Inquiry and development

This section is dedicated to small scale efforts to investigate on (my) teaching in order to get new insights that benefit my practice both as a language teacher and as a teacher educator. These efforts will also result in teaching materials for ProPIC and didactics seminars.

An open door

Since two of my research interests are classroom interaction and teacher education, video recording my own teaching just seemed the most coherent thing to do. But why did I not do this before? Of course, this is an activity that affects the lesson because neither I nor my students are used to be in front of cameras while working and interacting with others. But there are three reasons why I decided to document one of my courses in 2018. First, I was requested to teach a Spanish A2 level (elementary), which I thought it would be an ideal level to explore. The level of the group and the grammar topics are close to a prototypical level that my students could face as teachers in their future. Second, I had worked with this Spanish group before and the fact that we knew each other contributed to lower some anxiety levels. All students agreed to be video recorded. Third, video sequences and transcribed excerpts of this data can be used as material for CIELE, ProPIC and for research on classroom interaction. In fact, a graduate student worked with this data in her master thesis. She assisted me in every session with the technical side and together we prepared the letter of consent to request the necessary permission from every course participant. At the end of the semester we gathered 20 hours of classroom data using two cameras and one audio recorder.

Kiel, Germany | Vocabulary activity | 2018

A day at your school

Elsa-Brändström-Schule | A great start with French | May 2018

At the university of Kiel I have the opportunity to interact with in-service teachers who are also teacher educators in my department. We meet two or three times each semester to discuss curriculum reform, course contents and module design. Since I do not work at schools, the contact with these professionals is highly relevant for me. These in-service teachers play a pivotal role because they also teach courses on language didactics at the university and they are, in terms of career, where my students will be.

In order to investigate about the in-service teachers' working context and explore their beliefs, I have planned a compact activity called "a day at your school". This school visit has two main parts: classroom observation and an audio recorded interview. Some of the questions I have prepared are: what are the most important challenges that you face in your work?, what challenges do novice teachers face in their new classrooms?, in which areas do novice teachers need more support?, what activities enhance your continuing professional development? For this activity I have contacted teachers of Spanish, French and English and I plan to work with five teachers. The recorded interviews will be used as teaching material for ProPIC as well.

The first school I visited is the Elsa-Brändström-Schule in Scheswig-Holstein. I am very thankful to the Spanish and French teacher who introduced me to her groups and gave me the necessary information and course material. This was of great help to facilitate my understanding of the lesson and her teaching decisions on the fly.