A second language is always a challenge to learn, but keeping up on your own language while away from home can be difficult too.
German students now have help from St. Andrew’s College. As they navigate their courses in English, the School is also preparing them to return home for university by offering a German course designed just for them.
The class is the brainchild of Bruce Keyes, Associate Director of Admission. His research with German families and agencies while travelling abroad demonstrated a need for students to keep up their language skills while living in Canada. This would ensure that when the student returns home they would be as skilled in their own language as they would be if they stayed in Germany.
Nicole Nascimento, a new member of the St. Andrew’s faculty, developed the course. She is using a three-prong approach. The first follows the curriculum set out by the Ontario Ministry of Education ensuring the students earn a grade 12 credit toward their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
The second component is a group project where the boys will create a video diary of their time at St. Andrew’s. They will craft a story board using project management software to set timelines and develop the segments. The boys will examine all facets of school life – the campus, athletics, clubs, boarding, etc. This will teach them new skills, help them get more involved in activities offered at SAC, and will serve as a nice memento.
Lastly, the boys will study German literature from the Middle Ages to present. This is what grade 12 students in the German school system study now. The boys will also take time to study art and culture, the environment, and of course, essential writing and comprehension skills just as they would learn in English class.
“The boys love the course,” said Bruce. “Mrs. Nascimento is an energetic and dynamic teacher.”
Mrs. Nascimento, who was born in Germany and moved to Canada when she was 11 years old, makes learning fun through debates, serious discussions, and competitions. The boys are always happy to compete for a prize. And it also makes learning the material more interesting. “The boys are very happy to speak their native language,” she says. “They spend all day translating their thoughts into English and this gives them the chance to be themselves.”
Grade 11 student Nils Plinkert really appreciates the course, “It helps me a lot because my German got really bad after just one year at SAC.” He now feels he’s back on track and succeeding in his own language once again.
“I want them to learn something that will apply to their lives,” said Mrs. Nacimento. And that’s just what she has been doing. Most recently, the boys hosted a film night. The Andrean community was invited to a screening of Train to Freedom, a documentary about the last train out of the former East Germany to Prague and the West German Embassy weeks before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
In addition to helping the German students ensure placement in their hometown universities, this new program will also help secure mission-appropriate boys from the country. Bruce was happy to report back to recruiting agencies and perspective parents in the region that the School is now offering the program.
Story by Nicolette Fleming, Communications Officer