Online Teachers Seminar: Rude Awakening? The American Dream and Its Reality




Wednesday, November 30th, 2022


Online via Click Meeting 


Pädagogisches Landesinstitut Rheinland-Pfalz
Butenschönstraße 2
67346 Speyer

Die Veranstaltung findet statt mit freundlicher Unterstützung der U.S. Botschaft Berlin. 


Lehrer*innen aus Rheinland-Pfalz


Die Anmeldung erfolgt hier.

Falls für Ihre Freistellung vom Unterricht eine PL-Nummer verlangt wird und/oder Interesse an einer Teilnahmebestätigung des PL besteht, bitte melden Sie sich auch bei dem Pädagogischen Landesinstitut an. Eine Weitergabe Ihrer Daten zu diesen Zwecken erfolgt nicht.


From rags to riches, the land of neverending possibilities - many expressions exist to describe life in the United States as an "American Dream". For some, this dream is a way to create something out of nothing, where hard work will pay off and where individuals can determine their own future. Novels have been written about this topic, movies have been made and each year anew, students tackle the issue in school. Yet the question begs: To what degree is the American Dream a figment of our imagination? Who has access to this dream and what are structural barriers to achieving it? And what role does it play in the culture at large and the most American place of all: television?

In this seminar, we will critically analyze and update our understanding of the American Dream and present new ways for students to engage with this topic.



08.30 am
Welcome remarks

08.40 am
Resources and Strategies

Anna Schönbach, Pädagogisches Landesinstitut Rheinland-Pfalz

9 am
"Dream a Little American Dream with Me: Income Inequality and Social Mobility in the United States" 
Prof. Christian Lammert, John F. Kennedy Institut, Freie Universität Berlin

10 am   

10.30 am
The American Dream on TV
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Maria Sulimma, Universität Freiburg

12 pm
Lunch Break

1 pm
"The Teachers' Room - A Reading and Discussion"
Lydia Stryk, Author of the new novel The Teachers’ Room

2 pm
End of program day



Prof. Dr. Christian Lammert

lehrt am John-F.-Kennedy-Institut für Nordamerikastudien an der Freien Universität Berlin und ist Research Associate am Zentrum für Nordamerika-Forschung (ZENAF) der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. Er ist u.a Autor einer Vielzahl an Artikeln und Büchern über die Sozialpolitik, das politische System und das Gesundheitssystem in den USA.
Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte umfassen vergleichende Wohlfahrtsstaatsforschung, politische Systeme der USA und Kanada sowie Problematiken des Nationalismus und Multikulturalismus.

Anna Schönbach

coordinates a group of teaching consultants and continuous professional development conferences in foreign languages at the Pedagogical Institute of Rhineland-Palatinate. She is also the author of teaching units for advanced EFL classrooms.

Lydia Stryk

Award-winning playwright Lydia Stryk was born and raised in DeKalb, Illinois, birthplace of barbed wire and flying ears of corn. After training as an actress, she went back to school to study History and Education and spent several years as a substitute teacher in NYC schools, observing the children and the educational system with fascination. Her plays have been produced across the United States and also in Germany. The Teachers’ Room is her first novel, a process she describes in her essay, “A Playwright Crosses the Border Into Fiction”. The Teachers’ Room is available to order from local bookstores and online shops in Germany-- please allow 4 weeks for delivery. You can learn more about her and her work at

Maria Sulimma

Maria Sulimma is Juniorprofessor of North American Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Freiburg. She is the author of Gender and Seriality: Practices and Politics of Contemporary US Television (Edinburgh University Press, 2021). Her recent work is on storytelling and gentrification, as well as urban pastimes of 19th-century and 21st-century fiction.