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Klaus Thiele (PhD, 2013)

Klaus Thiele

Current occupation
Junior teacher at a grammar school in Mannheim and at the teacher seminar in Heidelberg, Germany. Subjects: German and English. I am in the process of studying the didactic of German and English language teaching, as well as pedagogy in general. The other task (remaining 50% of my time) is dedicated to observing lessons, teaching both subjects in all different age groups (10-18 years). Furthermore, senior teachers will observe my lessons and give feedback. From the following school year on, I will teach independently and have to prepare to document and reflect my teaching, as well as face theoretical and practical exams. The qualification will lead to the German equivalent of a PGCE.

Brief outline of PhD research
My PhD project is about "Metaphors in Spoken Academic Discourse in German and English". In both German and English spoken academic discourse, metaphor has a central function of structuring and influencing both our thoughts and actions. This happens in a similar manner to a metaphorical landscape. There, movement is possible into all directions and in all possible types. A research talk is similar to a guided tour, on which hearers are taken on by their speakers. Exploring such metaphorical patterns has implications both for improving intercultural communication in academia as well as for improving teaching inside and outside of academia, e.g. in schools.

Why did you choose to study for your PhD in the School of Languages and Social Sciences?
This school and the whole university, both academic and support staff took care of me in an extremely nice, warm, friendly and efficient manner. Particularly my supervisor Prof Gertrud Reershemius and Dr Stefan Manz, who initiated the contact at Aston University and encouraged me to do my PhD at Aston University. Originally, I wanted to stay for three months to teach German and improve my English. This turned into a total of four years at Aston University and a completed PhD degree.

What did you find most useful about the PhD programme?
The research itself, my supervisor and also the way I was supervised, as well as the opportunity to work on the GeWiss Project for three years.

How has your PhD helped you in your current occupation?
This question cannot be answered yet as I have just started in January. However, I have already found out that the majority of didactic experts at universities and at teacher seminars as well as head teachers have PhD, which gives me hope for future positions in case I cannot return to Aston University after completing my PGCE.