Fostering skills development is one of the tenets of education. For a long time, the traditional binary teacher-student interaction was used as the sole approach to teaching and learning but it is now overwhelmingly regarded as insufficient. The present paper reports on an initiative based on the principles of peer learning. The discussion groups and one-to-one sessions in languages, facilitated by native speakers (NS) who are international students in the institution, were set-up to enable language learners to develop their oral skills. While the advantages of the activity for language learners are clear, it is not as easy to determine the benefits for the NS peer-facilitators. The study presents findings from questionnaires and interviews conducted with some of these NS peer-facilitators and discuss the reported impact of the initiative on these students. While personal growth and development of intercultural awareness feature strongly in the data analysis, an enhanced language learning experience and an influential factor in some participants’ educational and career paths are also revealed. These findings are explained with reference to relevant developments in the study abroad, volunteering and peer learning literature. We will conclude that the initiative is a positive tool for international students’ integration into the host institution and offers a novel way for them to socialise and engage in their new learning environment.
This contribution reports on the use of genre-based instruction in developing students’ job search pitch skills in a Business English course taught at the tertiary level. The job search pitch (also referred to as personal branding pitch) is viewed as a subgenre of an elevator pitch; it is regarded as an essential communication tool to be mastered and used by students in future job search situations. Drawing on the available literature as well as the author’s own research and experience, the report demonstrates how the generic structure and rhetorical devices contributing to the realisation of the communicative function of job search pitch are incorporated in the job search module of an undergraduate Business English course taught at the University of Economics in Katowice. It also provides a brief account of students’ reflections and observations related to the usefulness of job search pitch skills and the challenges involved in their development.
Schulpflichtige Sprachanfänger/innen des Deutschen werden in Berlin in sogenannten Willkommensklassen unterrichtet. Trotz langjähriger Erfahrung mit dieser Beschulungsform fehlen konkrete Vorgaben und Konzepte für eine erfolgreiche Integration von Schüler/innen und Lehrkräften. Die im Beitrag vorgestellte Online-Befragung von 315 Berliner Willkommensklassenlehrkräften aller Schulformen bestätigt diese Auffassung in Teilen und bietet einen differenzierten Einblick zu Bedarfen und Mängeln.