IBIS - Initiative for Bilingual Studies
Initiative for Bilingual Studies
IBIS is a joint project in which the English Department and Department of History cooperate. It aims at connecting the University of Cologne with secondary schools to improve bilingual teacher-training. In addition, the project team conducts SOPA tests and develops teaching materials for the bilingual history classroom.
At present, a great discrepancy exists between a growing demand for bilingual education in German secondary schools and the number of teachers who are adequately trained to meet this demand. Curricula and degrees are rarely available and neither are contacts for teacher trainees with everyday school life. To address this problem, the Initiative for Bilingual Studies (IBIS) in 2005 was established through interdisciplinary cooperative venture (by Christiane M. Bongartz (English Linguistics, University of Cologne) and Myrle Dziak-Mahler (StR’ i.H., University of Cologne, History Department, didactics) .
The primary purpose of IBIS is to build up networks between the University and different bilingual secondary schools to improve university teaching and to advance the teacher trainees’ linguistic competence. The project therefore aims to develop and organize a course of study which determines and addresses the scientific and linguistic challenges of a globalized society and its communication and integration requirements. This joint project of two departments (English Department / History Department) strives to understand, describe and practise intercultural learning in teaching and research fields within the context of a common European identity.
IBIS promotes the professionalization of English, the lingua franca of our times. On the one hand, we encourage the education of English language practitioners – both students in teacher-training as well as BA- and MA students. On the other hand, we conduct psychological fundamental research on multilingualism as well as determining the indicators and parameters for empirical ascertainment which are essential in order to develop competences in this field.
IBIS advances the intercultural competence of all parties involved: The close link to the learner’s own culture and cultural identity is a benefit of bilingual education. The implementation of bilingual education into the subject of history facilitates the development of an identity apart from one’s own nationality. In comparing the foreign view to the individual perspective, the learner can better come to terms with a foreign culture, while differences as well as interrelations become apparent. Thus, the students learn to act appropriately in a multicultural environment which in turn strengthens their own personal cultural identity.
History Happens, the current main project of the Initiative for Bilingual Studies (funded within the program Denkwerk (Robert Bosch Foundation)), focuses on networking and cooperation between the University of Cologne and secondary schools. In close collaboration with different bilingual schools IBIS gives teachers, trainee teachers, and secondary school students the chance to attend IBIS-seminars and workshops.
Through this cooperation the initiative tries to meet several needs. First of all, it aims at yielding highly competent language practitioners through advanced training. It also grants university students insight into the development of bilingual teaching materials, which in turn are tested and evaluated by secondary school students and teachers. This evaluation process ensures that the materials are student oriented and applicable to everyday instruction. In addition, the IBIS conducts SOPA-tests (Student Oral Proficiency Assessment) in its project schools to empirically assess the students’ language development (for further information on SOPA see section 2.2).
University of Cologne
IBIS - Initiative for Bilingual Studies
Englisches Seminar I / Historisches Seminar I
awarded with the European
Language Award 2007
funded by Denkwerk /
» Denkwerk / Robert-Bosch-Stiftung
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