The University of Chester and the PH Wien have a long and established partnership standing out for its excellent common international projects. This exceptional cooperation began with the common project “Teachers’ Intercultural Awareness and Competence” (2011-2014) and is now continued with our new project “Inside-out – Outside-in”.
Chester University was founded in 1839 and has until recently been part of the University of Liverpool. In 2005, after the university had become independent it was allowed to offer Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees. Nowadays, the University of Chester consists of numerous faculties such as the Faculty of Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Health and Social Care, the Faculty of Education etc.
As the coordinator of training programmes for English teachers of PH Wien, I invited Dr Allan Owens, professor of drama at Chester University to hold the training seminar “A seriously playful approach to language teaching” at our institution. I already participated in two Teaching Staff Exchanges with Chester University, once in September 2014 and once this year. My teaching assignment consisted of holding postgraduate seminars for graduates already in their first year of teaching who attend cross-lingual and didactic seminars part-time. I led a panel session with six German graduates about the current refugee issues. Thereby, I observed that the graduates speak German at a very high level; four of the students spent longer periods in Germany.
I held my workshop “Creative Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching” in the instruction languages of the graduates (French, German, and Spanish). Many of my methods originate from drama education and require a high degree of participation. The young teachers were exceedingly active, engaged and enthusiastic which led me to believe that they would put these ideas and activities into practice in their own classrooms. I personally found my time at Chester University – not least because of the active participation of the British teachers – highly motivating and inspiring. Furthermore, it confirmed my belief that teaching should be vivid, active and free from fear.