At the Oxford German Network we work not only with secondary schools, but also with primary schools where German is taught. One of our local schools has been making great use of some of the fantastic opportunities that the UK-German Connection provides for younger learners and their teachers. The UK-German Connection is an organisation “dedicated to increasing contacts and understanding between young people in the UK and Germany”. Why not take a look at their voyage kids website, aimed at primary pupils, or the voyage for older pupils. But first, a tale of teddy bears and teacher travels…
SS Philip and James’ School, Oxford (often called Phil and Jim’s for short) has been developing a link with Brakenhoffschule, a primary school in Westerstede, near Bremen in northern Germany.
The link was made possible through projects organised by the UK-German Connection. The first of these was the ‘host a teacher’ initiative. Earlier in the year a teacher from Brakenhoffschule spent two weeks at Phil and Jim’s, helping with German teaching and finding out about the school. This was a fantastic opportunity for the school and of course the German teacher was able to take back a lot of new experiences to share with their own pupils. Since the visit the two schools have kept in contact and children in Year 5 have written penpal letters.
Recently the children in Year 3 had a very special visitor from Berlin, again as part of a UK-German Connection project. His name is Alex … and he is a Teddybear! His visit was part of the Bears Project, and involved Ben, an English Teddybear, visiting Phil and Jim’s partner school in Germany. On the ‘Bears’ webpage you can find out lots more about how to participate, and see all of the British and German schools that the bears have already visited! It’s safe to safe to say that Ben received a very warm welcome in Germany, and the Brakenhoffschule pupils even prepared some welcome signs before his arrival – his visit is currently highlighted on the school’s homepage! (Scroll midway down…)
All the children and both teachers agreed that the visits were a big success, with the bears teaching the children more about their language and culture. The bears even have their own blog on the Voyage kids website!
Nicola Deboys, Oxford German Network