represent it in front of the class but we didn't have time to do that and only one group did it. While the group was acting the rest of the students had to write down some positive evaluations about it and some aspects that could be improved, usually regarding to any Spanish mistakes that they could have heard. To end the session, we sang all together the hit song Despacito by Luis Fonsi.
After having lunch, we had the chance to attend to one of Isabel's seminars at University of Kiel. It was a seminar about didactics in a MA for language teachers and we could work collaboratively with them in different activities, such as listening to some interviews and exchanging opinions and discuss about them. We could compare those ideas with the variety of contexts and experiences we have lived before.
The most interesting activity for me was watching a video from one of Isabel's language lessons, that had been recorded as part as a research MA project, and which focused on the analysis of the "I don't know" answers from students and, consequently, the teacher's reactions. By watching the video and reading the transcription we realized that sometimes we try to do what we think it's the best for our students and the result turns out to be the opposite. Sometimes as teachers we aren't aware of what are we really doing or transmitting to our students. By recording our lessons, we can afterwards analyse them and try to improve our teaching as we learn from our own mistakes.
In my opinion, it is brave to show this video to your students and I'm glad Isabel did it because it was so helpful for us and we could see that not everyone is perfect and that even the most experienced teachers, with a long and awarded carreer, make mistakes as well.
The whole day has been so productive and I have learnt a lot from all the activities and the discussions we had with all the colleagues. We could exchange opinions either about the use and availability of ICT in a classroom, different methods of DPD (Professional Teaching Developement) and which would work in each context we had been in. We could also know different options that german future teachers have in order to develop themselves professionally and, therefore, improve their teaching.
As far as I know, there are a lot of similarities in the spanish and german educational systems but there is also a long list of differences and some have a very strong impact on the society's structure. For example, the german school system is very labeling, while in Spain every child has the same opportunities and they are not sent to a different school according to their marks, skills, etc.
Regarding ICT in the classrooms, we have seen that it is still not very common in Germany and most schools still rely on the traditional chalk blackboards and some have a Smartboard as a complement but they don't use it so often. Maybe one of the reasons could be the short time that lessons last and the teachers perspective that it is so difficult to fit in activities with ICT in such a short time. Another reason could be that the teachers themselves are not trained for using this digital tools in an appropriate way and they might not feel comfortable when using it.
After this hard working day, we could relax by having dinner together and enjoy a great meal at Jack's Kitchen. As you can see in the picture we had a wonderful time there!
I hope you enjoyed it!