English Language Teaching


... to the English Language Teaching (ELT) section! In our research and teaching, the main concern is on how to support students in learning the English language. We ask how they can feel comfortable enough so that they can communicate with different people, understand and produce texts conveyed through different media, and thus participate in diverse cultural discourses. Foreign language education therefore includes not only language learning but also cultural and literary learning. Within language education, our courses lay the foundations for the acquisition of linguistic means (vocabulary and grammar) as well as the promotion of listening and visual comprehension, reading comprehension, writing and speaking competences, and mediation. Literature education is dedicated to the competence-oriented use of literary texts in foreign language teaching and focuses not only on short stories, novels, dramas and poetry, but also on films and television series, radio plays, comics, and digital literature. A third essential focus is on cultural education, which deals with questions of training (inter-)cultural and global competences. This includes, for example, the willingness to communicate with speakers of other languages and to explore other cultures as well as the ability to negotiate meaning and change perspective.
As future English teachers, students in Göttingen deal with these issues on a theoretical and a practical level. Tangible teaching methods are tested out and reflected on together in our courses. In addition, we carry out various practical projects in cooperation with schools in Göttingen. The YLAB, a language learning laboratory for students, offers further room for practice – even beyond obligatory school internships. Throughout our projects, we place importance on innovative approaches such as drama pedagogy, global simulations, and virtual exchange via digital technologies.

Award for the best seminar (below 50 participants) university-wide in 2021/2022 - Fabian Krengel

After Kira Sara had received the ZEWIL award the week before, Fabian Krengel was honored with the award for the best seminar (below 50 participants) university-wide in 2021/2022 at the annual academic celebration last Friday, December 16. Students of his seminar “Virtual Exchange for Global Education in Foreign Language Teaching” suggested Fabian Kengel be awarded with the prize that considers classes from every faculty of the university and was given out for the second time this year. They especially highlighted the range of methods used in the seminar as well as the lecturer’s excitability. The jury that picked the seminar out of various nominations praised the seminar’s focus on internationalization, digitalization, and diversity. On behalf of the whole didactics team, we are congratulating Fabian, who is a dedicated and competent lecturer, for receiving this well-deserved honor.

Fabian Krengel - Lehrpreis Studienjahr 2021/22
Prize for excellent teaching 2022 - Kira Sara

At this year’s Master of Education graduation ceremony, Kira Sara was honored with the prize for excellent teaching 2022. After Carola Surkamp in 2014 and Jan-Marc Rohrbach in 2016, she is now the third English didactics team member to receive this award, which she was presented with by Julian Weichelt as a member of the LSV.
The prize is based on the EvaSys evaluation of the past three semesters, in which Kira Sara’s courses were continuously rated as outstanding. Kira Sara has been teaching excellent English didactics courses since 2011 and her great work is being recognized with this award. On behalf of the whole didactics team, we are congratulating Kira for receiving this well-deserved honor.

Kira Sara - Preis herausragende Lehre SoSe 2022
Now published: Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung im Englischunterricht. Grundlagen und Unterrichtsbeispiele, edited by Carola Surkamp

This anthology is devoted to a hitherto largely unexplored topic: education for sustainable development in foreign language teaching. It gives a brief overview of the history of the guiding principle of sustainable development and the role of education in this context, provides initial answers to the question of the potential of English lessons for the promotion of sustainability competencies, gives new impetus to the discussion in foreign language didactics with an innovative model of subject-specific education for sustainable development, and uses concrete teaching examples to show how education for sustainable development can be integrated into English lessons at different grade levels. This is illustrated using the example of the United Nations' eleventh development goal: Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11).
The volume is aimed at student teachers, trainee teachers, foreign language teachers, and all those who are responsible for their training and further education at university, in study seminars, and in school.

Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung

Surkamp BNE
Now published: unterricht_kultur_theorie: Kulturelles Lernen im Fremdsprachenunterricht gemeinsam anders denken, edited by Lotta König, Birgit Schädlich & Carola Surkamp

The anthology combines contributions on cultural learning from theoretical-conceptual, empirical and practical teaching perspectives. Current developments in cultural didactics are discussed, concepts are reflected upon, and scenarios for culturally oriented foreign language teaching and teacher training are designed, which are developed for the fields of English didactics, didactics of Romance languages, and German as a foreign and second language. The contributions emerge from a cross-linguistic, interdisciplinary conference that took place at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen in 2019.


Likus UnterrichtKulturTheorie
17.05.2022: "Fake News? Let's face it! Lecture and workshop on the development of critical media and information literacy in English classes" with Prof. Dr. Bärbel Diehr (ret.) as part of GENiUS2

Another GENiUS2 event – organized by Prof. Dr. Carola Surkamp, Wiebke Ruf, and Fabian Krengel – took place in the teachers' room at the Waldweg facilities of the University of Göttingen on May 17, 2022. The network seeks to promote the exchange between student teachers, trainee teachers, and English teachers from Göttingen schools in order to facilitate networking processes between the individual phases of teacher training.
Bärbel Diehr, guest lecturer from the University of Wuppertal, introduced the topic of Fake News in a one-hour online lecture by first illuminating the phenomenon on a scientific-theoretical level and then showing how Fake News can be recognized and how it can be practiced with learners in English classes. Based on empirical studies, it was shown that there are major deficits in the area of critical media and information literacy among adolescents and young adults, which need to be addressed.
In a practical workshop, the participants then worked in groups to examine various texts – ranging from didactic material on fake news to a tweet by Elon Musk – for their potential use in the classroom. The groups were composed in such a way that students, trainee teachers, employees of the Teaching English as a Foreign Language section of the university, and teachers from schools worked together. The results were then presented in a plenary session, and Bärbel Diehr was impressed by the level of reflection and wealth of ideas on display.
The exchange with the students was described as refreshing by a trainee teacher in the subsequent feedback discussion; the students emphasized the trainee teachers' perspective on the actual feasibility of the joint ideas in the classroom as particularly helpful. Overall, the event can therefore be considered a complete success for all sides. The event was conducted in a hybrid manner, with participants on site in the Waldweg and the lecturer participating online, which worked excellently.

GENiUS2 Fake News Fotos

Successful funding for a teaching/learning concept by the Teaching English as a Foreign Language section: "Innovation plus (2022/23)"

The team of the Teaching English as a Foreign Language section at the University of Göttingen has successfully obtained funding of almost 44.000,- € from the program "Innovation plus" of the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony. The "Innovation plus" program invites applications for project funds for the development and implementation of innovative university teaching/learning concepts.

Prof. Carola Surkamp and Dr. Andreas Wirag were able to convince the jury with their idea for the further development of a seminar that accompanies student teachers during their research internships at schools abroad. A previous student survey revealed that this attractive internship opportunity was associated with hurdles, particularly with regard to the supervision of students' own research projects abroad. The new seminar concept, which will be developed and tested from April 2022 to April 2023, therefore offers ongoing support for students via coaching sessions during their time abroad. The concept will subsequently be evaluated to verify whether the desired improvement in supervision of the internships has actually been achieved.

MWK Innovation Plus Projekt Andreas

New anthology in collaboration with former university students published

Action-orientation in the foreign-language classroom from an empirical perspective: Studies on teaching and learning contexts at school and university (eds. Katharina Delius, Carola Surkamp & Andreas Wirag)

Volume 14 of the series of publications “Göttinger Schriften zur Englischen Philologie” collects contributions in the field of English Language Teaching. The connecting element is action-orientation, which is a didactic key principle in the field of foreign-language teaching and learning. However, at present, empirical findings on how action-orientation can be pursued as a goal or put into practice as a teaching method in schools and at universities are scarce. While the volume’s introduction by the editors gives an overview of the theoretical basis and empirical findings on action-orientation to date, the eight individual studies that follow provide an empirical contribution to the academic discourse on action-oriented approaches to the teaching of foreign-language literature, action-oriented learning in global simulations, in school laboratories as well as in drama-/theatre-based foreign-language education. The authors of these articles are all former students at the university of Göttingen, who conducted the studies in the context of their master’s theses at the chair of English language teaching.


Who is a criminal? Recognizing and reflecting on structural racism in the USA with the help of documentaries

The newest issue of the didactics journal Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht English deals with the Black Lives Matter movement (Issue 173/2021). The articles show how the students’ critical discourse competence can be developed dealing with this topic. One of the hands-on articles suggesting a teaching approach was written by members of the didactics department at Göttingen University. In their article, Annabel Beck, Fabian Krengel, Jule Inken Müller, and Carola Surkamp show how structural racism in the prison-industrial complex in the USA can be uncovered with the help of two documentaries and how the learners can become allies with those affected.

All issues of Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch can be found in the Waldweg library.


Language Learning Through Acting? An Interview With Prof. Dr. Carola Surkamp

Conducted by the English Language Teaching section of the English Deparment and the Institute for Educational Psychology, the research project „Bühne frei: Schulische Bildungsangebote im Bereich Darstellendes Spiel und ihre Wirkung auf die Persönlichkeitsentwicklung“ focuses on how theater projects can foster the personality traits of young EFL learners. In a recent interview with the Rat für Kulturelle Bildung, Prof. Dr. Carola Surkamp discusses first findings. You can read the full interview (in German) here. There is also a podcast episode on the project, to which you can listen here. In this episode, Carola Surkamp and Jana Schrader, former student at the SEP and currently student teacher at the IGS Geismar, discuss the project and felicity conditions of drama activities at schools.

Pre-service EFL teachers at the university of Göttingen interested in exploring the potential of drama pedagogy for foreign language teaching can conduct their Forschungspraktikum by offering an EFL Drama Club at the IGS Geismar. This seminar is a key component of the research project and is instructed by Dr. Andreas Wirag.

Theater AG
Picture taken by: Christine Lokaj

Open Lecture Series on Cultural Learning in Foreign Language Teaching

Together with the Department of Romance Studies, the English Language Teaching section is organizing a digital lecture series on current issues surrounding the topic of cultural learning in foreign language teaching in the summer semester of 2021. Various scholars and teachers provided insights on questions such as:
• What do we need cultural learning for today?
• What are the objects of cultural learning?
• Who are the actors?
• How can cultural learning be designed?
• Who are the teachers and instructors?

You can find the full list of speakers and topics here.

Kulturelles Lernen VL Pic

Thematic Issue on Digital Learning with Contributions from Göttingen

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, questions related to good foreign language teaching in virtual environments and with the help of modern information and communication technologies are more relevant than ever. For this reason, the journal Der Fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch zeroes in on these topics with its latest thematic issue on ‘Distance Teaching – Digital Learning’ (issue 167 / 2020). In addition to numerous hands-on articles with specific suggestions for practitioners, StD' Wiebke Ruf, StR Philipp Stückrath, and Prof. Dr. Carola Surkamp also report on digital teacher training efforts in Göttingen. This includes a presentation of current measures by the GENiUS² network, which was founded in 2019 to connect students at the University of Göttingen with teacher trainees at the local teacher training college (Studienseminar Göttingen) and teachers at schools in Göttingen.

DFUE Digitales Lernen

Article: What We Know and Don’t Know About the Arts in L2 Teaching and Learning

The TEFL Department has hosted a panel discussion (with Stefanie Giebert, Konstanz) as part of the 2019 conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Fremdsprachenforschung (DGFF), in which experts discussed the use of the arts in L2 teaching and learning. In the discussion, Prof. Camilla Badstübner-Kizik (Poznań), Dr. Alexandra Hensel (Göttingen), StDin Andrea Knupfer (Stuttgart), Prof. Wolfgang Gehring (Oldenburg) and Prof. Michaela Sambanis (Berlin) talked about current issues in relation to the arts (drama, literature, film, music, visual arts and dance) in L2 teaching from the perspective of both research and instruction: e.g., which L2 learning goals can be pursued through the arts? How can the arts be included in teacher training? How can the arts be integrated into EFL instruction at school?

An article which summarises the main results of the discussion has now been published in Scenario – Journal for Performative Teaching, Learning, Research. It can be found here.

Journal article by students of the department 'Teaching English'

In one edition of the journal Der Fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch - ‚Integrated Skills' (164 / 2020), you can find an article by students of our department: „The real fashion victims: Perspektiven auf das Thema fast fashion erabeiten, in einer fishbowl-Diskussion Position beziehen“ by Myriam Grützmann, Jesko Petersen, Yannick Ewert and Carolina Ruthenbürger. The article has arisen from the seminar Global Education by Prof. Surkamp (WS 2018/19).

You can find additional information here.


Congratulations to Dr. Lotta König to her promotion to full professor

We congratulate Dr. Lotta König who has been offered a full W2-professorshop in ,Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ in the Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies at the University of Bielefeld. Her professorship has started in October 2019. Lotta König has worked as a researcher and teacher at the Department of English Language Teaching at the University of Göttingen since 2010, where she was involved in many different projects. She also worked as a teacher for English and French in different high schools in Göttingen for some time. We would like to thank Lotta for her commitment in the teacher-training and we wish her all the best for her future in Bielefeld.


Network founded: English Language Teaching Across School, University and Teacher Training

In the summer semester 2019 a network for English language teaching was founded in Göttingen. The aim of the joint initiative is to create further links between the University of Göttingen, the teacher training college (Studienseminar Göttingen für das Lehramt an Gymnasium) and teachers of secondary high schools in Göttingen with regards to the teaching of English as a foreign language. On November 12, 2019, the kickoff event took place at the Hainberg Gymnasium with more than 80 participants.

For more details click here


Symposium “unterricht_kultur_theorie. Kulturvermittlung gemeinsam anders denken“
July 1-3, 2019, University of Göttingen

Organized by the French and English teaching departments, this symposium offered an opportunity for intense exchange on current questions related to teaching culture, both from a research and classroom perspective. The participants discussed concepts such as inter- and transcultural learning as well as symbolic competence, participation in cultural discourses, and global education. Reference theories from anthropology and cultural studies were examined regarding the potential of applying them to foreign language teaching to support non-essentializing, pluralist concepts of culture in schools and teacher education.

For more details click here


Research project "Clear the Stage"

Project “Bühne frei: Schulische Bildungsangebote im Bereich Darstellendes Spiel und ihre Wirkung auf die Persönlichkeitsentwicklung” (“Clear the Stage: School-Based Education in the Performing Arts and their Impact on Personality Development”).
Joint project of the English Department (Prof. Dr. Carola Surkamp) and Psychology Department (Prof. Dr. Sascha Schröder) at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

Project part 2 (TEFL / English Department): “Wirkmechanismen des Darstellenden Spiels auf das sozial-emotionale Erleben von Schülerinnen und Schülern” (“Effects of the Performing Arts on the Socio-emotional Development of Students”).

For more details click here

Webpage 'Digital media in the EFL Classroom‘

A webpage about the use of digital media in the EFL classroom has been launched by the Klett Academy. You will find both theoretical texts about questions concerned with digital media and teaching proposals for the use of digital media in different fields of teaching and learning English (e.g. writing, speaking, or literature).

To the website 'Digital Media in the EFL classroom'

Further information

Staying abroad as a language assistant
Information for all of you who plan to do a stay abroad as a language assistant (within the programme of the Pädagogische Austauschdiensts or independently)

Problems with registration via StudIP?
Please contact us via e-mail if regristrations via StudIP do not work out.