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InfoQuest 2016

Pupils from Dr-Wilhelm-André-Gymnasium Chemnitz were treated to a taste of university life

On Thursday 25 February 2016, forty-seven pupils from Dr-Wilhelm-André-Gymnasium were treated to a taste of university life when they took part in InfoQuest 2016 – an afternoon of informative talks and engaging discussions hosted by the Department of English & American Studies at "Das Altes Heizhaus".

In his keynote address, the Head of Department Professor Josef Schmied decried some common myths about studying English and explained that English Studies is hardly restricted to Shakespeare and the rules of grammar, but rather, encompasses a cornucopia of specialisations within the realms of literary and cultural studies, sociology, linguistics, education and political science. He demonstrated to those present an eye-tracking exercise based on sentences derived from Chinese learner corpora, thus highlighting the diverse directions that English and American Studies has taken in the digital age.

These diverse directions within English Studies were also borne out in the presentations that followed. Dr Stefan Meier, Assistant Professor of American Studies, piqued the pupils’ interest with a presentation on new cinematic adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, whilst Daniel Ziesche explained the pros and cons of a Brexit or Bremain outcome in the referendum that the UK has tabled for 23 June 2016.

Rounding off the pre-break presentations, PD Dr Gunter Süß of Mittweida University of Applied Sciences talked about the exciting opportunities offered by the new Energy Efficiency & Englishes degree which is being conducted in partnership with TU Chemnitz. Launched in October 2015, this interdisciplinary degree hearkens back to the “Chemnitz Model” popular in the 1990s whereby students took elective courses from both the humanities and natural sciences.

The pleasing selection of courses on offer was not lost on those who attended the event. Sylvia Otto, an English language teacher at Dr-Wilhelm-André-Gymnasium who was present at InfoQuest 2016, praised TU Chemnitz’s involvement in community outreach efforts such as InfoQuest. “This afternoon has given our pupils some important insight into what a degree in English Studies might entail,” she said. “It adds a new dimension to these young people’s learning.”

InfoQuest 2016 follows on the heels of a semester of cooperation with the TESOL Section of the Department of English & American Studies. Prue Goredema, the Coordinator of the TESOL Section, explained: “For the MA3 module Classroom Observation & Practical Language Teaching, our students took part in and also evaluated lessons at various institutions, amongst them the Chemnitz Volkshochschule, Foneta Language School and Dr-Wilhelm-André-Gymnasium. The sessions proved to be informative and inspiring, and we are thus pleased at this opportunity to extend our work with the school.”

Many memories were made as the pupils, ranging from Grades 10 to 12, interacted with both undergraduate and postgraduate students of the department. In a mini workshop led by TU4U’s Central Course Guidance Services, the pupils were able to pose their questions on university life directly to those who are enrolled here and enjoying what the Department of English & American Studies and TU Chemnitz in general have to offer.

More information on our TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) can be found here: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/phil/english/sections/tesol/

(Author: Prue Goredema)

Mario Steinebach

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