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Pilgrims 2005 Teacher Training Courses - Read More
Humanising Language Teaching
Humanising Language Teaching
Humanising Language Teaching

In this issue's Course outline section Manfred Hesse offers a personal view of Pilgrims, the Pilgrims Spirit and the various courses he has attended.

Interview with Manfred Hesse

Manfred Hesse and Chaz Pugliese on behalf of HLT

Manfred Hesse is a household name at Pilgrims Summer school as he's been on 15 Pilgrims Teacher Training courses! We spoke with him on a (rare, this summer!) sunny day in the midst of his course number 15 to find out what it is about Pilgrims he likes so much.

HLT: Where are you from, Manfred?
Manfred: I'm from Germany, Stuttgart, and I work in the Secondary sector.
HLT: What course are you on?
Manfred: Transactional Analysis.
HLT: Enjoying it?
Manfred: Oh yes, very much.
HLT: When's the first time you came to Pilgrims?
Manfred: In 1982, I did an EfT course with John Morgan. I remember I was expecting to do lots of grammar, but it wasn't anything like that at all, and I was a little disappointed while I was still here. But when I went back home, I noticed I'd learned an enormous amount: all of a sudden I was more confident, more creative, both as a teacher and as a person.
HLT: How did you first find out about Pilgrims?
Manfred: I was reading my local Sunday paper, Sontag Aktuel, a very tiny paper, I saw a Pilgrims ad in the travel section, so I inquired and that was the beginning of a great adventure.
HLT: What did you like about that first course?
Manfred: I liked the international crowd, there were people from Italy, France, all over, I remember watching the World Cup final with other fellow Germans (we lost).
HLT: You've been back 15 times, that's a lot: what makes you come back?
Manfred: I find this place very relaxing, I like being a student, I like having my own room, it's a beautiful place and I love meeting other colleagues. Courses here have had a huge impact on me as a teacher first, in terms of raising my awareness of language issues, for instance. I also feel I understand my students better as human beings, I've learned to accept them as they are. So I became addicted!
HLT: Would you single out one course in particular as being a major breakthrough?
Manfred: I think a course I took in 1994, the Teacher as Learner. It was a small group, only 6 I think, the course made me think about myself a lot and made me change so many things. I'm still in touch with some of the people on that course, Julia in Madrid for example, and a lady in Sardinia whom I visited shortly after the courses ended.
HLT: How's Pilgrims different today?
Manfred: Well, the choice of courses on offer is much wider. Back in 1982, we only had 2, 3 courses.
HLT: Can I ask you if you pay yourself or if you're here on a grant?
Manfred: I've never actually applied for a grant, because I don't like the paperwork that goes with it. Pilgrims has kindly offered to sponsor my last four courses.
HLT: If you were asked to sum up Pilgrims in just a few words, what would you say?
Manfred: Humanistic, feeling of freedom, no stress. Everyone is accepted as a person, for what they are.
HLT: How's the crowd changed? Do you notice any differences?
Manfred: It seems to me the participants' average age is older, but can't see other differences.
HLT: Do you recall any funny episodes?
Manfred: My second time here we had to rehearse for a play and perform on the last day of the course. That was a lot of fun.
HLT: Has any of the courses you've been on failed to meet your expectations?
Manfred: Not really, but I remember I was on an IT course in 1999 or 2000 and many people weren't happy about it, so we got a letter of apology from Pilgrims offering a discount on future courses, which was nice.
HLT: Manfred, as I talk with you, I have a feeling you're totally relaxed here, almost as this place feels like home?
Manfred: It does feel like home and I see myself coming again in the future.
HLT: Really?
Manfred: Absolutely. Maybe not next year, but the year after.
HLT: Do you know what course you would like to do next?
Manfred: Not yet, ask me again next year!
HLT: Thank you for your time Manfred.
Manfred: My pleasure.


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