Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Power of a Comment...

I recently did a blog post titled, How do you Define Learning? This post centers around the struggles I am having this year as I move away from the traditional style of learning to something I hope to be better for my students. I have spent a good deal of time asking my students and polling them to get a feel for their thoughts and beliefs as it pertains to their education, and ultimately about the direction of my German classes. One of my German 3 students read this blog post (which is awesome), and he left a comment on my blog (which is even more awesome)! Here is what he had to say:
Alex Bailey said...
Today I was finally given my edline activation code and decided to finally get a chance to check out all of your blogs. Being one of the students that made this comment to you, I would like to clarify my statement, and hope to help you understand where I'm coming from. I'm posting this here because it is much easier for me to say this in English rather than German.

When I come to school, I have seven classes to go to along with an Advisory. My classes are given a specific name and that name comes from what I'll be learning in that class. When I come to German class, the first thing that comes to my mind is "I'm going to enjoy this hour." Last year in German II, I learned so much. I learned the basics of a language, and how to form sentences that you along with my classmates can understand. This allows us to communicate in another language, and in my mind, that's a huge thing. Now, since German III has begun, I've just added to what I've learned with things such as grammar, about fifty more vocab words, and how to use the thinking process when I'm trying to say something in a language that I've been speaking for just over a year. I can't help but feel like I haven't learned as much German as I've learned last year simply because we aren't studying the German language alone and how to improve our Grammar every day. Instead we're practicing using it, which if you can't use it, there is no point in knowing the grammar.

Now, this year in German, I haven't learned as many new words, and how to talk to you and my friends in German (because I already learned how to do that last year), but I've learned so many other things that it's impossible to list all of them because I seem to sometimes learn them without knowing it. For example, you've taught me how to make a blog, post on a blog, resize pictures and add captions to them (for my glog, not blog), you've inspired me to learn the ins and outs of a few computer programs such as paint, and the alt keys for umlauts which inspired me to learn other cool alt codes such as the blank character, a triangle, a smiley face, and a few others. These are just a few things you've indirectly caused me to learn, but the list goes on for an incredibly long time, and all of this took place while I was reinforcing as well as adding to my German speaking skill.

When I made that comment, I didn't truly think before I spoke. What I should have said was something more along the lines of "I haven't learned as much German this year as I learned in the whole last year." When I came in to German III the first day, I felt like German III would be much faster paced, and we would learn a whole lot more about the language than in the previous year, but I have come to the realization that this isn't the truth. We are learning not about German alone, but about everything no matter how hard we try, because you somehow manage to find assignments to assign that cause me to keep thinking and learning. For that, I think you're a great teacher and have truly taught me more in your class than any other class has taught me in my time in High School because you are not focusing on specifically German (like the name of the course), but more of a "learn as much as you can while doing something related to German" type of thing. So please don't be so hard on yourself about the comment because I feel I probably shouldn't have said something like that so quickly, and should have thought it through more thoroughly before saying it.