Internship: Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Internship Report 2010 9 Pages

Didactics - English - Pedagogy, Literature Studies


1. Explanation of an observation task

At the beginning of the internship I decided to observe the discourse of classroom processes. Discourse concerns the use of language and is important for teaching English as a foreign language: “discourse as real language use is the target of teaching” (Cameron 2001: 37). It occurs in the classroom, when teacher and learner interact. Therefore I chose discourse as my observation task.

I observed that children use a mixture of the first language and the foreign language if necessary. It is difficult for the children to learn a completely new language and so they often only have a partial understanding of the foreign language. However, this does not stop them from interacting. They seek sense and work out a meaning (Cameron 2001: 38). If children “want to share understanding with other people through the foreign language, they will search their previous language-using experience for ways to act in the foreign language” (Cameron 2001: 39).

I often had the expression that some children did an exercise without understanding the aim but nevertheless they went on doing this exercise: “Generally respecting and wanting to please their teachers, children may continue with activities even if they do not understand” (Cameron 2001: 40). But it is undeniable, that without understanding they cannot be learning. Therefore teachers need to check if the kids understand the language and the purpose of activities (Cameron 2001: 40).

Speaking and listening are much more important in elementary schools than reading and writing. I would say that the reason is, that the pupils in these first years of learning English should get the feeling for this new language. In general one can say that “speaking is much more demanding than listening […]: the language needed at word, sentence and discourse levels must be found and produced” (Cameron 2001: 41). Therefore speaking activities require careful and plentiful support for understanding and production.

During the internship I observed, how the teachers manage classroom processes. It is of importance that the teacher creates an encouraging atmosphere and use supportive teaching strategies to get the learners involved (Legutke, Müller-Hartmann, Schocker-von Ditfurth 2009: 44). Furthermore, the teacher needs to be able to understand the “student´s process of education and learning” (Legutke, Müller-Hartmann, Schocker-von Ditfurth 2009: 44) as well as he/she must value and respect children and hand over responsibility to them (Legutke, Müller-Hartmann, Schocker-von Ditfurth 2009: 45). A research study found that “to be fluent and confident in the language is important so that teachers are able to spontaneously and flexibly react to learner´s contributions” (Legutke, Müller-Hartmann, Schocker-von Ditfurth 2009: 50), so that I additionally paid attention on how the teachers use English.

2. Lessons I observed

First week:

Monday, 21st March 2011:

Year 1/2: The days of the week (Introduction)

Year 1/2: The days of the week (Introduction)

Year 3/4: A letter to the queen (introduction)

Year 3/4: A letter to the queen (introduction)

Thursday, 24th March 2011:

Year 3/4: A letter to the queen (continued)

Year 3/4: A letter to the queen (continued)

Year 1/2: The days of the week(continued)

Year 1/2: The days of the week (continued)

Friday, 25th March 2011:

Year 1/2: The days of the week (continued)

Year 1/2: The days of the week (continued)

Year 3/4: A letter to the queen (continued)

Year 3/4: A letter to the queen(continued)



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University of Wuppertal
internship teaching english foreign language



Title: Internship: Teaching English as a Foreign Language