School Internships Abroad

Teaching and research at schools abroad

At the Universität Göttingen, TEFL students can complete one of their school internships in their Master of Education as a research internship at a school abroad. At these schools, they support classes in English or German (as a foreign language), while they also realize an individual research project, in which they conduct empirical research (e.g., interviews, questionnaires, or classroom observation). A recent student survey at the TEFL Department showed that a major difficulty of this attractive internship is the supervision of students’ research projects at the schools abroad.
In the summer term 2022 and winter term 2022/23, the TEFL Department will trial an innovative course concept to support students in their research internships abroad. The new seminar is aimed at students who want to combine their school internships abroad with their own research. The course uses a tailor-made seminar structure that aims to improve the supervision of “outgoing” students: First, students attend a preparatory session in which they refresh their knowledge of empirical research methods in foreign-language didactics and prepare the entire cycle of empirical research (i.e., state of research, research question, method, results, discussion) for their school stay abroad. They attend a presentation of the research projects of “incoming” students, who have already completed their stay, as a transfer of experience between incoming and outgoing students. Finally, they take part in continuous coaching sessions (via Zoom) during their actual stay at the schools abroad, that is, over a period of 3-6 months. While being abroad, they also keep a research diary (as an e-portfolio), on which the coaching sessions build. At the end of their stay, they present the results of their research projects at a mock conference, which is open to all students and employees of the university, so as to connect their research with an authentic product. The seminar concept will undergo a final evaluation to assess whether the sought-after improvement of the students’ supervision has in fact been achieved.
In order to redesign the seminar, Prof. Dr. Carola Surkamp and Dr. Andreas Wirag have successfully obtained funding of almost € 44,000 from the “Innovation plus” programme of the Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur Niedersachsen. This programme offers funding for the development and realization of innovative university course concepts, which are then to become a permanent part of the teaching programme.

MWK Innovation Plus Projekt Andreas