Improving their German skills was key focus for German language High School students from south-east Queensland over the winter break @ UQ’s Institute of Modern Languages (IML) week-long intensive program.
Building on the success of the IML Summer High School Program, the Winter Program aimed to break language learning barriers for students from years 11 and 12 who have been studying German, French and Japanese at high school.
IML’s German High School Program instructor Richard Hamernik said that he taught German in a way that was easy for the students to understand and apply.
“If students know the structure of the language, then they can apply the vocabulary to it. It’s much easier for them,” Mr Hamernik said.
Mr Hamernik said that his focus was on grammar to accelerate language acquisition, revising five years of school grammar over five days. “If you don’t know grammar, you’ll have a hard time acquiring the language,“ he said.
“All of a sudden they say ‘wow, I understand’.” Mr Hamernik believes that the students benefited from a better understanding of the importance of grammar in language learning.
Some of the students who participated in the Winter Program were sponsored by Education Queensland, after the success of the Summer Program was noticed.
“…I’ve learnt so much more in this course, and it has only been one week,” wrote a regional High School student about her experience with the Winter Program.
“Richard is one of the best teachers I have ever had. His teaching style is amazing and works extremely well.”
“I would recommend it, and I have already done the Summer Program twice because it was so helpful.”, explained another student participant.
During the course, the students covered the four core skills of language learning: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
The students worked in groups using these four skills to produce a radio program in German on the final day.
“I had a really diverse group,” Mr Hamernik said. “At the end, the radio program was of really good quality.”
Mr Hamernik has plans for the Summer Program to include extra cultural material.
IML Summer High School Program
Dates: 11-15 Jan 2016