40 Jahre Goethe-Institut Neuseeland
Most people hate exams, but teachers thank the Goethe-Institut NZ for them!
I’ve had a lot to do with the GI over four decades, but I wish to highlight something for which many teachers of languages - not just German - are grateful.
From 2005 to 2018, over 630 teachers graduated from the Ministry of Education funded year-long programme to improve language teaching effectiveness - TPDL (later TPLT). The Goethe-Institut played a critical role in its success.
For many of those years, teachers of German, French, Spanish, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands Maori, Japanese, Chinese from Napier to Invercargill spent 8 days in Wellington, welcomed by Judith Geare and directors. But the GI was far more than a venue for TPDL.
In its early years, TPDL was for teachers of years 7 & 8. Most had never learnt how to teach a language and many were themselves learning the language they were teaching. The teachers had to complete a university pedagogy course, undertake systematic practice-based reflection, as well as do formal language study.
We needed clear, measurable and reliable standards to check the effectiveness of all aspects of the programme. The pedagogy course had assignments and research. But to show teachers’ progress in language, we looked for internationally recognised tests for an adult at a beginner level. Tests that full-time teachers could feasibly aspire to just didn’t exist.
Until... the Goethe examinations levels A1 and A2 arrived - just in time! Judith introduced them plus she ran language preparation classes for our nervous teachers. The classes and the examinations proved to be extremely motivating and many teachers went on to sit more and more Goethe Pruefungen levels. And the examinations served as models for other languages in years to come.