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Elisabeth Wielander (PhD, 2016)

Elisabeth Wielander

Current occupation
Teaching Associate in German, Aston University

Brief outline of PhD research
In my thesis, I investigated Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in German undergraduate programmes in the UK. At its core is a mixed-method case study of instructors’ and students’ beliefs about, attitudes towards and experience of this approach at one English university, embedded in the wider macro-context of UK Higher Education which is affected by outside forces - political, economic, socio-cultural - in more or less obvious ways. 

Why did you choose to study for your PhD in the School of Languages and Social Sciences?
When I joined Aston, I quickly learned that the department’s approach to MFL teaching is different from other universities, where most, if not all, thematic teaching and assessment is carried out in English rather than in the target language, and that there was very little research available on this specific topic, so I felt that I would be able to fill a gap. Also, there was a lot of very enthusiastic nagging from colleagues :-)

What did you find most useful about the PhD programme?
I have an incredibly supportive supervisor, Prof Gertrud Reershemius, who was always available and whose helpful advice helped steer me in the right direction. I also enjoyed being part of a vibrant research community, with various opportunities to present my research.

How has your PhD helped you in your current occupation?
It allowed me to take a step back and gain an outside perspective of my and my colleagues’ teaching practice. It was an opportunity to gather views from students and staff which are informing developments in our academic department, where I am responsible for Learning &Teaching.