Isabel Murillo Wilstermann

Thank you for visiting my portfolio and taking the time to explore my work in progress!

I am a teacher of Spanish as a foreign language, a passionate learner who loves engaging in challenges, a reflective professional who is widening her perspectives to become a teacher educator and a researcher. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where I lived for 25 years and obtained a degree in Human Resources. My diploma thesis about organizational development and my experiences as a volunteer in Venezuela and abroad were fundamental to discover my deep interest for teaching. I started teaching Spanish in 1998, and I have worked in Venezuela, Belgium and Germany. My work as a foreign language teacher at Instituto Cervantes in Bremen and Hamburg focused mainly in adult learners who wanted to learn Spanish for professional and personal purposes. I have also taught language courses at universities, schools, private language institutions and companies.

Antwerp, Belgium | Piñata with my students | 2005

Those experiences allowed me to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and with different learning styles. Working with them, I have developed flexibility, open-mindedness, sensitivity towards my students' needs and the strong conviction that in order to respond to every challenge, I have to keep learning and be the agent of this process. When I worked at the University of Bremen, my students' profile changed. I had in my classroom learners who aimed at becoming Spanish teachers themselves. This fact brought an additional perspective to my practice: the perspective of the teacher educator. This is a role that I am consciously nurturing in my courses at the Institute of Romance Studies at the University of Kiel, where I teach since 2015.

Working with prospective teachers, understanding their needs and foreseeing their challenges in regard to the target language use in the classroom, I realized how important it is to make them aware of two key aspects: the role of classroom interaction to foster language learning and exploring classroom practices to develop professionally. I asked myself in which ways can we as teachers make use of interaction in order to enhance language learning. I looked for information in teacher education and applied linguistics books, and I also contacted scholars of different languages and fields. This search crystallized into a seminar for graduate students that explored interaction in the Spanish language classroom.

Kiel, Germany | Spanish seminar on classroom interaction | 2018

ProPIC study week with international students | 2019

Investigating about mobile technologies to study classroom interaction and to foster teacher development, I attended dissemination events in Norway, England and Karlsruhe. These events set off the beginning of a collaborative learning network. After those encounters, I co-initiated with colleagues from universities in Germany, Sweden, England and Spain the ERASMUS+ teacher education project Promoting Professionalism, Innovation and Transnational Collaboration in Foreign and Second Language Teacher Education (ProPIC), a three-year endeavor which aimed at fostering second/foreign language teachers' continuing professional development (CPD).

My work as language teacher and teacher educator are powerful sources of challenges that keep me evolving and learning. In order to improve my practice, I ask for external support to evaluate my teaching and learn about my students' needs. I actively seek for formal and informal learning opportunities, for instance exploring my own classroom practices, attending workshops, conducting classroom observation, etc. In my professional future I look forward to more opportunities for international and interdisciplinary cooperation, to continuing my work in initial teacher education and to designing well grounded educational interventions that have a positive impact on teacher education in my institution.

Kiel, Germany | school visit with international students | 2019


Isabel Murillo Wilstermann | LfbA für Spanisch | Romanisches Seminar der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel | Leibnizstraße 10

Zimmer 110 | 24118 Kiel | E-Mail: imurillo@romanistik.uni-kiel.de