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Englisch am Petrinum: Sekundarstufe II

Generations – A Joint-Venture of LK 12 & LK 13

It is quarter past two. The sun is shining, but none of the forty students in the classroom notices. All eyes are fixed on a pedestal which is placed at the end of the room, on which a single student is standing, gesticulating passionately. Her voice becomes louder and louder as she tries to convince her audience of the dangers of genetic engineering. After a short applause, another girl enters the "stage", preparing herself to convince the audience of the opposite. The group of listeners is composed quite unusually: While some of them are attending their final year of school, the other half is still in 12th grade.

It is this combination that makes this gathering so special: Older, more experienced students have the possibility to both revise the topic "speeches" and pass their acquired knowledge onto the younger ones, who have just started examining the world of verbal manipulation. This joint-venture was envisioned and realised by the two classes' teachers, Björn Daniel Stecher and Maike Weßling. Although one cannot deny the genius of this idea, it also demanded extensive preparation. As the seniors were busy writing individual speeches (each of them treating a different perspective on Genetic Engineering), the juniors had the task to develop an evaluation sheet in order to both be able to analyse the speeches and give the orators well founded feedback. The latter was presented in smaller groups, where the younger students also had the possibility to ask questions about the creation process.

Towards the end of the lesson, everyone could have his say about what he or she thinks about this experiment. It was soon clear that the majority of the pupils had enjoyed this original learning method, as there were advantages for both sides: Not only did the juniors get a glimpse on the correct creation and analysis of speeches, they also represented the first "real" audience for the seniors.

Since friendships between the two English classes had not been as developed before, the feedback was all the more honest and genuine.

In a nutshell, the event was very successful for it served the goal of learning from each other. However, it also had a welcome side-effect: Finding new friends has never been that easy.

(by Matthias Lehnen and Leonie Fritsche)