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Kulturelle und methodische Weiterbildung für den Sprachunterricht
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The sending organisation The Verein für berufliche Weiterbildung e.V. in Hamburg has been in existence since 1998. As a non-profit organisation, it offers language and computer courses to adults. As of now, its range of languages comprises eight foreign languages, although most of the language courses are still English courses. Aim of the project The aim of our project „Cultural and methodological training for language courses“ was to provide our language teachers with new and creative approaches to their language lessons and to extend the cultural and practical socio-linguistic knowledge and understanding of our English teachers. The receiving organisation We chose ‘Pilgrims’ in Canterbury as our partner in this project because we had known this renowned language school for many years as a competent and reliable provider of teacher trainings with a great variety of different courses by personal experience. The training was held on the campus of the University of Kent. Its participants took accommodation in terraced students’ houses on the campus as well. Two parts of the project Ten applicants took part in the didactic training “Creative Methodology for the Classroom”. This training centered around the assumption that there are various kinds of human intelligence (the theory of multiple intelligences) and that therefore effective language teaching offers more than just coursebook lessons. Accordingly, the participants learnt how to integrate activities based on movement into their language lessons, how to make use of other forms of intelligence, by letting language learners draw, sing or by making use of their creativity in lots of other activities, such as games. Among the participants were not only English teachers, but also teachers of other languages, e.g. French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Arabic. Eight applicants participated in a course titled “British Life, Language and Culture”, which put the emphasis on sociolinguistics. This training took a closer look into topics such as (stereotypes of) Britishness, politeness and political correctness as well as aspects of British society. As part of this course, various native speakers with different social and professional backgrounds were invited to sessions. Among them were school teachers, a social worker, a police officer, a student born in Ghana, a priest, two ‘Samaritans’ (an organisation of volunteers operating a phone helpline for people in emotional distress) and an unemployed carpenter. After each of these sessions, the participants did not only analyse the results of their discussions with the speakers, but also the language used by them. Although the project consisted of two different training courses, the participants of the project exchanged results with each other, both on site in Canterbury and in meetings in Hamburg, in which results and practical applications of the competences acquired in England were disseminated amongst each other and shared with other language teachers. Choice of participants The participants chosen for the didactic part (‘Creative Methodology for the Classroom’) were language teachers who wanted to improve their lessons by enriching them with lively ideas, thus motivating their language students to use the target language as naturally as possible. The participants of the sociolinguistic and cultural part (‘British Life, Language and Culture’) were non-native English teachers wishing to extend their practical linguistic and cultural competences and to teach more authentic English to their learners. Exercises and activities Among the manifold activities and practical exercises involved in the training were tasks which had to be carried out by direct contact with locals in the city, collaborative learning, conceiving creative lessons, extending and adapting the self-same exercise to different language levels, researches in the library and on the Internet. Apart from the main programme of the training courses, there was an abundance of additional activities and seminars every day, held in the late afternoon and evening hours. Results and their dissemination Interviews and the online reports of the participants showed that all of them felt that they had considerably benefited from their taking part in the project. They would all recommend taking such courses to their colleagues. Back in Hamburg, the participants shared ideas and practical exercises with each other as well as with other colleagues. Each participant presented a practical implementation of an exercise “imported” from Canterbury. Results of both parts of the training are also disseminated in Birthe Beigel’s own teacher trainings, a participant of the sociolinguistic part, who also gathered and revised the results with all the participants of this project. Conclusion Because of the positive outcome of the project, our language school will continue its efforts to improve the quality of our language courses by further education of our teaching st

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