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Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Merchant, Mary
A lesson to be learned,   pp. 51-[52] PDF (1.3 MB)


Page [52]


Side by side German and
illustrated books and discuss
American youngsters scan
contents in fluent German.
have been guided through the library, had the behavior
chart explained to them, and been shown how to play
the bottle xylophone, it is no longer easy to distinguish
the guests from the hosts.
Meanwhile, the visiting teachers and student teachers
are seeing that the American school methods about which
they have heard so much really work in practice.
WHILE SOME OF THE GERMAN teachers are enthu-
siastic about the new ideas developed in shop talk
with their American counterparts, many of them put the
main emphasis on their problems -overcrowding (usual-
ly more than 40 children in a primary class), bombed out
schools and lack of trained teachers; lack of facilities and
money for new books, teaching aids and art supplies.
At present, German youngsters can go to grade school
only three hours a day; the school has to run a morning
and an afternoon shifts. Every German grade school
pupil carries his Rucksack (knapsack) or school bag,
a symbol of the fact that he has to carry his books
home every day to work over with his mother the
material hisi techer h.. no
WHEN THE CHILDREN
arrive, a welcoming
committee elected by the
American class meets them
at the door, where a blond
American tot does the honors
with a welcoming speech in
German that astonishes the
German teachers. The Ger-
man children are pleased but
not astonished. As far as
they are concerned it is per-
fectly natural for everybody
to speak German. What
surprises them are the bright,
cheery classrooms, the col-
-- V--, 1- ~~German visitor plays a Ge
able desks. It looks as if  while equally young Ameri
school could be fun.
In the classroom, American and German youngsters sit
in alternate seats (whispering is encouraged on these
mornings), and while American and German teachers go
into a huddle, the Americans' German language teacher
takes over as mistress of ceremonies.
A few songs break the thin ice, and soon Americans
and Germans are in friendly competition to answer the
teacher's questions. Miss Schniederkotter, who is almost
always addressed as "Miss Ilse" both by her colleagues
and her pupils, carefully selects the questions so that
both groups can shine equally.
At recess, American insistence begins to break down
German shyness, and by the time the little Germans
time to teach him.
Meanwhile, the German
boys and girls, for once
without their knapsacks, get
along famously with their
new    American   friends.
Some over-patriotic Germans
might shiver to see young
Germany admiring American
blue jeans;unthinkingAmeri-
cans, in turn, could object
to young America becoming
so interested in "foreigners."
But men of good will the
world over would smile to
see it, would wish the whole
rman
can I
tune on bottle xylophone  world could act like second-
zostess holds musical score.  graders.       +END
'Miss Ilse," more formally Miss Schniederkotter, explains
behavior chart to nuzzled visitor. Rainer Stenhan (right).
INFORMATION BULLETIN
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