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German Cultural Festival

Date 13/06/2018

On the 26th of May, Goethe Institut in cooperation with MOI Forces Academy, Nairobi extended a special invite to schools with German classes from all over Kenya, to take part in the 24th German Cultural Festival. More than 40 classes competed in 4 different categories. 

These were singing German songs, recitating German poems, performing German pop-songs as Rap and drama-play of a German fairy tale (Aschenputtel/Cinderella) or a self-composed play with a grammatical topic.
Each category had its own Jury comprised of 4 jury-members. Ilja Burchard and I from the German School volunteered for drama play and Rap perfomance respectively.
After the official opening and a bumpy start, which seems typical for such events, I was fascinated by the well coordinated organisation of the MOI Forces Academy and the Goethe Institute. Despite the large number of participating students, the event ran smoothly and the Academy proved to be a good and accomodating host.

If I had to point out the general weakness of most perfomances, I would pick the pronunciation of the German language, which was dominated by local or english accents. It was not always easy to understand the lyrics.
One does need to consider though, that to perform Rap in a foreign language is a difficult task, especially if you don't master the foreign language at a high level. What made it even more difficult was to Rap a pop-song which is a totally different music genre. Nevertheless the majority of the students performed very well.
Everyone was in a good mood during the Rap-competition that took place between noon and 4.45 PM. The Jury of teachers of the participating schools and I enjoyed following and assessing each of the performances.

It was funny to realise that teenagers´ behavioral patterns are the same worldwide. Some were ambitious, others hilarious, some highly professional, whilst others were bored and halfhearted. It reminded me of my school perfomances, some better, some worse, yet funny and memorable.


I was so impressed watching the students performing in such a self-confident manner. Honestly, I would not have been able to perform this well after only 3 years of learning a foreign language, in my case, French.
Talking to my jury colleagues made me realise that the quality of teachers‘ education for foreign languages in Kenya needs improvement. For most university students the cost of regular study-trips to Germany, where they could improve and actively use the language, is a big financial obstacle.

Besides that it is very difficult to obtain good materials, for use in classes that teach German as a foreign language. Taking a brief look at a textbook made it clear that such teaching methods are outdated. They do not support Kenyan teachers the way modern didactics do, as provided in language books used in Germany today.
In view of these difficult circumstances I sincerely respect the Kenyan teachers I met for their achievements.

A field report by Francisca Cernicky

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