Charlotte Rempel Kroeker

Here is a bio from Charlotte:

Hi Group,

I am Charlotte Rempel Kroeker and I am now entering my 29th year of teaching German as a second language in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I helped pioneer the German Bilingual Program in Winnipeg at the Kindergarten level in 1984 and then progressed through teaching Grades 1, 2 and 3 at Donwood Elementary School. I loved teaching primary students. I loved their enthusiasm, their honesty and the wonderful way you see them grow up before your eyes. Most of all, I loved that magic time of reading and telling them stories. I told stories every day after lunch and there was one particular story (about an immigrant girl) that I would tell in the form of a chapter book that would go on for three months (all in German, of course). There was a cliff hanger at the end of each chapter. They would be begging for more.

Looking for a new challenge, I moved on to teach Grades 7 to 12 at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in 2007, also here in Winnipeg. The classes are a mix of former bilingual students and students beginning to learn German at the Grade 7 level. It was quite daunting to look at the Grammar textbooks lining the shelves and try to figure out how to teach older kids in inviting ways. I tried the grammar textbook for two months and was so frustrated that I gave up. I had some of my former primary students in my high school classes who begged me to tell them stories, like a used to. I used to engage them and we used to have lots of fun. Why was my high school language classroom not as engaging and not as much fun as my primary classes used to be? I could not find a textbook that made any sense for me to use. I begged, borrowed and stole any ideas that made sense and wrote my own stuff. My advanced students and my linguists (the 4%) did very well in my class and continued to pass Sprachdiplom (European Languages Framework Exams) and AP examinations. I continued searching for a way to engage my “non-linguists” and allow them to feel more confident about using German and then I chanced upon a workshop given by Susan Gross in Brandon, Manitoba.

I had never gone to Brandon for a workshop before, but I am so glad I did! I had never heard of TPRS before and that still amazes me after attending language workshops for 29 years. I was so amazed at how much Spanish I could learn in one day!! It was fun and challenging and engaging. All of the things I was looking for in my language classes. So I began using TPRS in some of my classes last year and enjoyed it so much. I attended a Blaine Ray workshop this June in Minneapolis with one of my colleagues and learned more. I have been reading as much as I can about TPRS and I realize that I am very much a beginner. There is so much that I do not know that it makes my head spin! So far my students and the parents I have spoken to are very much on board. I hope I am doing something right.

I really appreciate being able to be a part of this learning experience! Thanks!

Charlotte

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