From 25-27 February 2010 I was at the AKS-Tagung in Bochum, Germany. I was invited to give a brief presentation on the project “imMEDIAte TEACHing” for which I had worked at LMU München a few years ago. In particular, the organizers of the workshop “Lifelong learning also for language teachers?!” were interested in our concept for a language teacher training program.
These are the slides that I used for the presentation. More details can be found in the “notes” section below the slides directly on the slideshare web site. They should make it a bit easier to understand the presentation. If you cannot see the embedded presentation, view it here.
I liked the new concept of this conference very much. Everybody had to choose one specific workshop in which s/he stayed the entire time. No “workshop hopping” as is so frequent at other conferences. Thus, the workshop participants could get to know each other better and could really discuss the proposed issues over the three conference days. We had 4 ca. 15-minute presentations and the rest of the time for discussions and group work.
At the end we were very pressed for time to generate a presentation of our workshop results. Luckily, our workshop organizers, Sigrid Behrent (University of Paderborn) and Gunter Lorenz (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg) had already categorized most of the results the previous night. It was too bad that there was only little time to view the results of the other workshops. If this conference concept is continued, I would prefer to have a specific time slot for brief summaries from the workshops besides the slides or posters because then these could be put into context better, and it would be possible to see the connections between the individual workshops more clearly.
The biggest results from the workshop for me are the following:
- Continuously training language teachers is necessary (nothing new there) and is done differently at individual institutions. Some have in-house workshops, others organize external trainers, others have a mix, but many do not have any scheme in place.
- Sharing resources and workshop facilitators between language centers will help to offer a wide range of workshops. Language centers should try to pool their resources and see if they can profit from their respective expertise.
- Any training program should be accredited to command respectability and offer real value to the participants for future employment (especially for freelance teachers) and professional development in general. Other professions already have such certificates – why not language teachers in higher education in Germany?
- The idea behind “imMEDIAte TEACHing” is still current and provides a good ground for discussions to venture off to new grounds.
- We have set up the AKS-NetworkING space where the discussions can be continued, resources shared, etc. The conference was just the start for the actual work.
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