Now that we are back at Kornmod Realskole for one last week we are seeing what the Danish school system truly looks like. Our first two weeks at Kornmod were “Special Program” weeks where teachers got to keep the same students for much longer than usual to be able to do big projects (like cooking with us Americans). Kornmod’s schedule is now lessons, like what we would call class periods, so we float around with the English teachers. We are still meeting new teachers as they fill in our schedule for our remaining days! I love this skole so much, everyone has been so open in how important it is for their students to converse in American English versus the British/Scottish/German mix of English that they learn.
We are very much being kept on our toes in bouncing around to different 6th, 7th, and 9th grade classes. Tomorrow we even get to see 4th and 5th grade choir class! But today Catherine, Melissa, and I made our powerpoint presentations about ourselves many times so that the kids could see our families, pictures of TCU, and where we are from. After we talk about us, we open the floor for a Q & A session. It’s interesting to do this in all the classes because of the different level of questions.
6th & 7th graders ask things like –
“What is your favorite pet?”
“What is your favorite color?”
“Do you have a favorite food?”
“Is it true that Americans eat a big pickle as a snack?” (my favorite question by far)
“Is Texas just cowboys?”
9th grade asks-
“What are your views on America’s gun control laws?”
“What are the social issues America faces?”
“How do you think the problem of student loans can be solved?”
“Why does your government not give everyone health care like we have here?”
“What have you enjoyed about Danish culture?”
“With the election coming up, who do you think are the best candidates?”
~The questions that are universal to all grade levels are questions about school shootings and Donald Trump.
With the higher order thinking questions, we usually reply with a canned response of “Well it depends….” Denmark is so small and homogenous that the students have a difficult time picturing why their socialist system wouldn’t work. We’ve done our best to talk about our diverse country and all the different views we have. At least since Catherine is from Northern California and Melissa is from Chicago, we can point out differences in just how we grew up. For instance, I expect my kindergarten students in Texas to respond with “Yes Ma’am” to me. Catherine doesn’t think that is necessary. We talked with 7th & 9th grade a lot today about all the cultures we live with, when in Denmark, everyone looks and thinks along the same lines. If someone thinks something different, it still isn’t too far from what’s “normal.”
I actually really enjoy just standing and answering questions because the students are all so inquisitive about American life. A few have been to America, but most just assume the American tv shows that are shown here are what life is really like.
They think Texas is like an old Western movie, which I actually love.
I asked what they know about Texas and got the class reply of “Cowboys.”