Concordia students spent the last two months teaching elementary students to speak another language.
With a bright grin and dancing eyes, a child named Jack spoke boldly into the microphone. “Ich heisse Jack,” he said in his best German.
Dozens of parents came to see the culmination of the Centennial School Language Program taught by the college students. Children had the choice of five languages: Spanish, French, Norwegian, German and Chinese. They spent two days after school each week for the last two months learning their target language. And as research shows, their brains are like sponges for learning.
“I knew young minds absorb language fast,” says Toby Kindem, a first-year student majoring in German education. “But I didn’t think this fast.”
Kindem jumped at the opportunity to teach the language courses because he plans to be a German teacher some day. He says this is the perfect opportunity to get classroom experience long before he could student teach.
The Centennial Elementary program is sponsored through the PTA and parents pay a fee to have their students participate. The college students get a great experience and are paid a stipend for their work.
Teaching language through song is quite common. The familiar tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” filled the gymnasium, but the words were in Chinese.
“It’s really good practice for us too as we teach Chinese,” says senior Alisa Batchelor, who is a global studies major and Chinese minor.
Batchelor says some days teaching was hard, but the experience was well worth it. And judging by the hugs and words of thanks as the college students said goodbye to their pupils – the feeling was mutual.