Sabrina Link, School of Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture

I constantly try to upskill and to get new ideas for teaching and how to engage my students. Apart from reading the relevant scientific journals, I also attend a seminar twice a year in London where colleagues from my field present their work and where I get a lot of impulses and inspirations. Last year, one of them spoke about peer teaching and I immediately liked the concept, as I think that learning through teaching is one of the most beneficial and sustainable ways in language learning. 

Context

I constantly try to upskill and to get new ideas for teaching and how to engage my students. Apart from reading the relevant scientific journals, I also attend a seminar twice a year in London where colleagues from my field present their work and where I get a lot of impulses and inspirations. Last year, one of them spoke about peer teaching and I immediately liked the concept, as I think that learning through teaching is one of the most beneficial and sustainable ways in language learning.

Activity

As I am the course coordinator for the ab-initio German as well as the junior honour students, I planned my lessons in a way, that the third year students were able to take over two classes in week 6 in my beginners course and introduce the perfect tense in German. During the first half of the lesson, two 3rd year students introduced and explained the new grammar, in the second part, two other students then presented the first year students with exercises, talked them through these exercises and answered arising questions.

Evaluation

All students gave me feedback on the peer-teaching. The 3rd year students were very positive. They explained how much they learnt by preparing the classes and exercises. One of them was so enthusiastic, that she, from then onward, came along to the beginners classes to help the students with their exercises. The first year students also enjoyed the experience, as it broke up the normal teaching routine and had a motivating effect, as they realised that managing German grammar and speaking German is doable. Due to the positive feedback, I plan to organise another peer-teaching session next year.

Impact

The honour students' feedback showed that teaching German changed how they perceive German as a language. It strengthened their graduate attributes massively, as, amongst other things, they did not only extend and deepen their German knowledge but were also encouraged to think independently and creatively as well as working in a team, when planning the lessons. Further, it showed them, that although they already speak German well, they can still learn more about the language and that learning is a life-long process. Giving feedback and reflecting on their performance also made them aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.

Dissemination

We had a photographer present for the peer-teaching class and the event was afterwards promoted and presented through the facebook page of the German Department. As I now occasionally write blog entries for the LLMVC Homepage, I will write one for the next peer-teaching session that I organise, so that the practice will get more prominent and visible throughout the school and hence to enable colleagues from other disciplines to adapt this method, if they want to.