Marion County's Jonathan Parker's personal experiences help kids learn German language & culture

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Updated: 8/13/2012 4:30 pm
Some of the very best lessons come from life experience.

One Marion County teacher uses his language skills to help students to see beyond their four walls.

Jonathan Parker is this week's Golden Apple Award winner.

German teacher Jonathan Parker reads vocabulary words... and his class repeats, "Der schmetterling, dir katze..."

It's a vocabulary list unlike any other in Marion County. It's Mr. Parker's German class, one of three he teaches at Whitwell, Marion County & South Pittsburg High Schools, "I like it. I wouldn't do it otherwise."

This is a first for Marion County Schools.

The district added to its language classes in an effort to make students more competitive. Thanks to Volkswagen, German seemed a natural choice...

Marion County High School Junior Victoria Callan says it's more than just a language lesson. She reads from her Golden Apple nomination letter, "It's not just a class it's like an adventure in culture."

Parker grew up in Europe and Callan says he uses his experiences to help students relate to the lesson.

Plus, she says, Herr Parker keeps the class fun and relaxed and makes it easy to learn, "No one is nervous in his classroom because none of us feel like he's going to criticize us if you mispronounce something."

This is Parker's 6th year teaching, but his first in America.

He says he loves interacting with students at all three schools... And hopes his class makes students curious to learn more, "I think the kids are slowly starting to realize there's more outside of Marion & Hamilton Counties, there's more outside of Tennessee, and my hope is for them to realize there's more out of America. Kind of give them a broader perspective outside their borders."
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