The following workshops will all take place simultaneously between 14:45 and 16:00 on the day of the conference:


by Susanne Quandt Using logbooks and developing criteria for feedback and assessment

In this workshop I will focus on language learners aged 12 to 16 in German public schools and address the often observed challenges around students’ learner motivation and willingness to reflect on their learning processes. Specifically, it is a teacher's aim to engage learners in activities which demand giving and receiving peer feedback in the target language. In order to create a supportive learning environment, I developed feedback criteria and portfolio descriptors together with the students which were then used in their learning materials. These descriptors help students to evaluate their individual learning and feel more confident in planning their future learning. They also serve as transparent guidelines in assessment.

by Birgitta Berger, Leni Dam and Timothy Phillips Types of materials in an autonomous language learning environment - input and discussion

Based on short inputs, the aim of this workshop is to set up criteria for useful materials in an autonomous language learning environment. What kind of published materials can be used? Where and how do learner-produced materials come in? What kinds of reference books are needed? Together participants in the workshop will produce 'shopping-lists' for materials - ready to make use of when back home.

by Diana Dimitrov The role of the language guide in an autonomous Montessori classroom setting

There has been a long discussion about how to integrate foreign language learning into a Montessori setting. The philosophic attitude of Montessori to let build up the psyche of a child by creating the appropriate environment did not include ideas about a multilingual environment in its original concept.   

Just some decades ago that would not be considered a bigger problem but globalization and the huge changes in medial communication have changed this issue enormously. Thus Montessori institutions in Europe face the demand by the European Council that everyone leaving school should be able to communicate at least in two foreign languages and that every student –   even the less talented ones - should leave school with a certain standard of English. The question that has risen for Montessori guides is: how can those external demands be matched with the situation that many children did not have had the chance to acquire two foreign languages during their sensitive period which is - according to Montessori principles - at the plane of development of 0-6 years. Many children are not growing up in a multilingual environment and consequently entering school without that presupposition.  Thus a language guide has to take these external requirements, personal interests of the children and their different presuppositions in foreign language learning into account when entering a Montessori school setting. This setting might include English speaking children, handicapped children, children with learning difficulties or other special needs.

Such a setting demands high flexibility, diagnostic abilities, knowledge about cognitive development and psycho-socio-linguistic competence from the language guide. He/ she has to be able to provide challenging, meaningful, authentic input, design individual language activities and give effective, direct instruction when needed. In his/her overall personality he/she should be creative, enthusiastic, fair, flexible, energetic, motivating, positive, encouraging, respectful and humorous. He/she needs to have strong leadership skills, natural organizational ability, effective communication and interaction skills, high emotional intelligence and strong speaking and listening skills in the target language. The workshop will give insights how to acquire some of those abilities in order to master the role of a language guide in a Montessori setting and how the autonomous approach supports this endeavor.

by Sabine Kreutzer It is no longer school, it is life: language learning at a German Dalton school

Language learning is a personal process: one acquires a language, a different view of the world and enhances one's personal and cross-cultural skills. In this process, language learning skills like speaking, listening, writing are as relevant and the skills to do research, use media and viewing skills. These skills are absolutely necessary to live in the globalized world of the 21st century and communicate competently in an international environment. To be able to constantly adapt to a changing modern world, education must lay the groundwork for lifelong learning.

Thus we must put aside the idea of teacher-focused learning, of a learning strategy that is laid out by the teacher for individual learners: the child who never learnt to structure their learning process will not be able to do just that as an adult.

We have found a structural solution for this in innovative pedagogical works of the last century and employed the Dalton plan developed by Helen Parkhurst in the US. 1/3 of the lesson time allotted to each subject is taught in Dalton lessons: students find specific the Dalton plan, but they can choose their teachers, their peer group and the time and place to work on each subject. The learners are trained to learn autonomously from the beginning - when they start at our school at the age of ten. We have found that most German primary schools work along the same lines and students find it easy to adapt.

The key to learning in such a setting is the task given in the Dalton plan. These tasks must be clear, structured, accessible (i.e. through reading, watching, listening), they must be interesting and give students room to use their creativity - and last not but least children should improve their language skills while doing them. Students that are used to work like that need different lesson formats, too: they will want to make their own decisions about their language learning here, too.

In our talk and discussion, we will focus the tasks that enable students to structure and reflect their language learning - to make them lifelong, autonomous learners, each according to their abilities.

moderated by Annika Albrecht and Carmen Becker Symposium

The following talks are part of of a Symposium:


- Tajan Abdulla: 

"Creating an Imaginary World - Using Drama in the EFL Makerspace Classroom"

Living in an era in which technology redefines itself in ever-shorter intervals, students spend a vast amount of their spare time consuming media. This leads in turn to a great extent of disinterest in the current passive learning culture at schools. Makerspaces have recently been discussed as a learning environment in which 21st century skills, such as media literacy, creativity, communication and collaboration, can be acquired in autonomous making and tinkering processes. The educational focus nowadays is particularly on the design and development of a student-centered learning framework in which consuming as well as creating plays a significant role. Simultaneously, drama-based foreign language learning has proven to be a promising method for learning and experiencing languages holistically. The experimental play disposition of theatrical activities facilitates the use of language as a creative medium of self-expression in authentic contexts and, additionally, promotes self-esteem, collaboration as well as empathy. Students should be provided with a tool and purpose to learn and experience, enabling them to undergo a transition from recipients to makers through exploration, engagement and creation. In this paper, I suggest a performative makerspace approach for the EFL classroom. Based on previous research, a theoretical hybrid model is developed and implemented in a 9th grade project. Here, students are involved in the production of their own videos on imaginary worlds by exploring, taking ownership of the topic, writing their own scripts and autonomously working with green screens. Further, empirical data is collected on students’ and teacher’s perspectives on language learning under given conditions. Moreover, the videos are evaluated using established criteria. Finally, the collected data is analyzed and reflected on in consideration of the feasibility of the performative makerspace for the EFL classroom.


- Anna Grabber:

Supporting Autonomy in the Foreign Language Classroom: Letting Students Go

In foreign language pedagogy, autonomous language learning can be achieved through different teaching models like task-, project-, or content-based learning. From the students´ perspective, they focus on how to change the way they learn and their role in learning processes. However, autonomous learning is not merely done by applying these models, but goes further by also changing the role of the teacher. Supporting students´ autonomy goes along with letting students go and giving up having sole control over the classroom.

This talk presents empirical data from a project based on the Learning by Design (LBD) model from the Multiliteracies theory by the New London Group. In order to implement the general LBD model into the FLC, it is related to principles of task-, project- and content-based learning. In the project, 7th class students analyzed the design of audio-visual paper airplane tutorials and designed (filmed and edited) a paper airplane tutorial themselves. The data is derived from a triangulation of student interviews, field notes and the students´ products. It displays how "letting students go" effects students´ learning with regard to empowering them to experience autonomous language learning, to create individual products and to successfully and purposefully use the English language.

Moreover, the talk addresses possible difficulties that come along with the process of "letting go" and "being let go" from both the students´ and the teacher´s perspective. Therefore, questions for further research towards supporting autonomous language learning through “letting students go” in the FLC are introduced.


- Katharina Lisa Glaser

Promoting autonomous language learning through project-based learning in the EFL classroom

In English Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms, project-based learning (PBL) is a powerful tool to increase students’ motivation, encourage autonomous and self-regulated language learning offering room for the development of 21st century skills (Larmer & Mergendoller, 2015: 2). However, concrete suggestions for the implementation of PBL in the EFL classroom are lacking.

The Happiness-Project, a PBL unit, was developed in order to investigate how PBL can be effectively integrated into the current educational system to empower students to learn autonomously and to take ownership for their individual language learning process without neglecting Core Curricular Standards. In this project, conducted in a 6th grade English class at a German grammar school in February 2017, students addressed the question “What makes me happy” in a creative way structuring their learning process within a scaffolding framework and a time frame of two 90min lessons. They were allowed to use tablets and other material in order to visualize their answers and to create a tangible product which they had to present at the end of the unit.

In this conference, I will demonstrate how a PBL unit can be implemented against the background of curricular standards and illustrate highlights, challenges (language, technical equipment, group work etc.) and aspects of newly acquired knowledge regarding students’ learning process. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative learner data from interviews and questionnaires, it will be illustrated that PBL, within the framework of the project, provides opportunities for both autonomous and self-regulated language learning. Furthermore, it will be shown that students were able to gain new skills, not only in terms of language competencies, but also in terms of problem-solving strategies, time and self-management, and collaboration skills.