Professional Backround

I work as an English teacher (or trainer, I never really know which one to choose – see post ‘Thoughts on the Role of a Language Teacher’) in adult education. I have been teaching English to adults in a German context for a long time.  I gave my first course when I was still studying linguistics at the University of Hanover, the subject in which I eventually majored, graduating with minor degrees in literature and sociology. Due to my own personal background of having grown up in two linguistic worlds, I was very interested in research on bilingualism and in how children develop their first language(s) (Child Language Acquisition or Development), how children’s early language development differed from later or adult second language development or learning, and in concepts, theories and methods of language teaching.

Other questions that caught my interest were of more philosophical and epistemological nature like the power of language categories on our thinking (and acting), the metaphorical nature of languages (here mainly English and German), and what metaphors tell us about how we conceptualize things or phenomena. Furthermore, how language (the structural and conceptual nature of our language) determines or at least influences how we regard reality, others and the world around us, and how it is used – deliberately or not – to manipulate us.

I believe that, in one way or another, all subjects I studied (or am still studying) inform my English teaching practice: if not directly then at least as background concepts and principles that guide the way I do things.

On this blog, I intend to write about aspects of language, language teaching and language learning (ELT) I believe necessary and helpful for the learning process and improvement of one’s language skills. It is meant as additional information for current (and future) participants of my classes; to give you further insight into my background, and my approach(es) to what we do in our time together, provide tips on how to improve your language skills outside our classes, and to extend on topics, thoughts, ideas and questions that come up during a term or in a specific class.

It is also meant as a means for sharing with my colleagues. Feel free to use anything you might find interesting.

Though I studied the science of language intensively, I have not worked in the field of linguistic research. Many of my thoughts have derived out of my practice as a language teacher, many have been informed, or stimulated by other linguists, or academics working in the field of language study. Though a blog is not a scientific paper, I still intend to give as many references to sources as I can, especially when referring to concepts directly traceable to a certain author or linguist, whenever I can truly trace back to the source that influenced my thoughts.

Some things I will be writing about reflect, as I believe, common paradigms in linguistics, others are or will be thoughts and reflections of my own. As such, nothing is written in stone, everyhing is debatable, and facts change. Thus, shall there be anything you don’t agree with, find truly objectionable or would like to add to or comment on – feel free.


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