Last week I was honoured to being asked to present to a class of ten year olds in Switzerland about the Arctic. A bit outside my usual geographical sphere of presentations but after hearing what happened in their last lesson I could not say ‘no’. The class had been learning about the Polar Regions for the last five weeks and on their last lesson they had been asked to figure out what a certain website was about – my website. The main problem is that my website is in English and they are Swiss (German). Nevertheless they were quite proud of themselves to figure out that it’s a website of an Arctic explorer. But when their teacher told them that on Monday this Arctic explorer in question might be coming to school they were unreservedly ecstatic. One girl claimed that she will bring in her autograph book. Of course after hearing such a story I couldn’t say ‘no’.
Upon presenting to them I was amazed as to their level of comprehension. As requested from their teacher I did not descend the level of my English below what I would have used for a group of native English speaking ten-year old pupils and on average they understood about 50% without a translation into German. We had one morning scheduled about the Arctic but even as the school bell rang a cry of ‘more’ erupting at the back of the classroom spread throughout: ‘MORE! MORE! MORE! MORE!’
This week they learned about climate change and with enthusiasm like this, I still have some hope for the future.