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The University of Bielefeld is currently developing new and more efficient structures for students studying at the university. This concerns largely the conveying of so-called key competences. For the improved support of international students a cooperating network of different institutions and centres has been set up, the core of which is the language learning support programme run by PunktUm.
The cooperation network is made up of different partners within the university (i.e. all different faculties, the Department for German as a Foreign Language, the International Office, the university job centre, the centre for computer facilities, the library and the careers office). It is meant to increase the efficiency of studying and improving graduation results of international students by individual and case-oriented measures throughout their entire studies at the university.
1. Increasing figures of successfully graduating international students and simultaneously decreasing the time spent on studying
2. Institutionalisation of the language support programme through internal qualifying of future German as a Foreign Language teachers (multipliers) at the university
3. Development and testing of the Bielefeld model for language support in order to make it adaptable for other academic institutions in the country
The language support programme offers seminars and workshops developed for the specific academic and linguistic needs of students at different levels within their studies.
The entire language support programme is aligned with the target groups' needs. These so-called modules are geared towards the distinct academic requirements students are confronted with (giving presentations, essay-writing, outline-writing, thesis-writing etc.).
The modules can be individually selected and combined. Academic writing, writing and reworking techniques, structural aspects of academic German, language learning strategies etc. are being introduced and taught using real-life academic examples. Integral part of all modules is the individual feedback given on the academic linguistic performance presented in the course. Content feedback on the academic performance is not given and remains the responsibility of the respective lecturer.
Institutionalisation through multiplication
In parallel to developing concepts and implementing the language support programme two sets of multiplying workshops are being conducted. These are meant to further the claim for institutionalisation of the project's work. Multipliers are familiarised with practical and theoretical aspects of the project's individual counselling activities and all measures of the different modules.
Subsequently, multipliers are gaining practical experience in implementing the language support programme on their own. They are giving workshops on academic writing and are partially involved in individual counselling activities. The multiplication programme is aimed at future graduates of German as a Foreign Language as well as graduates of other linguistic disciplines and subjects. They are required to have gained profound academic competences throughout their studies qualifying them for the support of international students.
While the multipliers' work is beneficial for the language support programme it also is a valuable extra-qualification for the participants. Graduate and PhD students can thus individually benefit from actively participating in the programme. They gain experiences in central aspects of the support of international students and can thus improve their chances on future careers as e.g. teachers in academic contexts or DAAD-Lektoren abroad.
The project is funded by money from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The actual implementation at Bielefeld university is closely coordinated with different institutions, especially the Department for German as a Foreign Language and the International Office.
Academic head of the project is Prof. Dr. Claudia Riemer (German as a Foreign Language)
Project coordinator is Heike Brandl, MA
Organsational head is Dr. Werner Aufderlandwehr (International Office)
Contact person and coordinator here is Lucyna Darowska
Other project staff are to be found under „Mitarbeiter“
Period of funding
The language support programme was externally funded by the DAAD within the „PROFIS“-project (programme for supporting internationalising structures at German academic institutions). The project ran from August 2005 until July 2007.