For the tenth time now, the university administration of Paderborn University awarded the Teaching Award for Junior Scientists 2019. The award honors exceptional commitment to teaching as well as counseling and supervising students. The applications for the Teaching Award 2019 demonstrated the enormous commitment of junior scientists and their exceptional achievements in academic teaching. The award commitee, headed by the vice president for academic affairs and quality management, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Schöppner, was pleased about the high-quality applications which made a decision quite difficult. After intense discussions, the commitee decided on honoring a cooperative project of the faculties of mechanical engineering and cultural studies.
Bowen Deng and Dennis Hambach (Design and Drive Technology, mechanical engineering) and Hongyu Zhu (German as a second language/German as a foreign language, cultural studies) received the Teaching Award for Junior Scientists 2019, endowed with 15,000 Euros, for their teaching project “Technical Chinese meets technical German for international students”.
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Paderborn University has been offering “Technical Chinese” to German Master’s students of mechanical engineering and “Technical German for international students” to Chinese mechanical engineering students as part of a cooperation with the Chinese-German Technical Faculty (CDTF) of Qingdao University of Science and Technology (QUST) which has been existing since 2001. With regard to content, both courses are characterized as a technical language by technical terms of engineering and the technical context. In order to incorporate the more passive study habits of students and the desire for a more authentic communication with native speakers into teaching a language, the award winners set up the project “Technical Chinese meets technical German for international students”.
Based on the task-based language learning (TBLL) – a communicative didactic approach creating authentic situations in which students can address their target language individually – predetermined subjects were decided upon and worked on in tandems of German and Chinese students. Considering the heterogenous distribution of the language skills, different speaking assignments had to be created, which were adjusted to the language skills of the participants, but with regard to a future professional activity in a technical field nonetheless placed in an authentic setting.
The awarded teaching project realized this in an outstanding manner. In addition, every participant showed an improvement in language skills and intercultural competencies.
According to the assessment of the award committee, this is a clearly innovative project. Due to the mutual exchange of German and Chinese students, in which both parties benefit in terms of their learning process, it is a significant contribution to improving teaching. The project supplements the classic language courses offered by relating to the technical language, thus providing an important practical addition.
The award committee as well as the executive board “Higher Education Development” congratulate the award winners.