Tag Archives: EFL

“I Think They Are Irresponsible”: Teaching Sustainability with (Counter)Narratives in the EFL Classroom

“Going Green—Education for Sustainability,” a German-American blended learning project for the EFL and STEM classrooms, asks students to challenge commonly held stereotypes about how both cultures approach sustainable development. Since the pilot project (2014), over 3,000 secondary school students in Germany and the US have enrolled in a shared learning management system (Moodle), worked collaboratively both online and offline, developed green action plans and shared them with the school and wider community as part of a competition.

This article outlines the conceptual perspective of Going Green that includes the aspects of (a) teaching ‘publics,’ (b) countering expectations and misconceptions, (c) raising awareness of counter-narratives, and (d) expanding the knowledge base of the target culture (sustainable policies in the US). These components together facilitate learning objectives beyond interactional and communicative competencies by promoting learner agency and community-based actions. Attitudinal data drawn from the last two project cycles (2016–17, 2017–18) reflect a heterogeneous view of learners’ expectations and understandings regarding sustainable policies in the US and Germany. Finally, we investigate how narratives and counter-narratives of sustainable development on both sides of the Atlantic can be exploited in the technology-enhanced foreign language classroom in order to facilitate the aforementioned goals. 

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Teaching Abraham Lincoln in the EFL Classroom: A German Case Study

This paper provides a German perspective on how and in what context American history in general is taught in German high schools, specifically in grades 11 to 13. It focuses on Abraham Lincoln as a potential subject in this context and concludes with some ideas on how and why Lincoln could be taught in the EFL, history or political science classrooms. Textbooks frequently used in German schools have been reviewed for that purpose.

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“New Ways of Teaching English”—this title will raise expectations. How many “new” ways are there to teach a language? Task-based language learning, project work, cooperative learning, content-based instruction, and computer-assisted language learning or e-learning are just a few methodological approaches in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom that can be highly beneficial for learners in developing their foreign language skills. On a more general level, these approaches also further intercultural communicative competence – including the knowledge, skills, and personal attitudes to communicate effectively and appropriately with people of other cultures.

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Web 2.0 Tasks in Action: EFL Learning in the U.S. Embassy School Election Project 2012

Exploring topics that are personally relevant and interesting to young adult English as a foreign language (EFL) learners remains a core challenge in language teaching. At the same time, the advent of Web 2.0 applications has many repercussions for authentic language learning. The “U.S. Embassy School Election Project 2012” has addressed these questions by combining a close focus on the U.S. Presidential Election with an interactive project scenario. This paper discusses the general educational potential of such projects in the contexts of computer-assisted language learning (CALL), intercultural learning, and learning in a task-based project environment.

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Political Cartoons in the EFL and American Studies Classroom

Political cartoons are anything but innocent caricatures. They have been described as “a confrontational art form” (Oliphant 25), as “purposefully designed to elicit strong emotions and reactions from readers” (Long, Bunch, and Lloyd 651), and as “among the more extreme forms of expression” (Long, Bunch, and Lloyd 651). Stories abound with the harsh punishments endured by political cartoonists under oppressive regimes. One might even say that what allows liberal and conservative American cartoonists to feel any sense of solidarity with one another is their bond through the First Amendment and their belief in the democratic enterprise that is criticizing government.

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