To address the challenges of applying the competency-based approach in the context of teaching German, in 2022, the German Teachers Association of the Central Region of Cameroon and LCE-Cameroon have jointly initiated a project with the strong support of our partner NGO, Netzwirkung based in Germany, to promote the practical competencies of teachers of the German language through interdisciplinary practical workshops.
This project comes in a context where, despite the introduction of a competency-based approach in our school system, but in practice, it is still theoretically designed.
Just as in other subjects, German teaching is much more exam-oriented and not competence-oriented as it should be according to the new approach. This could be due to the fact that teachers don't have enough time to cover all the programs.
There are other reasons why the introduction of competence orientation has not yet been effective like the lack of practical skills of teachers..
Unfortunately, good knowledge or theoretical knowledge is not enough to meet the demands of today's society, because, besides knowledge, practical competencies are essential.
The situation here is that the system only focuses on developing student skills, but we believe that the teacher should be the first model for the students. Thus, Teachers with practical skills are more equipped to effectively work with students.
Therefore, we are advocating a two-sided skills approach here rather than a one-sided approach, as has been the case.
We believe that teaching a foreign language is an interdisciplinary exercise. The teaching of German, Spanish, and English in Cameroon is based on five modules: family and socio-cultural life, environment, health and well-being, economic life, media, and communication, and citizenship.
The practical skills that learners can develop are integrated into various subjects such as biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, etc. As part of a course on the Environment, Health, and Wellbeing module, for example, teachers can organize projects on soap making and its daily use. For this, these teachers must develop knowledge in the field of chemistry and/or involve a chemistry teacher.
A total of 10 teachers took part in this training. The first module focused on family and social life and the skill to be developed was the following: Participants can organize an event by making a decorative wooden frame, making candles, and creative folding handkerchiefs. From 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, the participants were supervised by the moderators: Liliane Diffo and Phanie Assengono. At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their total satisfaction with the day's activities.
During the 2nd training module for German teachers at LCE-Cameroon on "Environment, health and wellness", participants did three practical skills : paper recycling, making toilet soap and menthol. The moderators of the workshops were Liliane Diffo and Félicité Famanou Faya. During the seminar, the participants also reflected on their teaching practice and the possibility of transferring these skills already acquired to the next school year. At the end of the day, they were satisfied and amazed by the outcomes of the workshops.