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My German Course: der Frauenkurs

I've been following the Deutschkurse des Frauenprojekts (German Course of the Women's Project) for a month.  It's part of the integration course subsidised by the German government. Among many integratioun courses out there, I chose this Frauenkurs (Women's Course) because of its special program and facility where the course is tailored for mothers and the school building is equipped with a child care. The whole program takes a longer time to complete compare to the 'normal' integration course, as the usual 600 hours/6 months/5 days per week becomes 900 hours/2 years/3 times per week at the Frauenkurs. The reason: one level is done within around 150 hours instead of 100 so the mothers can keep up with the course pace (between taking care of family and house chores). Besides we have days-off parallel to the German school holidays which also contributes to the prolonged course.

I'm on Modul 1, the most basic level. The class consists of 18 students from many nations, with different backgrounds.  Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, Turkey, Iran, Brazil, Morocco, Afghanistan, Srilanka, Kosovo and Ukraine are the countries our class represents. Three of us graduated from universities, another three finished their high schools and the rest had only 5 to 9 years of education. There are widows and divorcees or those who have been married since their teens. Most have no knowledge of English or if they do, they have very little command.

The majority of my classmates struggle on each lesson. Some have such very poor analytical skills that even after the teacher explains something for tens of time, they still don't understand a thing. Later on, when they finally understand it, the teacher still needs to guide them word by word to build a sentence. They even have difficulty to copy what's written on the blackboard and react very slowly towards any instruction. The good thing is, most of my classmates are enthusiastic. They might need lots of extra help, but their flaming eyes and gritted teeth show their eagerness to learn. I salute them from the bottom of my heart. Yes, I sometimes feel dead bored in the classroom when our teacher explains something more than five times or when waiting for my turn to practice verbally, but other than that I have no complain. Besides, very different we might be, one common goal brings us together: to learn German.

Talking about the teacher, her name is V and she is just G.R.E.A.T. She speaks without any particular accent although she actually comes from Yugoslavia and has been living in Germany for only 18 years. She has an 11-year experience of teaching integration courses. To ensure that everybody understands completely, V teaches systematically by drawing lots of tables and schemes on the blackboard. She's patient but at the same time firm and asks us to work hard. I once was an English teacher myself who gave lessons to high school pupils and university students.  I remember how tiring it could be to deal with my students although they didn't have problems like my classmates.  Now seeing the patience required to handle our class, my admiration towards V grows each time. Her job goes beyond the language teaching as she should also put extra energy to awaken the sleeping brains of most of her students. A determined person V is, I could see her tireless efforts motivate students who used to be laid back.

This Frauenkurs is my first integration course. Before, when still living in the US and the Netherlands, I used to take French and Dutch language courses at universities. The courses were fast paced and demanding, with lots of homework which took hours for me to finish. Having gotten used to the university courses, I find this Frauenkurs very enjoyable.  At home, I can go through my lessons happily and relax.   After all, I only have time for myself pass 8 pm when kids are in bed. The German homework is enough for me to develop the language without neglecting my kids, house-chores and research/writing.  I even consider myself very lucky to be in this particular class with V and my comrades, as I learn many things beyond German from those fabulous and inspiring ladies.


Jun. 2nd, 2009 09:34 am (UTC)
Thank you!! I will consult you!

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