Category Archives: English as a Foreign Language

Science and Technology_discussion impulses via YouTube videos

The following three videos can be used as impulses discussing possible effects of technology/robotics on society.

The students might prepare this at home or in class in different groups. They present it to each other and discuss possible effects.

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Guide to how to write a for and against essay

A very recommendable text and video for students about how to write a for and against essay.

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A conference-simulated film project on “Multiculturalism in Great Britain”

A common task in the final exams is to compare the given text/character/conflict with another literary figure/conflict etc. students are familiar with.

In order to refer to a wide range of literary examples my English advanced course was supposed to analyse a selected film and prepare a short presentation including:

  • a short summary of the plot
  • presentation of the topic in relation to “Multiculturalism in Great Britain“
  • selection and analysis of one film scene/sequence that highlights the problematic situation
  • brief comparison with reality


Lesson 1:
a) Introduction of the concept of multiculturalism in Great Britain on the basis of a factual text and David Cameron´s speech on the failure of multiculturalism in GB

b) Collection of factors that contributed to the alleged failure of multiculturalism in GB as presented in the text and the video.
c) presentation of film project; watching the trailers of the following films:

My Son the Fanatic
Brick Lane
East is East
It´s a free world

group formation (4-5 students) on the basis of film choice; presentation of requirements (see above)
I have also added some further material to each film especially to support the last task “reference/comparison to reality”

Homework: each students had to watch the movie (I provided one copy and they were supposed to organize the sharing)

Lesson 2 and 3 : preparation

Lesson 4: presentations
The lesson is divided into 2 sessions with two parallel presentations. So each group has to choose 2 students giving the presentation and the other two are attending the other, parallel presentation. Each students is provided with a document in order to take notes. After 20 minutes, there is a break of 10 minutes followed by the second session.

Afterwards, all groups come together and exchange their notes, impressions and information, so that in the end each student has an overview of 4 films with different perspectives on the topic “Multiculturalism in Great Britain”.

Since the year 13 is about to do their final exams, they attend the different presentations as a revision for their exams. The reaction of my students changed from being fearful and not very amused to “okay, let´s do it” creating a highly motivated working atmosphere.

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Working with series in EFL classroom_The Big Bang Theory

One of my EFL classroom topics is Science and Technology focusing on relation between humans and robots.

Watching The Big Bang Theory the other day and the episode in which Raj develops a relationship with his new IPhone and Siri, I chose this a short sequence of this episode as an introduction.

My students watched the sequence without further explanation and were asked to express what they have observed and how this can be related to our overall topic “Robotics”. The answers were quite ample and leading directly to a couple of aspects regarding humans and their relation with robots/technology.

After the introduction students were then asked to compare their initial ideas with Asimov´s Three Laws of a Robotics and discuss them.

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Arbeiten mit Readern in der Oberstufe

Seit einiger Zeit arbeitet unser Fachbereich Englisch mit sog. Readern für die Oberstufe.


Lehrerteams setzen sich am Anfang des Semesters zusammen und erstellen gemeinsam einen Reader, d.h. Zusammenstellung von Texten für das gesamte Semester. Das nimmt einmal etwas Zeit in Anspruch, ist aber für den Austausch von Ideen und Methoden etc. super.

Der Reader wird für den Kurs kopiert und an die Schüler verteilt. Dieser ist Grundlage des Unterrichts und muss immer mitgeführt werden. Wir haben unseren Reader dahingehend erweitert, dass wir ebenfalls Methodenblätter und Vokabellisten etc. mit beifügen.

– Austausch von Ideen, Materialien mit Kollegen
– Fokussierung und zeitökonomisches Arbeiten: man legt fest, welche Themen behandelt werden und muss nicht im laufenden Schuljahr nach Material suchen und läuft nicht Gefahr in einer Materialflut zu versinken
– eigenverantwortliches Arbeiten: Schüler sind verantwortlich für das Material, Annäherung an späteres Arbeiten im Studium
– bei Unterrichtsausfall kann direkt auf bestimmte Seiten hingewiesen werden, die bearbeitet werden sollen
– Schüler haben pro Semester alle Materialien komplett was die Vorbereitung für das Abitur vereinfacht

Fazit: Am Anfang des Semesters 2 Tage viel Arbeit zur Erstellung und Kopieren der Reader, aber immense Arbeitserleichterung während des Semesters, da kein ständiges Kopieren notwendig ist. Außerdem entgeht man der Diskussion mit Schülern, die krank sind und nicht vorbereitet sind, da sie nicht anwesend waren 😉

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Argumente finden, formulieren und organisieren

In meinem Leistungskurs Englisch 12. Klasse haben meine Schüler häufig Schwierigkeiten gezeigt, Argumente so aufzubereiten, dass sie wertfrei mit einem Gegenargument in einer discussion eingebaut werden. Argumente werden häufig zu allgemein formuliert und das entsprechende Gegenargument bezieht sich nicht immer direkt auf vorangehende Argument.

In einem Unterrichtsblock haben wir demzufolge in Anlehnung an unser Thema “The European refugee crisis” zunächst (1) Argumente der sogenannten “besorgten Bürger” gesammelt und Schüler haben diese in der Ich-Form formuliert. (2) Danach haben die Schüler in arbeitsteiliger Gruppenarbeit Gegenargumente aus einem Artikel und einem Youtube Video herausgearbeitet. (3) Anschließend haben die Schüler in Partnerarbeit ein Argument der besorgten Bürger zunächst so umformuliert, dass es wertfrei ist und haben dazu ein Gegenargument formuliert.

Fazit: Diese kleinschrittige Vorgehensweise zeigte zunächst genau die Schwierigkeit auf, denen Schüler sich häufig ausgesetzt sehen: die Umformulierung der Ich-Aussagen zu wertfreien Argumenten fiel einigen Schülern zunächst sehr schwer. Bei der anschließenden Präsentation stellte sich dann noch heraus, dass zu einigen Argumenten mehrere Gegenargumente möglich wären, so dass man daraus ebenfalls ableiten konnte, dass dies ein starkes Argument sein kann. Abschließend sollten die SuS dann eine discussion schreiben unter Bezugnahme der erarbeiteten Argumente.

Link zum Artikel:

Link zum Video:

Beispiel: IMG_8562


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very interesting website explaining the procedure of legal and illegal migration

This website is highly interesting for students to understand the procedure of legal and illegal migration by being forced to make decisions from the perspective of a refugee.

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Working as a voluntary_a report

One of my student´s sister has described her experiences as a voluntary for the association Soup & Socks e.V. and it is definitely worth a read:

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How a graphic novel lets students talk..

Migration/Immigration is one of the main topics in our English curriculum in year 12 and it offers manifold options in the EFL classroom to engage students actively and especially to promote speaking skills by means of various forms of discussions.

While looking for discussion scenarios I came across an article published in the FSU English 110 “Migration” ( offering a lesson plan for a speaking activity based on the graphic novel “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan

I chose two extracts from the novel ( each two pages with 8-12 little pictures) and divided the class in two groups preparing a 3-minute-presentation. Since the setting of the novel is imaginary, it can be approached in manifold ways. Students were then asked to form new groups presenting their previous results to their new partners. Finally, they collected reasons for emigration/immigration (push-and-pull-factors).

Graphic novel_The Arrival_push and pull factors

The lesson turned out to be highly active and students responded very positively to this quite different form of presentation. Subsequent tasks are now that some students want to narrate the stories or/and to write speech bubbles for each picture.

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Boost your students’ motivation with native speakers’ commentaries… “a Texan in my classroom” 

Increasing oral participation in the EFL classroom is one the toughest challenges we teachers have to face. However, we already know that motivation is one of the key factors to enhance interaction. So we keep looking for material that motivates our students to talk about it and this might take hours of research. 

But sometimes we miss the wood for the trees…Which brings me to the topic of this post. My students and I talked about the American school system and there were so many questions I didn’t have answers to, which was really annoying and unsatisfying. And later  when searching for texts that might have the answers, I was even less satisfied with what I found. Then I thought that only an American could actually tell my students about it, so I asked my good friend from Texas to answer a few questions and send it to me as a video. 

The students’ responses were amazing. Not only were their proud and excited about the fact that he answered their questions, but also did they immediately respond and react to his statements since they had already contemplated about those aspects  when formulating the questions and could then further converse about and discuss them.


Again I was taught by my students that  actually listening to their questions and involving them already in the process of planning the lessons is the best way to meet their needs and interests. And if you have a good friend from Texas, good and authentic material is easily created. 

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