The Reichwald Germanic Studies Visiting Teaching Fellowship enhances instruction and learning in German language and promotion of intercultural exchanges with German colleagues by supporting the appointment of a pedagogue who works within the German language program at UBC’s Okanagan Campus.
Johannes Engelhardt, the 2015 Reichwald Germanic Studies Visiting Teaching Fellow, graduated from the University of Marburg with a degree in Education. His specialization is in DaF (teaching German as a foreign language). He hails from the state of Hessia (Hessen in German), and his hometown of Erbach lies half-way between Frankfurt a.Main (the book and bank capital of Germany) and Heidelberg (famed for its castle, its university, and the vineyards that surround it).
“Having spent the last few months in Kelowna, I really appreciate my time here at UBCO and being part of the FCCS family. Everyone has been very helpful and supportive. Right from the first day I felt that people wanted me to get the most out of my experience.” Says Johannes Englehardt. “I am so grateful to be here at UBCO for the entire academic year, and I hope everyone can profit from my presence here. I know I am as the many discussions about pedagogy with colleagues help prepare me for my career as a teacher in Germany.”
Johannes has been assisting in German classes, mainly by being a further initiator of student “output,” that is, getting students to produce language, a key part of language learning. He has been fostering conversations with students, thus helping them put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.
“Johannes brings a great and friendly disposition, and great insight into German culture to the classes he is part of.” Says Claude Desmarais, Assistant Professor, German. “Students and professors alike are happy to have someone as interested in teaching as Johannes to be part of the team thanks to the Reichwald Fund.”
Johannes will also act as the “real Germany now” part of the German courses in FCCS, and his interests in sports, music, and culture will allow him to assist in such things as the German Culture projects students will be undertaking, and presenting to the larger community. Outside of classes, Johannes will be tutoring students, helping them to find information for their culture projects, and establishing one or the other of the following: German Stammtisch (a pre-set meeting to talk about German, and life (in Germany)), and/or a film/cultural programming showing.
“As the first German Visiting Teacher Fellow via the Reichwald Fund, I love working with the students in the German classes and am honored to work alongside my two supervisors Prof. Dr. Martin Blum and Prof. Dr. Claude Desmarais. I enjoy preparing classes, helping to mark papers, and most of all being there to talk with and advice students in and outside of class, in order to give them yet another German speaker from whom to learn the language and about German culture.” Says Johannes.
It is well known that when students are learning a foreign-language, the number of native/near-native speakers they hear impacts their learning. Increasing students’ contact with such speakers will have an immediate positive impact on their learning, while the presence of a young person from Germany, whose specialization is in teaching German and who has travelled all the way to Canada as his first choice, promotes intercultural exchange and makes Germany a real, living place. Finally, meeting a German language assistant will help students to realize that studying and working abroad is not just a dream, but a very real possibility. It is a great achievement of the Reichwald Germanic Studies Endowment Fund that it is able to foster interest in German language and culture in this way.