our words make worlds

Classroom Acts: Performativity, Identity and the Emergence of New Communities in German Language Teaching

This one-day symposium, organized by Natalie Diebschlag and Daniela Dora, is primarily aimed at teachers of German as a Foreign Language in Higher Education and lecturers in German Studies or Theatre Studies. We also invite submissions from researchers and teachers specialising in related fields, provided the topic is transferable to German language teaching and/or German Studies.

The symposium highlights the strong links between theatre and the formation of new collective identities as well as between theatre and foreign language learning in their communicative, pragmatic and affective dimensions. It is structured around workshops focusing on the deployment of theatre strategies and performative practices in GFL teaching in Higher Education. In addition, we invite delegates to present their research on and experiences with hands-on performative teaching techniques and their pedagogical, cognitive and psychological benefits in foreign language teaching. In line with numerous interpretations and political implications of the concepts of performance, performativity and non-imitative mimesis, we believe that the introduction of theatre techniques makes foreign language learning and teaching a communal project. As such, it puts to work teachers' and students' various differences of culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and identities, abilities and disabilities. 

Confirmed guest speakers and workshop leaders include Prof Catherine Boyle (King’s College London), Prof Manfred Schewe (University College Cork) and Prof Anne Steiner (Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg). The symposium organisers collaborate with the SCENARIO forum and plan a publication of selected papers in a special edition of the bilingual (English-German) online journal SCENARIO. 

The symposium language will be English. Practical and theoretical angles are equally welcome. 

Provisional Programme:

9:30-10:00: Arrival/Registration

10:00-11:00: Roundtable discussion with Prof Catherine Boyle (King's College London), Prof Manfred Schewe (University College Cork), Prof Anne Steiner 

11:15-12:30: Panel 1 – Performance and Cultural identities 

  • Maria Khan (University of Cambridge): “Performing Goethe’s Faust with Turkish-German Secondary school students in Berlin”
  • Lucy Jenkins (University of Cardiff): “Creativity, Global Identity and Mentoring for International Languages”
  • Birte Brudermann (Artist): “Show and Tell: “Who Is Cihan? - Approaches to Identities and Biographies through Performance”

12:30-13:30: Lunch

13:30-14:45: Panel 2 -- Performance in Foreign Language Teaching: Practical Approaches 

  • Ulrike Pavelka (FH Wiener Neustadt / University of Applied Sciences): “Role-play and improvisation in “Business English” for Robotics”
  • Helen Mayer and Ines Alonso-Garcia (London School of Economics and Political Sciences): “Beyond Language Learning: Interacting Through Improvisation in the Classroom”
  • Angelique Arts (King’s College London): “Puppets in the Classroom”

14:45-15:00: Break

15:00-16:00: Workshop 1 by Anne Steiner

16:00-16:30: Coffee break

16:30-17:30: Workshop 2 by Manfred Schewe

17:30-18:30: Closing remarks and wine reception

To download the provisional programme as a word doc, please click here.

This event is free to attend but registration is essential. For further information and to register, please see the conference webpage.

This symposium is supported by the King's College London Modern Language Centre and the Language Acts and Worldmaking Small Grants scheme.