Lively discussions between university and high school students
What was it like to be writing blog posts about linguistics for teenage readers? What do you think about your role as test readers? What was fun and inspiring about our school-university cooperation? What could be improved in the future? These were some of the questions our MA student bloggers and an English class from the Gymnasium Zum Altenforst in Troisdorf discussed during this year’s LAMA project meeting. The event was part of the “Wochen der Studienorientierung”.
On 1 February 2018, our first year Master students met the pupils from the Gymnasium Zum Altenforst in Troisdorf to share their experiences with writing and reading the LAMA blog posts over the course of the past five months. Together with Prof. Dr. Schneider, English teacher Dr. Meinl and project manager Dr. Pohle, they also developed ideas on how the university-school cooperation could be further intensified in the future.
The meeting was an excellent opportunity for the pupils to find out what it is like to be a student at Bonn University. They said they very much enjoyed the interaction with the students. Through the project they not only learned how diverse the field of applied linguistics is, but also practiced giving valuable feedback on a text draft.
As Professor Schneider pointed out in his brief welcoming speech, the LAMA project gives the students a chance to publish a text early on in their studies, a text on a scientific topic but written for young readers with no previous knowledge of linguistics. Writing for a very specific audience that the authors didn’t know much about in the beginning was a challenging but rewarding task. It’s a competency they need for a number of jobs they may take later: Some of our former MA students now work as journalists, e-learning editors or marketing specialists, to name but a few areas.
So what did the students and pupils put on their wish list? Well, number one was to build a more personal relationship between everyone involved right from the start of the project. Ensuring a more organised feedback process was also mentioned several times.
If there is going to be a third round of the project in the winter semester 2017/18, we – as project organisers – would definitely try to arrange a face-to-face kick-off meeting at the school. On that day fixed writer-reader teams could be put together, and their members could then get to know each other on a more personal level. We all agreed that this would definitely increase motivation and mutual commitment, ensure a smoother communication between the partners and consequently make the feedback process more effective.
All photos (including featured image) by BAEL staff and students.