A free programme run through Auckland University enables teachers to boost their own and their students‘ language learning. Learn (or learn more) Chinese, Cook Islands Maori, French, German, Japanese, Niuean, Samoan, Spanish, Tongan or Tokelaun. Read here how an Auckland school is succeeding in German and find out how you can be part of the language action.

Es war einmal – Beziehungen – Sehnsucht – Igel

What do fairy tales, relationships, longing and hedgehogs have in common?
They are all themes of films made by students at Ramarama School in Auckland.
So why are students making German films and winning prizes: they are made by students as young as 11 as part of a national competition for students learning the German language.
Students learning German throughout New Zealand combine film-making and their language study to enter annual a Short Film Fest competition.
Ramarama School on the southern fringes of Auckland has had students enter the Goethe-Institut competition for the last four years.
Students have had no problems coming up with creative ideas to produce films based on a fairy tale theme, relationships, longing, or the hedgehog.
The first film Es war einmal was a stop-motion animation on the fairy-tale theme. It inspired another student the following year to use the same method for her film, entitled Katze und Hund.
Students acted for the third film Die Sehnsucht nach Glück. And for last year’s entry, Der hässliche Igel (The Ugly Hedgehog), the students filmed paper puppets against back-drops they had drawn.
Students had to work together and think about how to use the German they knew to tell a story. They learnt that they cannot literally translate the kind of descriptive language they are encouraged to use in their first language, but rather think about how they can re-word it.
“They feel great satisfaction when they have completed the project and they have enjoyed having their efforts recognised by the Goethe-Institut in Wellington,” says teacher Janelle Wood.
Twice students have travelled to Wellington for the prize giving where their films were shown to an audience.
When the latest film was shown at a whole school assembly, even the youngest ones listened and watched with interest. “When do I get to learn German?” a Year 5 student asked Frau Wood.
Janelle Wood not only teaches German and Japanese, since completing the Ministry of Education professional development programme TPDL, she has also worked as one of the TPDL team of In-School Support Facilitators.
If you are interested in professional development to enable you to teach a language effectively or to improve your language teaching skills, visit www.tpdl.ac.nz to find out about Teacher Professional Development Languages. This Ministry of Education funded programme begins a month into Term 1.