21/05/2015, by CLAS

“Flipped roles”: German students as teachers

“Learning by teaching” is a teaching and learning approach which sees students in the role of the teacher and helps them learn by having them teach other students and collaborate with fellow learners. Sascha Stollhans from the German Department reports on a very successful collaboration between German students at different stages:

The students who took my second year German linguistics module “Fremdsprachen lernen und lehren” (“Learning and teaching foreign languages”) in the autumn semester of 2014/15 learnt about the theory and practice of foreign language acquisition. We discussed some important linguistic theories and tried to apply them to teaching and learning contexts.

At the end of the module, the students carried out a project in groups. They collaborated with our first year beginners’ students, who had only been studying German for one semester at that point. Some of second year students planned, designed and delivered a teaching session for their peers, focusing on revising a specific grammar aspect or developing their listening or speaking skills. Others created a video tutorial on a specific aspect that they themselves had found hard when learning German and that they wanted to help their fellow students with. The sessions and videos were integrated into the first year students’ regular language classes. All the students put a lot of work into their projects and created very impressive materials and videos. Their fascinating and very thoughtful ideas were a great asset to the ab initio students’ learning process, and the collaboration between students of different stages and levels was very fruitful – and great fun!

Watch a video tutorial German pronunciation, created by Jordan Baxter and Emma Cracknell: http://youtu.be/Ne-6mF2-jBE

German students

This is a game designed by Katie Prentice and Rebecca Mitchell, which they used in their session to revise vocabulary on the topic of family relations (can you find the German words for siblings, husband, wife, divorcee, stepdaughter, stepson, half-brother and uncle?)













Some of the materials were also used at the University of Sheffield and we are planning on further developing this collaboration between students at different universities. Mandy Poetzsch from the University of Sheffield and I attended the World Congress of Modern Languages (Niagara Falls, Canada) in March 2015 and presented on the concept of “learning by teaching”, taking into account the results of this project. It was a great experience and we could share our experiences with innovations in language teaching and learning with other scholars from all over the world – and showcase our students’ fantastic ideas. Well done to all who contributed to this project and thank you very much for your great work – I look forward to continuing the project with next year’s cohort!

Sascha Stollhans

Posted in German Studies