Over the last few months I have had the interesting experience of enhancing my knowledge and abilities in two languages--english
, and German. Reviewing grammar, syntax, and vocabulary in my mother tongue concurrent with building the same elements in a new foreign language has given me interesting insight in each of them. While learning english
language pedagogy, I have experienced German language pedagogy as I participate in an intensive German language course. In many ways, I am surrounded on all fronts by language, and language learning!
"Re-learning" is the best way I can describe the knowledge I have reviewed in this course, in regards to the english
language. Having learned twelve years of school in New York
, as well as six years of University, the english
language is not foreign to me. However, in the eight years that I have been living abroad, working as a musician, and learning two new languages in which I operated day-to-day, my english
was in need of a refresher if I would like to have the confidence and command required for competent teaching. This course was an excellent way for me to review grammar, parts of speech, and think of good ways to communicate these things to students. These things have been ever present in my mind as I learn German, a language with very complex grammar. Grammar is the tool with which one can manipulate words into ideas comprehensible to the other person, and so to have command over it means having the tools necessary to successfully communicate. In music I would relate this to the technical mastery of the instrument. It doesn't matter how talented you are, if you don't have the technique, you will never be able to communicate your musical ideas to the listener.
Regarding pedagogy, I am reminded of the Unit of this course where I watched two example lessons--the good one and the bad one. In some ways, to my dismay, the German course in which I am currently enrolled resembles the bad example more than the good one. Now that I have information from this course, as well as my own teaching experience in music, I wish that I could take the teacher to the side and give him a pointer or two. Instead, I use the class time and my own knowledge of language learning to make my experience the best possible. And I learn to ask the teacher the "right" questions, in a clear way requiring a clear answer, in order to benefit me and my classmates. I have many ideas that would make my course better: more group work, more 'guided' discussion, more interaction, more activity! Perhaps in the future I will have this chance, albeit with english
, not German.
This course has given me renewed confidence not only with my abilities in the english
language, but also with my ability to communicate it in an effective way to those struggling to learn it. I look forward to beginning my new side-career in this field, and gaining more and more knowledge and insight through experience.