The Final Countdown
(Image: Pixabay CC0)
The semester is almost over, so everyone’s extremely busy: students are learning for the upcoming exams, and teaching staff like myself are pondering about the most suitable exam questions, helping students find or narrow down their term paper topics during office hours, planning our courses for the next semester and preparing a conference or research meeting here and there.
The students of my Applied Linguistics class, however, have an extra task to finish before the semester break, and so have I as a matter of fact. The blog needs to be finalised before it can be presented to the public on Wednesday, 8 February, following a sneak preview on Tuesday. On the students’ side this means they are currently revising their posts based on the feedback provided by their peers, teachers (i.e. me and my colleague Pawel Sickinger, who taught the other part of the course) and test readers (pupils from a local secondary school). What I still need to do is to have a final look at the posts, remove passwords and test posts and put the finishing touch to the blog layout.
Next week may then be called the ‘week of presentations’: On Tuesday night I’m going to present this blog writing project to other university staff as part of a ceremony during which I will receive the Bonn University’s E-teaching Certificate.
On Wednesday the students and I are going to welcome a group of pupils and their teacher Timo Brede from the Gymnasium zum Altenforst in Troisdorf. This school became a partner school of the Chair for Applied English Linguistics last summer as part of a new outreach initiative.
Over the course of the past months the pupils had repeatedly interacted with my students. For instance, they answered questions about their reading habits and preferences, their interest in language(s) and their ideas about the various blog topics. As mentioned above, they also read a draft version of the posts, discussed them in the context of their English class and provided feedback via an online questionnaire.
The event on Wednesday is a great opportunity to meet each other in person, chat about the blog experience and ask more questions about the individual topics which range from the use of ‘instaslang’ to the language of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. We hope to raise the pupils’ awareness of the relevance and importance of linguistics in their everyday life.
Who knows, maybe one of them will be one of us in a few years’ time?
Only three more days – the final countdown has begun!
(NOTE: If the authors have indicated their real names at the beginning or end of the post, please substitute the pseudonyms accordingly.)