Day 11 and 12 of skole,
The Danes are very amazed by our ability and desire to visit as many cities and countries as we could during our week off. Joergen kindly asked Anna and I to make a presentation of our travels to show the students where we went and talk about the history that happened there. We explained to the students that in America, it is pretty common for young adults to dream about backpacking Europe. Americans think that travel is easily accessible in Europe and everything is so close as compared to the states. We then had the opportunity to ask them that if they could travel anywhere in the world where would they go. The students had a mix of answers including Iceland, Spain, and Thailand. Of course America was the most popular! The students informed us that it is popular for them to think about the great American roadtrip and traveling across the U.S. Many of the older students had been to Germany and a lot of them go to Austria for skiing. It was so nice to be able to share our pictures and experiences with the students and teachers!
Joergen also asked us to talk with the students about family values in America and what it is like to be in an American family. Anna and I shared more information about our own family and the rules and expectations set in our household. We also talked about our friends and how when we would go over to their houses we could notice some differences between our family and theirs. The students seemed very interested in traditional southern dinner ettiquet, like not putting your elbows on the table and asking to be excused from the table. We explained that our family values will be influenced by how our parents were raised and our religious and cultural background. After some discussion, the students started to notice some similarities and differences between our families and theirs. It was such a great opportunity to point out that we may all come from different places but we can still value similar things!
Lastly, joergen set up a time for the local newspaper to come to Virklund Skole and interview Anna and me! It was very exciting, but of course it made me a little nervous. The journalist was very kind, he asked us questions mostly about where we are from, what we are doing in Denmark, and what we have learned from our time here. The interview went by quickly and then he came and watched Anna and me discuss family values with the students. Joergen calls the students pupils and that has certainly grown on me, I find myself correcting my writing to say students. But the article came out in the paper on Wednesday and we were on page 8! The principal seemed very proud and happy with what we said in the paper, but Anna and I are not sure exactly what the article says because it is in Danish. It was certainly easy to brag about Virklund Skole and the teachers and pupils that make it so great! Joergen even made sure that we each had a newspaper copy of the article to take home!
Week 6 is a special week here at Virklund because the teachers integrate some important life lessons about social media into the lessons. They discuss with the students about bullying, spreading rumors, and better ways that they could use social media. After some deep discussion in 9th grade, the teacher had the students stand up and make a circle. The students were asked to come up with a rumor and share it with the class while they passed around a ball of yarn. They quickly caught on that spreading rumors is just like spinning a web of lies and they had a short but in-depth discussion on that can apply to their lives.
As we have seen so many English classes we have started to see a trend in the teaching choices. Each teacher goes about teaching the students how to speak, read, and write English in a different way, but they all seem to use a common theme. They ask themselves what the students are interested in, and what is relevant to them, what is going to motivate them to want to learn English. A few of the teachers have adopted this music theme and one class has been looking at the 27 club while another class has been interpreting lyrics and making their own music videos. These teachers have incorporated how to do research, how to write poems, figurative language, reading comprehension, social skills, and using technology. They have done all of this while also keeping them interested and motivated to learn English! It is truly amazing and even more amazing is to see just how proud the students are of their work.
Lastly, we Alice worked it out so that we could visit VIA in Silkeborg! It was so great to be able to see the teachers college and to get more information on the teacher education here in Denmark! We learned about a Danish educational philosopher and I look forward to reading more about him and some of his work.
Day 7 of skole,
Yesterday was an interesting day filled with great discussions! I have really enjoyed getting to know the 9th graders here at Virklund. Their English is so well developed that they are able to ask us questions that require us to think critically and reflect. The interest that they have in our political system has been a great challenge for us! Their interests and questions have certainly increased my interest in the presidential race. It has also been great to learn about the student’s views on immigration, especially here in Denmark at this time in the world. Coming from the USA, where we are mostly immigrants, it is so fascinating to hear another side and view on immigration. The students are incredibly clever and many pointed out that they and the country of Denmark could do a much better job of welcoming immigrants into their country. They are such a bright group of students and highly motivated, I look forward to being able to lead a lesson with them during our last week!
Joergen informed Anna and I that a local boarding skole was coming to perform and the concert would be held in the gym. In Denmark high school ends at 9th or 10th grade, after that the teenagers have many different paths that they can choose. one of these paths is going to boarding skole. At boarding skole, the students choose something specific to study like music, art, or sports. They will study there for a year and then move on to either university or take a few gap years. Anna and I both expected some kind of symphony, orchestra, or choir, but when we entered the gym there was a large stage and fog everywhere. The entire school came and the younger students were running around and climbing ladders on the walls to get a better view over the older and taller students. We stood by the sound board and the band walked on the stage and started playing some alternative rock music. Their were about 20 students that rotated on and off the stage and the concert was a little over an hour long! The students loved it and really got into the music! I was extremely impressed with the boarding skole student’s singing and instrumental ability!
After skole, Joergen took drove us to this place that translates into sky mountain of mountain of heaven. He informed us that it is really a joke because it is more of a hill than a mountain and it is not even the tallest point in Denmark. Now just so you know, Denmark is the flattest country in the entire world! They really do not have any mountain ranges, but their hills can be pretty challenging (especially when riding a bike). When we got there, we started at the top and the view was gorgeous! You could see the lake and all of these islands scattered around. There was also a tower at the top, but it is only unlocked in the summer. We walked down the hill and made it to the shore of the lake and it was just so calm and a view I won’t soon forget. A boat normally comes to that part of the lake and it takes people from sky mountain back into town or vice versa, but it does not run in the winter. The lake is so clear, I am hoping to be able to jump in before we leave!
Vi ses i morgen!
See you tomorrow!