Der Drache und der Meermann

Posted on: 24 September 2019 by Hanna Magedera in 2019 posts

Student illustration of a German fairytale
Der Drache und der Meermann (The Dragon and the Merman)

Students produce interesting and original work throughout their degree programmes at the University of Liverpool, but sometimes you come across an extra creative spark! Sarah Bresnahan is studying English, and in her first year at University chose to take a German language module at beginner's level as an additional subject.

The German beginner's course is very intensive, with four weekly contact hours and in addition to this, independent learning outside the classroom where students consolidate and apply what they have learnt in class. After only two semesters, students achieve the equivalent of an A-level. 

Although we focus strongly on grammar, there is still room for fun and imagination. When practicing the past tense, learners are asked to write a narrative text, a little anecdote, something that happened to them, or a fairy tale. Students often decide to write a fairy tale and use illustrations from online platforms such as Storybird. 

Sarah took this exercise a step further, and wrote a beautiful magic fairy-tale, namely "Der Drache und der Meermann" (The Dragon and the Merman). She illustrated it herself and has it printed as a book! She also chose to narrate her story by heart as part of her oral exam. Sarah said:

"I enjoy writing and it is something I do in my free time. When this task was set, I was excited to use my creativity and see how writing techniques I use in English could translate into German. It was amazing to develop the task into the story it is now. Thank you to the staff for not only helping me with my German writing but the support they've given whilst I created this book!"

Student Sarah Bresnahan with her illustrated book


In addition to extending our student's knowledge of the past tense, this exercise also helps us to achieve one of the University objectives around authentic assessment. Authentic assessment aims to think beyond traditional modes of assessment, giving students the opportunity to mirror a real life task a graduate might engage in after life at University. 

Sarah wants to move into a career of fantasy writing with an element of horror - I can't wait to read more of her work!