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Irene Heidt

Irene Heidt


Campus Am Neuen Palais
Building 19, Room 1.28
14469 Potsdam


consulting hours
Winter semester:
Monday: 1-2 pm

Please register in advance via email.

Curriculum vitae

01/2021 - present

Postdoctoral researcher & lecturer (University of Potsdam, Germany) in the DAAD funded project Education for global citizenship and sustainable development, TEFL department of secondary language education (Prof. Dr. Freitag-Hild)

09/2020 - present

Secondary school teacherof English as a foreign language

Paul-Natorp-Gymnasium, Berlin, Germany

Ph.D. (summa cum laude), Hellenic American University, USA

“Conflicting Worldviews, Ethical Dilemmas, and Symbolic Power: An Ethnographic Study of Teaching Multilingual Students in the German Bildungssystem”

  • Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Kramsch; Prof. Dr. Adelheid Hu
  • funded by Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft
  • awarded with President’s Award for Academic Achievement
04/2019 – 12/2020

Research and teaching associate / wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
University of Potsdam, Germany

TEFL Department of primary and secondary language education (Prof. Dr. Jana Roos, Prof. Dr. Freitag-Hild)

2016 - 2018

Lecturer / Lehrbeauftragte
University of Bremen and University of Potsdam, Germany
TEFL Department

07/2013 - 12/2013

Visiting scholar University of California, Berkeley, USA

2008 - 2014

Lehramtsstudium für Gymnasien  in Englisch und Kunst
Student of Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Fine Arts Education, and Educational Studies; First State Exam [M.Ed.] University of Bremen, Germany

  • funded by Studienkolleg der  Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (lehramtsspezifisches Programm)
  • semester abroad RMIT University, Australia (07/2010 - 01/2011)
  • teaching internship abroad German School Washington D.C., USA, (01/2010 - 04/2010)

Research Interests

  • symbolic competence, cultural learning
  • education for sustainable development and global citizenship, e.g. organization, implementation, and research of the international summer school "Teaching the SDGs – Education for sustainable development and global citizenship"  (together with Prof. Dr. Jana Roos, Prof. Dr. Britta Freitag-Hild, Ceren Kocaman, Stefanie Goertz and international partners)
  • multilingualism / Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktik
  • (critical) language teacher education
  • Anti-racist English language teaching / rassismuskritische Englischdidaktik
  • virtual exchange and telecollaboration
  • empirical classroom research: (auto-)ethnographic approaches, action research, critical discourse analysis, conversation analysis, ecological approach to analyzing discourse   



Research Monograph

Heidt, I. (contracted, in preparation).Conflicting worldviews, ethical dilemmas, and symbolic power: An ethnographic study of teaching multilingual students in the German Bildungssystem (working title). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. [series: Language, Education, Diversity]


Book Chapters (Peer Reviewed) and Refereed Journal Articles

Heidt, I. & Freitag-Hild B. (in preparation). Framing global citizenship education otherwise: Symbolic competence and critical pedagogy in interaction.In F. Matz, D. Becker, A. Marxl, R. Römhild, P. Siepmann (eds.): Rethinking culturallearning in foreign language education - The inevitable shift from theintercultural paradigm to cosmopolitan citizenship & human rights  education. Trier: WVT.

Heidt, I. (forthcoming, 2022). An autoethnography of an EFL teacher-learner's embodied self: Wrestling with raciolinguistic ideologies and developing ethical voice as symbolic competence. E. Wilden, L. Alfes, K. Cantone-Altintas, S. Cikrikci & D. Reimann (eds.). Standortbestimmungen. 29. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Fremdsprachenforschung in Essen. 22. – 24. September 2021. Kongressband. WBV.

Heidt, I. (forthcoming, 2022). Teaching for symbolic competence in the age of Twitter politics: Linguistic and political emergencies in foreign language education. In R. Bartosch & C. Ludwig (eds.): Ecological perspectives on English language teaching. Anglistik – International Journal of English Studies 33(3).

Heidt, I. (2022). When moral authority speaks: Empirical insights into issues of authenticity and identity in multilingual educational settings. In W. Stadler, L. Will & I. Eloff (eds.): Authenticity across languages and cultures. Themes of identity in foreign language teaching and learning. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Bartosch, R.; Derichsweiler, S. & Heidt, I. (2022). Against „Values“? Komplexe Konflikte, symbolic power und die Aushandlung von Widerstreit. In L. König, B. Schädlich, C. Surkamp (eds.): unterricht_kultur_theorie – Kulturelles Lernen im Fremdsprachenunterricht gemeinsam anders denken. Stuttgart: Metzler.

Heidt, I. (2020). Teaching language and culture as discourse through telecollaboration. In T. Giesler & J. Pfingsthorn (eds.), Masters of reflective practice – Abschlussarbeiten in der Englischdidaktik. (pp.165-180). Trier: WVT.

Heidt, I. (2015). Exploring the historical dimensions of Bildung and its metamorphosis in the context of globalization. L2 Journal, 7(4), 2-16. Retrieved from:


Selected Conference Activity

Organization of Symposia

(Co-chaired with Maggie Kubanyiova, University of Leeds, UK) Politics and ethics of language teacher education, AILA World Congress, Lyon, France. July 17-21, 2023.

Controversy and ethical dilemmas in multilingual and multicultural classrooms: Challenges and choices, American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL). Virtual Conference. March 20-23, 2021. 


Papers Presented (Refereed)

“Critical language teacher education in an era of uncertainty through autoethnographic narratives and (self-)reflexivity”, Reading Resistance - Widerstand und Kontroversität im Kontext gesellschaftlichen Wandels, University of Cologne, Germany. October 27-29, 2022.

“An autoethnography of an EFL teacher-learner‘s habitus: Wrestling with raciolinguistic ideologies and subject positions”, Wissen, Können und Handeln für den Fremdsprachenunterricht: Fremdsprachendidaktische Perspektiven auf (angehende) Lehrpersonen, Professions- und Wissensforschung. University of Wuppertal, Germany. September 12-13, 2022.

“The politics and ethics of teaching multilingual students in German citizenship education”, ETHER (Ethics and Aesthetics for Encountering the Other). University of Leeds, UK. April 6, 2022 (invited by Prof. Dr. Angela Creese and Pof. Dr. Maggie Kubanyiova).

“Teaching for symbolic competence in the age of Twitter Politics: Ecological and sustainable perspectives on foreign language education”, Anglistentag (virtual conference). September 19 -22, 2021.

What are we teaching languages for? Zur Bedeutung von symbolischer Kompetenz im Kontext von Digitalisierung und Globalisierung“, 29. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Fremdsprachenforschung (virtual conference). September 22 -24, 2021.

“Between politics and ethics: Teaching controversial issues to multilingual students in a German ethics class”. American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL). Virtual Conference. March 20-23, 2021.

“Between trust and symbolic power: Teaching culture to multilingual students in a German ethics class”, 19th AILA World Congress. Groningen, Netherlands. August 15–21, 2021 (accepted & cancelled symposium)

Against „Values“? Komplexe Konflikte, symbolic power und die Aushandlung von Widerstreit”(co-authored with Jun.-Prof. Dr. R. Bartosch & S. Derichsweiler), unterricht_kultur_theorie. Kulturelles Lernen im Fremdsprachenunterricht. University of Bielefeld, Germany. January 14, 2021 (invited by Prof. Dr. Lotta König).

“Teaching language and culture: Between retention and reduction of complexity”, Paper presented at the research colloquium of University of Cologne, Germany. November 12, 2019 (invited by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Roman Bartosch).

Lost and found in translation: Kulturelle Übersetzung (translation) und Umwertung (transvaluation) als Teil symbolischer Kompetenz?“, unterricht_kultur_theorie: Fremdsprachendidaktische Kulturvermittlung gemeinsam anders denken. Göttingen, Germany. July 1-3, 2019.

“Reframing global citizen education: Between moral and ethical Dimensions of language learning and teaching”, Educating the Global Citizen - International Perspectives on Foreign Language Teaching in the Digital Age. Munich, Germany. March 25-28, 2019. 

“L2 teaching between memory and history in a German politics class”, American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL). Chicago, USA. March 24-27, 2018.

“Mediating sacred truths in a German ethics class”, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Nashville, USA. November 17-19, 2017.

“Between Bildung and haram in a German ethics class”, American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL). Portland, USA. March 18-21, 2017.

“The current discourse on the German notion of Bildung in Europe”, Europe in Discourse: Identity, Diversity, Borders. Athens, Greece. September 23-25, 2016.

“Global exchanges and local historicities in telecollaborative online spaces”, AILA 7th Junior Researchers Meeting in Applied Linguistics. Winterthur, Switzerland. September 10-12, 2015.

Professional Service

2016 - present

Reviewer, L2 Journal (editor-in-chief: Claire Kramsch, UC Berkeley, USA)