'German culture' in Australia : a case study of a German-English bilingual school
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This study aimed to investigate how ‘German culture’ is performed and experienced at a German-English bilingual school in Australia. Thereby, it was essential to find out what teachers and children understand as and associate with ‘German culture’. To gain knowledge and data for this study, traditional methods, such as unstructured- and participant observation and semi-structured interviews and task-based methods, like drawings, were combined. Altogether, five teachers and six children participated in this study. I focused only on German teachers, children of non-German origin and children of German origin, but with non-German speaking parents. I have been curious how teachers, who are from German descent, perform and understand ‘German culture’, as well as how children, who have no personal relationship to this culture from their parental home, understand and experience ‘German culture’. The main theoretical concept for this thesis was the concept of culture. Culture is a very complex and controversial concept, which is discussed by many scholars. For this study, I used an anthropological view concerning this concept. Other theoretical concepts originated from social studies of children and childhood, for instance, referring to childhood as being socially constructed. I also considered theoretical perspectives on language learning and identity. The findings of this study demonstrated that ‘German culture’ is mostly understood as ‘way of life’ by the participants of this study. Art, music, social upbringing, traditions/festivities, food and values present some examples of associations some of my participants had. However, most of the participating children had not heard about the term ‘German culture’ before. The findings also indicated that ‘German culture’ is, for instance, performed through school events like the ‘Oktoberfete’. Furthermore, the findings have shown that the way the school performs ‘German culture’ influences the way children experience it.