The Frog Prince, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, titles familiar to both young and old, appear in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale collection Children’s and Household Tales, first published in 1812. Second to the Luther Bible, this fairy tale collection, known today as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, is the most well-known and widely circulated work in German cultural history, having been translated into 160 languages. To celebrate the bi-centenary of its publication, the Goethe-Institut has mounted a special exhibition, The World of Fairy Tales. After its first showing at the European School in Munich in December of 2011, it has started to go on a world tour with stops in Europe, Northern Africa, North and South America.
In order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Goethe-Institut Canada, the travelling exhibition was invited to Toronto. During the only Canadian stop at the German Consulate Toronto, our German students in 3ème, 2nde and 1ère were able to enter and identify with the wonderful world of fairy tales. By highlighting the similarities with modern popular culture, the exhibition explored seven themes found in German fairy tales. Our students wandered into an enchanted forest, found interactive treasure chests and learned about beautiful princesses, wise women, witches, wizards, heroes, villains, evil stepmothers, and other fairy tale characters.
Each fall, more than 70,000 students from over 700 different schools in the USA and Canada take part in the Award of Excellence contest organized by the Goethe-Institut New York and sponsored by the German Embassy in Washington. The goal of the contest is to create and promote interest in learning German among North American students. Since its inception in 1991, this contest has grown in popularity, with more than 1.5 million students now participating.
All of our German students from 3ème to Terminale submitted wonderful answers that truly impressed the judging panel. In order to reward this achievement, the Lycée Français de Toronto has been named a winner in this year’s contest (http://www.goethe.de/ins/us/ney/lhr/aoe/enindex.htm) focusing on German music bands and their road to success. Our participation in this contest was a great learning experience for all students involved, and that experience will continue when Benjamin Attal travels to Germany this summer. He will receive a prestigious scholarship for an intensive language course at the foothill of the Bavarian Alps.
I am very happy that Benjamin gets the opportunity to experience first-hand the culture of German-speaking countries by visiting beautiful fairy tale castles, exploring exciting cities like Munich and Salzburg, and hiking in the fantastic alpine scenery while meeting other students from all over the world. Congratulations, Ben!
Martina Kumanatasan, German teacher