By Kathy Koenig, Speech-Language Pathologist, Voice Coach
with Ronni Rowland, Writer
As part of ELG‘s efforts to support children across Greater China, I work at DISC, the Deutsche Internationale Schule Changchun (German International School Changchun). Changchun is in the North East of China and is a three-hour flight from Shanghai. The city is known for its automobile industry and consequently attracts many German expat families.
DISC is an international mainstream school where kindergarten and primary school students are taught exclusively in German. When the students move into the secondary school the classes are taught in English. I travel to the school every four to five weeks for one day. My work there involves providing individual Speech-Language Therapy to children and their families, primarily in the area of articulation and other language-related skills.
A typical day in Changchun involves arriving at the school in the early morning and starting with individual therapy sessions. I then do speech and language screenings (referred by the kindergarten teachers and with the consent of their parents) or consultations. Finally, I provide educators with practical tips for the classroom.
I am also a certified trainer for the ‘German-as-a-second-language’ (GSL) program called “Language Route.” After the children leave school in the afternoon, I offer the GSL seminar as a further education seminar to educators and teachers in Years 1 and 2. The 3.5-hour seminar consists of five modules and provides practical tips and strategies for integrating GSL into daily school and classroom routines.
It’s very interesting to work outside of Shanghai, as every city has its own unique culture and challenges. Working at DISC has not only opened up and expanded the horizon of my own professional experience, but it has also extended the reach and impact of ELG to underserved areas in China. I enjoy supporting the children and staff at the school and always look forward to my monthly trips to the area. It’s extremely satisfying to see them putting new skills into practice and making progress each month.