Academy for SocioEconomics Linguistics — SPRACHKOMPETENZEN FÜR ALLE

Posts Tagged ‘Bodensee-Akademie Schönbühl’

BGE lesson #7 in Lindau

Posted by asecoli - Juli 20, 2009

I received good feedback for the latest lesson at the Akademie Schönbühl. Participants are happy that they not get the expert-group materials one week in advance (together with a German translation). Also the introduction of the new vocabulary in a suggestopedic way (which was done by one of the future BGE instructors) was welcomed as a nice change. Tomorrow we will have our final lesson and a form of test to see how well I have done as a teacher.

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BGE lesson #6 in Lindau

Posted by asecoli - Juli 10, 2009

“It must have gone well today, judging from your smile,” the director of the Akademie Schönbühl said when he entered the room after the lesson. Indeed, last session in Lindau was very good again. The learners’ performance during the pronunciation section was good as never before. One of the members said that this may have been, because I acted as such a great motivator today (and before the lesson people weren’t sure what they had to expect after last session’s discussion).

It is surprising, though, that it is still extremely hard for people to understand the sandwich technique, that it is also hard for them that they simply have to stick to what is written on their expert worksheets in order to present their material, and that it is also quite hard to speak slowly, clearly and loudly. But this is part of training intercultural competence. Also of note, the vocabulary section dealt with emotions this time and in order to memorize the words more easily learners were asked to also play the words (sad, angry etc.); not everyone felt at ease with that.

All in all, however, there was a very relaxed atmosphere in class. And learners also said that they feel they keep improving.

Joachim Grzega

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Stumbling in my adults’ BGE Lesson #5

Posted by asecoli - Juli 7, 2009

While Lessons #3 and #4 at the Akademie Schönbühl went well, the plan for #5 led to an unplanned and highly emotional evaluation-discussion. After I had the participants write a fax (like a written test, which most of them managed quite well), I had the usual preparatory section. Already during that phase, two groups complained that the topics were too demanding: the group that had to present “how to talk about things in the past” (i.e. simple past) and the group that had to present “how to contrast things” (i.e. comparative). Then there was first a revision and then a vocabulary group (I used the vocabulary exercise also to revise old vocabulary). Then, during the “past tense” group’s turn, people seemed so stressed that I broke up the lesson and started a discussion/evaluation.

It was strange that all of sudden people did not remember words that we have had in every single lesson. They claimed that there were so many unknown words and so few revision exercises (while I, in contrast, had noted that they didn’t even fully use the revision offers in class properly). Back home, I first had to correct the diagnosis. What I could draw from their impressions and feelings is, that it must indeed be stressful for the presenters to pay simultaneous attention to (1) the language, (2) the voice/presentation style, and (3) the contents, and that it must indeed be stressful for the listeners (1) to decode the words and (2) to process the contents. Therefore, I have decided to provide the worksheets for the experts with a German translation in small print and, for the rest of the learners, to intersperse complex contents with more explanations in the learners’ mother tongue. Also, most of the participants seem to have forgotten how to learn, so I will probably have to repeat my teaching advice more frequently.

Let’s see how it will work tonight.

Joachim Grzega

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4th LdL lesson in Lindau

Posted by asecoli - Juni 26, 2009

Our latest BGE-and-LdL lesson at the Akademie Schönbühl went quite well. First I did a plenary pronunciation exercise and a game exercise in pairs (during which I also observed and, if need be, corrected pronunciations of single individuals). The pronunciation will continue to be a challenge for me. Then we had groupwork: there was again a preparatory phase in groups of 3-4 people (revision group, dialog group, word-list group, game group, cultural contrast group). The single presentations took a bit longer than planned because some people didn’t know a game which I had expected as internationally known (“Happy Families”/“Go Fish”) and because people still have to get accustomed to some presentation techniques, e.g. the presentation of the dialog in three steps: (1) presentation in slow motion with the “sandwich technique”, i.e. when you say a new word/phrase, then a background interpreter gives the German equivalent and the literal German expression before the new word/phrase is uttered again (e.g. How are you? — Wie geht es Ihnen?, wörtlich: Wie seid ihr? — How are you?), (2) presentation in normal speed, (3) dialog hand-out plus reading.

During the single presentations, I will take care that the presenters stick to the wording on my sheet when they explain something and that good learners (“false beginners”) don’t choose expressions that the “true beginners” are not able to understand yet.

Joachim Grzega

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LdL in adult learner groups? Definitely yes!

Posted by asecoli - Juni 17, 2009

In my adult BGE class at the Akademie Schönbühl in Lindau, I used LdL in a rather light way during the first two sessions. I wanted to see first how people get along with my personality. And I didn’t want to risk anything since adult learners are known to focus rather on input than on effect. These were reactions triggered by a talk of mine that I held at an institute for adult classes. But yesterday I dared to do it. Yesterday’s BGE session was pure LdL–and … it worked fantastically. We had

  • a revision group
  • a pronunciation group (it’s debatable if this wouldn’t be better led by the teacher)
  • a “number and months” exercise group
  • two dialog groups

All participants—even those who have begun English from scratch—felt very comfortable. One of the future BGE teachers also said that she was impressed how well it worked. Of course, things need to be improved (e.g. people in the center have to speak louder, people should listen to those in the center), but I am fully convinced that LdL is also a very good vehicle for adult learner groups.

Joachim Grzega

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2nd BGE lesson in Lindau

Posted by asecoli - Mai 29, 2009

There are now 17 learners in the group. In the 2nd lesson I inserted more partner work so that people practiced more, but it was also harder to give feedback on their utterances. On the other hand, if I have everybody read or say 1 or 2 sentences followed by a feedback on my part, then this takes a lot of time where the others are rather passive.

I think that I’ve managed to respect the heterogeneous skills of the learners in a better way. At the same time, it’s also demanding to see that the better ones don’t scare off the “true” beginners (who are actually the real target group of BGE).

I try to present grammar basically in two ways: the lexical approach and presentation in the form of tables and rules. And I give learners fixed dialog that they may want to memorize at first before replacing elements with elements that are more personalized.

Despite my improvements, I’ve sent out a feedback questionnaire to get an idea of the learners’ feelings.

Also of note, we have still another teacher now among us. She will observe and give me feedback, too. She suggests to work more with “learning streets”. This seems an idea worth reflecting on, but such a technique must, in my view, not lead to a smaller degree of dialog/interaction.

And I’m definitely going to include much more LdL. (e.g.: Grammar sections could be prepared and presented by better students).

Joachim Grzega

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1st BGE lesson with adults

Posted by asecoli - Mai 23, 2009

Last Tuesday I had my first BGE lesson at the Akademie Schönbühl: 16 adult learners + 1 future BGE teacher. The group is very heterogeneous: some already have basic knowledge in English (“false beginners”), some are true beginners and represent the actual addressees of the course. Due to this heterogeneity I have to pay attention that the beginners are not scared off and I have to be ready to offer special services to these participants. On the whole, though, the atmosphere was very good and not even the video-camera was bothering. The principle of rapid “teacher-role rotation” worked well and it seems that LdL will be well suitable for the group. I’m also glad to see that I can use some of my self-teaching material and that I don’t have to revise and supplement my adult group material from scratch.

Joachim Grzega

Posted in eurolinguistics, cross-cultural linguistics, Global English, teaching methods | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BGE course for adults starting on Tuesday

Posted by asecoli - Mai 16, 2009

17 people have signed up for my first complete BGE course for adults. This response was unexpected. And I’m glad that many people seem interested in BGE in the Lake of Constance region. The course will start at the Akademie Schönbühl next Tuesday. There will also be one guy that wants to become a BGE teacher. Let’s keep fingers crossed for the first meeting.

Joachim Grzega

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Upcoming events

Posted by asecoli - März 18, 2009

My first events at the Akademie Schönbühl are set:

2 April:

introduction to Basic Global English for a general public

15 May:

1. introduction to Basic Global English for compulsory school teachers

2. introduction to Lernen durch Lehren (LdL) (for teachers)

3. how can we use Wikipedia and its sister projects) (for students, teachers, parents and everyone)

19 June:

1. what does user-friendly language look like? (for business people and administration people)

2. how do I learn effectively and efficiently? (for students, teachers, parents and everyone)

3. edutainment on communicative behaviour around the world (for everyone)

I’m also eagerly working on my edutainment lecture “Ausländisch für Anfänger” that I will give to a general audience next week.

Joachim Grzega

Posted in eurolinguistics, cross-cultural linguistics, expert-layperson communication, knowledge transfer, teaching methods, Varia | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Akademie Schönbühl, BGE and LdL in the Press

Posted by asecoli - Februar 6, 2009

Since this week I am the partner of a private limited company: the Akademie Schönbühl, an enterprise for advanced training and further education. I’m working together with Alfred Weinberger, who has already established an interesting program of courses and who has a high reputation reaching institutions not only in southern Germany, but also in Austria and Switzerland. At the Akademie Schönbühl, I will try to establish a new competence center for languages and communication.

Due to this new cooperation, I was interviewed by Michael Lehner, journalist working for the Schwäbische Zeitung. He understood the idea of BGE and LdL very fast and made suggestions for the further development and spread of BGE and LdL. He has tried to condense all the information he collected during the 90-min interview in this article, which appeared today.

Joachim Grzega

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