Saturday, June 6, 2015

German teaching one-day-conference in AUTh - Impressions

It's my first time in this kind of conference, I have to say. Although my first "specialization" is in DaF (teaching German as a foreign language), the way they "spread" this kind of information from the University is a bit limited. I got a message from Goethe Institut's newsletter that there was going to be a conference, but the deadlines, if you wanted to present had already passed. That is a pity, though, because presenting in German is one of my next goals. Anyway no problem there, I'll be more careful next time I guess...
It's also sad to say that I felt like a stranger because when I went there, in the beginning I knew nobody.... (in contrast with the ELT field, when I go to seminars and conventions, I know everybody and everybody knows me...) That's really sad, I guess...
When time passed though, I met some of my old professors and one of my fellow "classmates" ( I don't really know if this is the correct word - do you have classmates at university? anyway....)
I will not go into each of the presentations I saw, but I will just comment.
  • My impression was that there was too much theory, I mean only lectures and presentations of work. No direct workshop and learning by doing (as a kinaesthetic person that's the best way I learn actually)
  • There was a mix-up on "blended learning" in one of the presentations. Except the fact that there was again too much theory, which is acceptable and I have a lot of respect towards a person who has studied so much and has been into research and owns so many degrees and doctorates, but.... "Blended learning" is exactly what the word suggests: "Blended" (auf Deutsch: gemischt). It does not have to do so much with complete learner autonomy. This means that we use the computer, the podcast, the film, the moodle (or whatever else) together with face to face teaching (or skype or whatever form of communication). The computer does not abolish the teacher. 
  • All the projects I have seen were really interesting. I believe that the teachers have done really great work. All the projects I have seen were done in public schools with e-twinning (or alike) programs. I am really glad that there are some teachers who work with the kids this way. What happens with us who are not in the public sector though and DO NOT have access to e-twinning, teachers4europe and this kind of things?
  • I also have to say that things that we have been doing for years in the private sector  and in the ELT (like projects, games, kinaesthetic activities) are considered a luxury in the public sector and again my hat off to people in the public sector who devote the time to do it. But.... I am sorry, I have not learned anything new. I don't want to criticize anyone and I don't consider myself the best teacher there is... but there are a lot of us who have been doing things like that for years now, but do not have people to support us and remain unknown for some reason.
  • Another thing I did not like was that public teachers were characterized in the conference schedule as ΠΕ07 while private sector teachers were characterized as "German teachers". For God's shake, we have all graduated from the same faculty!!!!
  • Next year I am applying for a presentation. I am convinced that we need an active workshop to lighten things up a bit. ( I know that after this critique I might not be accepted but anyway....)

It was nice to see my buddy Kostas Ververis and remember the good old college times, dear  Gianna Kerkinopoulou and my facebook friend Sofia Modrinou! Keep up the good work guys!!!

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