The Skype linkup with a class in Germany, tonight has reinforced my belief, that working through an interpreter to teach other international classes is a skill that we need as we become more globally connected.
A message came up on our HLW Skype group from Reinhard Marx, a teacher, asking whether anyone was available to connect with his class in Germany in 2.5 hours time. As I was home and would be online, I agreed to connect. It was to be a mystery Skype with students asking questions to determine which country I was from.
It was a year 7 class and they were quite shy, but I would be too, if I didn’t feel confident with English. After some encouragement, one student came to the webcam and asked me a question. Then other students followed. They each introduced themselves.
The questions included:-
- Are you from England?
- Are you from Europe?
- Are you from Russia? and finally
- Are you from Australia? When the girl got my country correct, I immediately showed our flag to the camera for them.
I had quickly put together some photos of our farm to show them, so once they had worked out my country, I showed the pictures which were on a Powerpoint presentation. I had added English text so if they could not understand me, they may be able to read what I was saying.
There were photos of our animals – sheep, lambs, calves,; our flower stall at the front gate and some of the wild animals that we see on the farm, including an echidna and a koala. I was surprised that they did not seem to know what a koala was.
The students were then given the opportunity to ask me questions. There were questions about the time, the temperature (which was 30 degrees today), how hot it gets in summer (43.5 degrees was the highest this last summer) the season, where I actually lived in Australia (unfortunately, I had forgotten to put a map in the presentation to show them), the stars on our flag and a wonderful question about the colour of our sea.
As their English was not strong, I had to often pause for Reinhard to interpret both sections of my presentation and the questions that the students had for me. There is something surreal about doing this and a skill that needs to be acquired as we connect more and more on a global scale.