Gymnasium Bayreuther Straße Wuppertal

“The Camera of Life is always on“ – an unforgettable experience with Prof. Henrik Eger . Two participants of an A-level- course put it into words:

Vom 05.07.2018

Last Monday, the 11th grade A-Levels English course was honoured by a visit from Prof. Henrik Eger, Ph.D. He has taught English in six countries on three continents, including four universities and one college in the U.S. He now resides in Philadelphia, where he serves as the founding editor of Drama Around the Globe.

Learning started for us at the doorstep: Dr. Eger stood at the door, welcomed us, and shook hands with each and every one of us. Once we sat down, he asked us to introduce ourselves, and then gave us feedback. He talked about the importance of shaking hands, one of the first signals we send out when meeting someone.

He then gave us our first “reality check.” Were we all ready for the lesson? Those students holding a pen with an open notebook in front received a high score from Dr. Eger, because they were signaling that they were ready to learn. Those who had neither a pen nor a paper got “nothing.”

We wondered why he headed for our manners and behaviours first, even though we were expecting him to start by reporting on his own life, which is full of interesting stories. For instance, he has taught in Germany, Britain, Iran, and India–and he has written several books.

But soon he gave us the answer: “The camera of life is always on.” All the time people watch us and judge us, “whether we like it or not.” Therefore, reflecting about whether we send out the right signals is an important step toward professional growth.

Throughout the lesson, he taught us not only how to reflect on our own behaviours, but also to find ourselves. Improving ourselves, a lifelong process, means “growing, learning, and getting toward our goals.”

We learned that we can present ourselves any way we want, but we need to be aware of how effectively we communicate with others while staying true to ourselves.

Every single student in the class learned something new, something useful for his or her life. And perhaps on the days we’ll be faced with the crucial task of sitting for a job interview, we might remember this day and use some of the tips Dr. Eger gave to enable us to cut a qualified figure.

“If someone gives you feedback, don’t feel criticized but appreciate the advice.” by Luna Vassallo
“Learning for life” by Delia Uhl

Learning something about yourself from someone else can often be one of the most difficult things to acknowledge. Nonetheless, the A-level course in grade 11 with Mrs. Brackmann was given the opportunity to work on this and related issues during a short workshop with Henrik Eger, Ph.D., retired professor of English and Communication in the US, author of books, dramas, and a wide range of articles and reviews as well as editor of www.DramaAroundTheGlobe.com.

Our guest from Philadelphia not only discussed with us our use of language but also gave us a short introduction into the field of Communication, where we actually worked on empowering ourselves and others, rather than depowering ourselves and others.

In just one session we were asked to reconsider our behaviour, even our appearance. This process did not only mean that we had to think about getting in touch with our gut feelings, but also to develop and show empathy with the people sitting next to us.

Reflecting upon ourselves brought up different response. Some people did not follow the instructions and did not participate fully. As a result, they said they felt bored, while the majority of participants eagerly took part in this challenging session and felt motivated afterwards, ready to take important strides towards new experiences.

Looking back, most of us realized what a great session it was to interact with such an experienced professor, a former school dropout in Wuppertal in 1959, who had learned never to give up and, as a result, earned six degrees, and taught English in six countries on three continents.

This one session most likely will influence not only the way we present ourselves to others, but the way we actually interact with others. If we continue to study and move forward, we probably will develop our own ways of interacting effectively and meaningfully with others, all based on our individual experiences and personalities.

Texte: Delia Uhl/ Luna Vassallo
Bild: M. Luhn

Christian Weier