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A Treasure Chest of Teaching Methods: Work Shadowing at F+U Academy of Languages


Melanie Mattigk is a German teacher who lives in Spain. From July 3 to July 13, she took part in the Professional Development Seminar for German Teachers to work-shadow in our Junior Programme. In our interview, she talks about her experiences at F+U Academy of Languages:

Where in Spain are you from?
I was born in Brandenburg and moved abroad when I was 21. After a few years in Ireland I finally came to Spain 10 years ago. Today, I’m a teacher of German at Colegio San Patricio International School, a private school in Toledo.

What does your day-to-day work as a teacher in Toledo look like?
I teach German to children aged 3 to 12. We value creative ways of teaching, which means there is not a lot of ex-cathedra teaching. Our pupils learn in a playful way – that includes singing, dancing and being active in general. Children need to have fun while learning in order to be motivated. This aspect is very important for us, which is why we jokingly call ourselves “classroom managers” instead of teachers. Next to the creative way of learning, teamwork is very important as well. Learning together and from each other, that’s what we stand for.

That sounds interesting. You work-shadowed in German classes at F+U Academy of Languages for 9 days – what new ideas will you take home with you?
After a day of work shadowing in a German course for older students I work-shadowed in the Junior Programme for 8 days. That was a great experience. The teachers at F+U Academy of Languages are very flexible because they need to adjust their teaching methods as they have new students every week. The teachers concentrate on each student individually – that is hard work, but it is fun! Each child learns in a different way and the teachers get to know so many children, that means a lot of flexibility is needed. Besides the flexibility, F+U Academy of Languages has a real treasure chest filled with teaching techniques, and I’ll definitely bring some of them back home with me!

Are there any differences you saw between your school and F+U Academy of Languages?
As I already said, we focus on learning methods with a lot of action. On the other hand, F+U Academy of Languages needs to have a clearly structured schedule for the older students as many of them prepare for studies in Germany. That is different in the Junior Programme. Teachers in the Junior Programme use many creative ways of teaching, as not just writing and reading are the focus of the lessons. There is a lot more to a language than reading and writing. My goal as a teacher is to teach our pupils something every day – and it doesn’t matter whether I stick to the schedule or not.

Thank you very much for the conversation!

My pleasure! I’m happy I got the chance to be here and I’ll definetly take many good impressions home with me.

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