10 April, 2008

Catching My Breath

It’s been ten days since we returned from NYC, and, as silly as it may sound, I’m just catching my breath again. There were physical symptoms to overcome, but even more, there were intellectual and emotional ones. I was revisiting, or was stuck, in certain conversations and experiences; spending time reflecting on the sense of things.

The trip was so rich in experience; I gave into the temptation to linger. Family and friends here encouraged me to do so. “How was your trip?” “Tell me all that happened?” “What was your impression about…?” Part of me wanted to recount every little detail of the journey. The other part of me wanted me to jump right back into our fine, but humble, existence.

Today, the later part won out. My responses have become more and more truncated and so, it’s time to return both inwardly and outwardly to Luebeck. I’m sure stories of NY will find their way into blog postings in the future months, just not now.

There is much for me to do over the next weeks. In the foreground of my concerns is preparation for some lectures I’m holding at the University of Kiel, and, seeing through an ESL course for occupational therapy (OT) students. The ESL course starts tomorrow and continues the next three months.

I’m going out on a limb on this course. The previous ESL instructors used traditional teaching methods (frontal instruction form, worksheets, vocabulary lists, and blocks of scientific texts with fill-in-the-blank questions) to try and motivate the students to learn English OT terminology and understand English scientific literature.

This the goal of the course, since there is very little German OT literature available. The students, as professional occupational therapists will, in the future, have to rely on English literature to inform them about new developments in their work field. My method, if successful, will be to connect the students with the English-speaking OT community on the web. The students will use blogs, wikis, OT forums, online language training tools to negotiate some sort of position in the wide world out there.

I do not know if it is going to work. The method I’d like to follow requires that the students do all the work and I just offer guidance and structure. It also means they have to ask questions, make comments, seek advice in a language they are not necessarily proficient in. All in all, I am planing on putting them in a rather uncomfortable position.

What I am asking of the soon-to-be (occupational) therapists is that they become (language) patients over the next months. They have to learn to take baby-steps, work consistently on stretching their skills, and not lose their sense of humour along the way.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. A valiant endeavor! Best of luck!! Glad you are getting back to German time again!