Storytelling is as old as human civilization itself and fulfills a human need. In societies, in which education is becoming more commodified, students do not only want to be relegated to the position of consumers and regurgitate memorized facts. They have often told me that they want some control over their studies and the chance to produce meaningful, creative work. In one of my project-oriented seminar on life writing, students – including Ines van Rahden – got the chance to do just that. You can listen to her story, “24 Hours behind Bars,” at the end of this blog.
A long journey ends
when farmers grab their rifles
wolves in Germany
Remember the Haiku rules from last week? If not, check here.
As opposed to last week’s blog on traditional Haikus, this blog will focus on the non-traditional variant. While these Haikus still feature a natural scene or a part of nature (e.g. landscapes, animals, oceans), the focus is no longer on the depiction of a quiet, solemn image of nature but on the disruption or even destruction of a once balanced and harmonious environment. Non-traditional Haikus always call attention to environmental damage due to man’s interference in the natural order of things.
I finally know
why students don’t like Haikus
too many syllables
Ooops, something went wrong – right: the last line. It has 6 syllables but should consist of no more than 5. O well, that’s the problem with Haiku writing – it sounds easy at first, but there are quite a few rules to obey. At least if you want to write a traditional Haiku.
hen I walk through my hometown, what do I hear? Traffic noises, the sounds of nature, animals humming, barking, and chirping. And of course, I hear us. Us humans chattering, laughing, and arguing. It is languages I hear. Lately, there are also languages I have never heard before. Sometimes, I turn around in search of their source and try to understand what is being said. I fail most of the time, but every now and then I recognize a word because of its resemblance to a word I already know.
If it were up to me, American high school and college students would spend a mandatory year living abroad before a degree of any kind is conferred. This trip would be fully funded by the United States government. It’s difficult to quantify how exposure to a different culture can change one’s perspective for the better.
As a sophomore (tenth grade), I had the privilege of spending a week in London with several other students, during which we hit all the usual tourist spots and attended several musicals. It was a good trip, but honestly, I was too young to fully appreciate the new surroundings and the history of a city so much older than any in the States.
The next time I traveled overseas, I was 41 and brought my wife of nine years. I had become a published author with companies like Random House, and my German-translation publisher, Hanser, flew us to Germany for a ten-day book tour in cooperation with the embassy.
There are many things to recount – amazing German hospitality, breathtakingly intelligent students, gorgeous scenery… from the moment we first arrived in Göttingen, we were entranced.
Then came our trip to the Dachau memorial.
A year and a half has passed since the Teaching America project at Leipzig University’s American Studies Department has entered the practical phase, and a lot has happened since. Let us fill you in on some of the great new developments.
The Teaching America project introduces and strengthens the use of new media both in the university setting and in high school classrooms, thus increasing the amount of U.S.-related topics and resources in English high school instruction in Saxony and beyond. This project minimizes the gap between theoretical university instruction and school reality by providing student teachers with the opportunity to gain teaching experience long before students enter their practical student teaching phase.
The core of the project is an interactive online portal that was created in close consultation with teachers. The portal contains a wide variety of freely available online resources for teachers on American society, politics, culture, history, and literature. And the best part is: It’s open to all interested teachers and teacher trainees.