The cultural quirks of Germany

Following the German Scholarships Programme, all participants take on the role of ambassadors, visiting their local primary schools in the UK to share their experiences. The aim is to widen younger pupils' cultural understanding and inspire them to learn the language and visit Germany. Read on to find out how our 2016 participants captured the imaginations of the primary pupils.

Sprache und Kultur verbinden

The topic that I chose to cover with the students was musical instruments. I used a power-point presentation to make the students firstly identify various musical instruments in English. In order to involve the students more, I went around the class asking students what instruments they played. Then I proceeded to, one by one, go over the names of various different instruments in German and getting the students to repeat their pronunciations after me. After that, the teacher suggested that I use a method frequently used by him to engage his students in class. This constituted pulling lollipop sticks with names of students on them out of a cup and asking the chosen student a question. The typical question would be “(insert name), how would you say piano in German.” At the end of the lesson, I rounded off by playing the class the video of “Oft gefragt” by AnnenMayKantereit which featured most of the instruments that I had talked about. Having played the video, the final exercise was to ask the class what musical instruments they had seen in the video. Darsheel

I did my session on the topic of Christmas in Germany (…). I had prepared some Christmas ‘baubles’, with German Christmas words on some, and the English translations on others. The children then found their partners, using me and the teacher in the room if they were struggling. It was really encouraging to see that some of the girls asked specifically for ‘hard’ words, which I felt showed they were trying to challenge themselves and really engage in the language. The fact that the girls interacted and engaged so much in my lesson really suggests that they were inspired by it, and they all seemed really interested in my experience, in particular cultural differences between Germany and England. As I went around the class a lot of them asked me about my time in Germany, and they were all really excited about an upcoming trip to Berlin. (…) I found it really encouraging, and even quite exciting to see that they were enjoying themselves so much, and it has really prompted me to consider teaching as a future career. Grace

I also taught them various German idioms, such as ‘Schwein haben’ for having good luck. I also made them repeat the idiom after me in order to encourage them to try out the German dialect which the majority of them had never experienced before. In order to make the presentation interactive and to keep the children’s interest, I included a competitive element with a quiz and a set of teams with buzzers to press when they knew the answer. I created a grand prize of a variety of German sweets crammed into a (new) wellington boot, in order to demonstrate physically the custom of many German children of opening a boot full of sweets in December. Sophie

The children seemed to really love the competitive element which enabled them to put their newly learned knowledge to the test. They also liked learning about the various German idioms which often caused hilarity amongst them. (…) Two weeks after the presentation I was in town when one of the children from the class saw me and told me how much she had enjoyed the presentation! We then had a brief conversation about my experiences with Germany, where I mentioned my month abroad in the summer. I was very pleased that she had remembered so much of my presentation and that she was still enthusiastic about the subject. Grace

Kulturbewusstsein schaffen

I was very pleased with the effect of my session with the children, with some even asking the teacher when I would be coming back! I also think I opened their eyes more to the cultural quirks of Germany, and therefore caused them to consider Germany as less of a mere holiday destination, but also a country with its own rich background. I hope it has encouraged them to pursue languages further, particularly German! I look forward to becoming an ambassador for the future relationship between Britain and Germany; hopefully the children in my class will have the same mindset when they’re older! Sophie

Ich glaube, dass dieses Projekt dabei geholfen hat, Kulturbewusstein zu bringen. Wenn man ein fremdes Land besucht, denkt man, dass die Küche, und einfach alles komplett anders wäre. Diese Idee stammt wohl vom Spruch: ̖Andere Länder, andere Sitten.̕ Das ist doch so, aber es gibt sowohl deutsche/österreichische Spezialitäten als auch Essen aus der ganzen Welt. Das zeigt, dass Deutschland, beziehungsweise groβe Hauptstädte, multikulti ist. Vor dem Session habe ich sie gefragt nach dem, was sie erwarten und die meisten haben beantwortet: (übersetzt) ̖Ich weiβ es nicht…vielleicht wäre die deutsche Küche voll anders als unsere.̕ Danach hat ein Mädchen mir gesagt: ̖Boah! Das war super…Ich weiβ jetzt vieles, was ich vor einer Stunde gar nicht wusste. Danke sehr!̕ Zum Schluss: ein fremdes Land bedeutet eine fremde Küche nicht…
Diese Gelegenheit war echt toll und ich freue mich schon auf zuküntige Sessions. Aderonke