FAQs: English Didactics in Göttingen
Q. What didactic courses are part of the Bachelor’s programme?
A. In the Bachelor’s programme, students have to complete the module “Vermittlungs- und Fachdidaktikmodul” (module on the didactics of foreign languages). According to the new study regulations,the module consists of the course “Introduction to English Language Teaching” that takes place every semester, its accompanying tutorial and the “Introduction to Intercultural Learning”. All courses are held in English and are quite work-intensive as they include the preparation of a Micro Teaching Unit, short presentations, assigned reading and the writing of reflections. The examination consists of a portfolio students have to produce (see below). This module examination can only be repeated twice, at the earliest in the semester following the latest attempt. Students get 6 credits for successfully completing the entire module (see 'Teaching').
Q. I heard that I also have to do an internship at school. Is that part of didactics? Why are such obligations not listed in the module catalogue of the English Department?
A. The five-week school internship that must be completed during the Bachelor’s programme (just as the orientation internship) is not part of the didactic education as it is carried out in the didactic field of the English Department. This internship is usually not accomplished at a grammar school but at another type of school. It aims at showing future teachers the everyday life at a primary or secondary school and gives them the opportunity to gain initial experience in interactions with pupils. The orientation internship is meant to give students insight into the professional world. The accompanying, obligatory preparation and evaluation courses for the internships are not part of English studies, but are offered by the Educational Institute. The Koordinationsstelle Lehrerbildung is responsible of organizing these internships.
Q. Should I attend the „Introduction to English Language Teaching“ (BA) before or after the general school internship?
A. It makes sense to attend the course as a preparation before the internship. It does not only introduce students to didactics and methods of foreign language teaching, but also deals with topics that are of general interest for teaching.
Q. What is the purpose of the tutorial that accompanies the „Introduction to English Language Teaching“ (BA)?
A. The tutorial is a worthwhile and necessary addition to the course. Whereas the course focuses on theory, the tutorial gives students the opportunity to apply their newly-gained knowledge in teaching on their own. It is offered because teacher training should not only foster the ability to reflect on teaching (which is done, for instance, in the portfolio, the examination requirement of the introduction course) but also the ability to teach in practice. Students studying under the old study regulations receive an additional credit point for participating in the tutorial (for this, please register separately via FlexNow!). Under the new study regulations, the tutorial is obligatory. Most students give very positive feedback on the tutorial: they find it extremely helpful and important for the teacher training in the subject of English.
Q. What is a portfolio?
A. Basically, a portfolio is a collection of material and achievements. The portfolio that you have to hand in as the examination requirement for the course “Introduction to English Language Teaching” (BA) focuses on you as a teacher and learner: you collect reflections on your own learning process, writing these in the course of the semester. It encourages you to think about questions such as ‘Which effect has method XY on me? What are its strengths, where do I see weaknesses? How do I regard the method from a teacher or student’s point of view? How does the method relate to the theory we dealt with? Further information is given at the beginning of the semester, extensive material will be uploaded on stud IP.
Q. Can I do my Bachelor’s thesis in the field of English didactics?
A. No, that’s not possible. However, you can do a Bachelor’s thesis in the field of literature or linguistics and include didactic parts. In such a case, authorised lecturers of the didactics department would be the second advisor for the thesis.
Q. How many didactic courses do I have to attend during my Master’s?
A. You have to attend three courses: a practical course or lecture, an in-depth seminar and a seminar that accompanies the internship. Additionally, you have to attend the final MA module (Masterabschlussmodul) if you do your Master’s thesis in the domain of English Language Teaching.
Q. I’d like to go abroad as a teaching assistant. How do I do this?
A. You make a request for being sent abroad as a teaching assistant. Dr. G.R. Ross can provide further information and you can also browse the website of the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst.
Q. Can I have my time as a teaching assistant credited to me as an internship?
A. Yes, you can. This requires attending a specific didactic course to prepare and evaluate your stay abroad and handing in an internship report that must be agreed upon by the respective lecturer. Abroad, a form must be completed by your school as a proof for the internship you want the stay to be credited for (you will find the respective forms here). The dates for the preparation and evaluation courses can be found in the list of courses on uniVZ. Usually, they take place every summer semester (and as block sessions).
Q. Where do I complete my research internship (“Forschungspraktikum”, FoP)?
A. The FoP (that covers 80 hours) is completed at a school outside of Göttingen, since teachers in Göttingen are regularly attended by interns in the general school internship and the subject internship (“Fachpraktikum”, FP). (You must find a place for the FoP on your own, whereas the places for the FP are assigned by the Kooperationsstelle Lehrerbildung). There is one exception to this, however: you have the opportunity to teach support and project courses at schools in Göttingen accompanying the school year. Module M.EP.03-1b-L2 prepares you for this activity.
Q. Do I have to complete my FoP in the semester break and at a time?
A. You can start doing your FoP any time after having attended the preparation course. It can be completed at a time, in several blocks or over an extended period of time – provided that an amount of 80 hours (of observation, meetings, conference participation, lesson teaching etc.) can be proven at the end. To confirm this, you have to hand in a form signed by the school (available here).
Q. What is the difference between FoP and FP?
A. The FoP is about pursuing a research question that is defined in the preparation course. The report focuses on the presentation of this question and the search for answers. The aim is to analyse foreign language teaching. In contrast to the FP, the FoP is not about gaining own teaching experiences, but about reflecting a selected aspect of foreign language teaching – sometimes from an observer’s perspective only. For this reason, lesson descriptions aren’t they key aspect in the FoP report; sometimes they aren’t included at all.
Q. How are the overall marks for the internship modules calculated and must I attend both courses in one semester?
A. The overall marks consist of the mark awarded for the practical course or lecture (1/3) and the mark awarded to the FP or FoP report (2/3). The calculation is carried out by FlexNow. You don’t have to attend both courses in one and the same semester.
Q. The in-depth module (module M.EP.03-2-L) requires the participation in a subject-specific course in addition to the didactic course. Subject-specific topics are meant to be linked to didactics. Does this mean that I have to attend an extra course parallel to the didactic one?
A. The subject-specific course can be a seminar in literary studies or linguistics that has been attended earlier (even in the BA) or that is attended simultaneously to the didactic course. Thus you don’t have to attend an additional course. What is important, however, is that its topics are ideally considered in the didactic course. The subject-specific topics should be reflected on from the point of view of foreign language teaching. Examples are: How can approaches from literary and cultural studies be used for the didactics of foreign languages? Which significance do linguistic research results have for language didactics?
Q. How many credits do I get for the individual courses?
A. For the “Vermittlungs- und Fachdidaktikmodul” in the Bachelor’s programme (B.EP.073-L), students get 6 credits (students doing Business and Human Resource Education get an extra credit for the tutorial). The in-depth module in the Master’s programme (Modul M.EP.03-2-L) also counts 6 credits. The MA practical course/lecture (module M.EP.03-1a/b-L), the accompanying seminar and the research internship (module M.EP.03-1b-L2) or the subject internship (module M.EP.03-1a-L1) amount to 11 credits. (see 'Teaching').
Q. How do I register for courses?
A. Registration for courses is made online via studIP in the indicated registration period. This registration allows you to participate in the course. In order to take the exam and obtain credits, another registration must take place online via FlexNow at least one week prior to the examination date. If this registration does not happen, the credits cannot be awarded. In case of problems with FlexNow, please contact the English Didactics Office or turn directly to the Examination Office.
Q. Do I have to attend the final MA module („Masterabschlussmodul“) in didactics if I do my Master’s thesis in the field of didactics?
A. The finale MA module can be taken in every field of English studies. It does not have to correspond to the thematic field that the Master’s thesis is done in. If you want to attend Carola Surkamp’s final MA module, you have to register for your thesis at the examination office at the begining of the semester.
Q. I realized that my voice sounds strange and that I can’t really speak in front of students. What can I do?
A. The Centre for Languages and Key Competencies (“ZESS”) offers courses on rhetoric and voice teaching, which involves practising how to breathe naturally and how to use your voice correctly. For a future teacher, the voice is a very important tool and must be treated accordingly. A wrong way of speaking can cause problems and diseases in the long run – in the worst case even nodules on the vocal chords. It is thus important for you to learn how to deal with your own voice. The courses are free and usually conclude with a certificate. Additionally, participation in one of the numerous ThOP (“Theater im OP”) courses (www.thop.uni-goettingen.de) can only be encouraged, just as singing in one of the many (student) choirs in Göttingen.