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Teaching young adult literature

Reading literary texts in the EFL classroom can motivate learners, develop their language skills as well as their inter- and transcultural competence. Young adult literature, in particular, also helps to develop the learners’ personal identity, their sense of who they are and who they want to be: Because the protagonists are usually about the same age as the readers and are faced with similar conflicts, learners can often identify with the protagonists, reflect about their ways of behaviour and develop their own moral values and skills of reflection and critical thinking. The focus of this project is on various genres of young adult literature (e.g. coming-of-age novel, multicultural literature, dystopian fiction, fantasy, mysteries and thrillers) and on learner-centred approaches (e.g. Portfolios, reading projects, creative writing) which are based on principles like individualization and the differentiation of individual learning processes. 

Britta Freitag-Hild



Genre-based approaches to language learning: teaching materials and learning tasks for developing speaking skills

Genre-based approaches to language learning are based on the idea that any kind of social interaction happens in the form of cultural ‘genres’ and that these genres are formed according to certain, i.e. linguistic, discursive and social, rules (cf. e.g. Paltridge 2001, Hallet 2011). Learners therefore need to acquire these generic rules and internalize them in order to be able to communicate successfully. While genre-based approaches to teaching writing skills have found their way already into course books and language learning materials, genre-based approaches to teaching speaking are rather scarce. The research project therefore aims at developing genre-based materials and complex learning tasks for developing the learners’ speaking skills, which will also be tested in English classrooms.  

Britta Freitag-Hild, Manuela Pohl


Discovering grammar through interaction 

This exploratory study is conducted in the very young discipline of Teaching Polish as a Foreign Language (TEPL). However, as there has been little empirical investigation in this field and theoretical models are rare I follow Mehlhorn's (2010) advice to implement findings from the teaching and learning of other modern foreign languages - mainly from Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) - into the study's theoretical and methodological framework. The role of grammar instruction in the foreign language classroom has been discussed in numerous scientific studies with different theoretical perspectives. My research project focuses on the potential of learning tasks and learner interaction for the development of grammatical competence. In particular, this work is interested in the functional relationship between task and learner interaction as well as its related effects on learning processes and learning potentials. The project aims at developing recommendations for the teaching of grammar in the modern foreign language classroom.

Susanne Gnädig (PhD thesis - subsidised by the German National Academic Foundation)


Learning English through and with new media

The aim of the project is to give students a complex insight into the use and benefits of digital media in the foreign language classroom. We want to enable students to use and critically reflect the usage of new media (esp. tablet computer) from the teachers' perspective as well as from the students' perspective. To do so we simulate teaching scenarios in our TEFL courses and we offer workshops for English language students in which we use the tablet computer. Both scenarios give us the opportunity to have a closer look on the question: How can the use of tablet computers help to develop intercultural communicative competence of language learners?

Susanne Gnädig (sub-project of "Medienbildung in der LehrerInnenbildung")


Cooperative Project “Selma's suitcase stories“

Early Second Language learning in the kindergarten: Students teach children

In cooperation with the university's kindergarten (Kita KlEinstein) the TEFL department is carrying out a project to enable teacher students to teach very young learners through realizing a language immersion program in the kindergarten.
During the Bachelor seminar “Englisch begegnet Kindern – Kinder begegnen Englisch“ students acquire basic knowledge in teaching English to children in the age of 4-6.  The teacher students learn to apply various methods (like storytelling techniques, games, handpuppets, music, crafting and a lot more) in order to provide children with rich, activating language input.
Students then apply this knowledge to plan and carry out learning sessions with the handpuppet “Selma“ in the kindergarten.  In doing so, the students introduce different English children's books using a multisensory approach to teach English. These sessions are then analyzed and evaluated profoundly to make the students benefit from this practical experience.

Manuela Pohl, Susanne Gnädig




Further Research

  • Portfolio and ePortfolio in teacher education
  • Service learning