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Practicing communication skills using an everyday object - the bicycle

Bicycles are a favorite means of transportation among students. Thus, repairs and the correct choice of tools as well as the occasional purchase of spare parts are part of students’ lives. The course “Technical German for international students” provided CDTF students and other participants with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with bicycle-related vocabulary. One of the participants prepared a presentation focusing on the bike itself. He explained different types of bicycles and features and names of the individual components. Using a drawing on the board, he described how the force applied to the pedal is converted into torque via the bottom bracket using the pedal arm as a lever; the torque is also available at the gear rim and the chain. During a subsequent tour of the well-equipped AStA bike repair shop on the Paderborn University campus, participants turned theory into practice. The student worker showed his international co-students how to fix a broken chain with a chain tool, how to adjust the tension of spokes using a spoke key and how to remove the chain rim with a chain whip. Finally, he explained to the mechanical engineering students which parts on the bike are mandatory according to traffic regulations for a bike to be considered roadworthy. They include a clear bicycle bell and two independent brakes among other features.

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