"A voice that everyone understands..."

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The projects carried out by four Kassel students of the Master's program German as a Foreign and Second Language, Linda Alphei, Astrid Lange, Kelly de Oliveira and Vimansani Pathirana, under the title "A voice that everyone understands..." focused on action-oriented German learning at cultural locations in Kassel with unaccompanied refugee minors (UMF). The young people involved in these projects learned German during the implementation of the two projects at the Institute for Languages in Kassel in order to be integrated into the German education and training system. They showed a high level of motivation and great willingness not only to learn the German language, but also to get involved in their new living environment.

Therefore, the goal of both projects was to give the UMF access to popular places in Kassel and to sensitize them to the cultural identity of the city. At the same time, they were enabled to expand their linguistic competencies through authentic speaking, writing and reading activities.

As part of the first project in the summer of 2015, two excursions took them to two extracurricular learning sites: to Hercules, Wilhelmshöhe Palace Park, Karlsaue and the Orangerie. The excursion to Hercules and Wilhelmshöhe Palace Park took place on July 23, 2015. The visit to the Hercules and the Octagon Palace was followed by a walk to the Palace Park, where all participants met for a picnic. The walk to the Orangerie took place a week later on 07.08.2015. On the way, the students passed various outdoor artworks in the Auepark, for example the "Pickaxe" by Claes Oldenburg, the "Idee di Pietra (Views of a Stone)" by Giuseppe Penone and the sculptures in front of the Orangerie, for which various tasks were to be worked on. The day was concluded with a joint meal.

On both days of the excursion, the students completed the following tasks in a playful manner

tasks at various stations (movement games, language and dialogue exercises, small music and art projects). The tasks were designed in such a way that even students with little language skills could master them and thus achieve a sense of achievement. In addition, the UMF were given the task of taking photos with disposable cameras on both days. This enabled them to give form to their individual views of Kassel's places.

The results of the first project were presented on 20.08.2015 in the form of a photo exhibition at the Institute for Languages shown. In addition to the worksheets worked on during the field trips, the students presented their photos and self-made posters and collages as part of the exhibition. The posters included speech bubbles and thought bubbles that the students used to share their memories and impressions of the two trips. Visitors to the exhibition were thus given the opportunity to experience these popular and well-known cultural places in Kassel through the eyes of the young refugees. The project not only trained language skills, but also teamwork, empathy, and independent learning - skills that the UMFs have often not yet acquired due to their previous educational biography, but which are essential for their integration into the German school and training system. In addition, the sense of belonging and the atmosphere in the individual learning groups also improved.

The second project, which was carried out in November 2015 by Linda Alphei, Kelly de Oliveira, Vimansani Pathirana on behalf of the Department 02 Humanities and Cultural Studies of the University of Kassel, also focused on action-oriented German learning at cultural and sightseeing locations in Kassel. Here, too, the target group consisted of unaccompanied minor refugees. In addition to the extracurricular and activity-oriented language teaching, the second project also included a cross-curricular focus. The project team planned a joint walk along the old city wall to the Orangerie in the Karlsaue. This was followed by a visit, including a guided tour, to the planetarium. After the tour, coffee and cake were served in the adjacent restaurant of the orangery.

As with the first project, the planning was based on a "three-phase model". As in the first project, the first phase, the preparation and preliminary work, took place as an integral part of the regular lessons. The second phase, the excursion, combined factual and language teaching. In this project, the learners were also given the opportunity to get to know the content of a school subject lesson, in this case geography lessons. Once again, the focus of the exercises and tasks was on success orientation. Even  learners with low language skills should not have any difficulties in completing the exercises and tasks. In addition, the UMF were again given the task of taking photos with disposable cameras along the way and at the stations. The third and final phase of the project consisted of a comprehensive exhibition in the foyer of Department 02, which was open from 10.12.2015 to 11.2.2016. Posters and other exhibits from all phases of the project were presented at a vernissage to which the participating UMF, their supervisors, the teaching staff of the Institute of Languages, teachers and students of the DaFZ department, guests from the Tunis-El Manar University (Tunisia) who were present at the same time, as well as all interested parties from the Department 02 were invited. The choice of the exhibition venue gave the young people a first access to the educational institution of the university.

The projects were generously financially supported by the Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies of the University of Kassel, by the Barbara and Alfred Röver Foundation of the Department, by the Sparkasse Kassel and by the DaFZ Department. Thanks are also due to the DaFZ department, especially Jun.-Prof. Christine Czinglar, for their dedicated and helpful support in carrying out both projects.