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Teaching award for young researchers 2019 for young research team of the University of Paderborn

For the tenth time, the University of Paderborn's Executive Board awarded the Teaching Award for Young Academics in 2019. The award honors outstanding commitment in teaching as well as in advising and supporting students. The applications for the Teaching Award 2019 also showed the enormous commitment of young academics and their outstanding achievements in university teaching. The Teaching Award Commission, chaired by the Vice President for Studies, Teaching and Quality Management, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Schöppner, was delighted with the high-quality applications, which made the selection difficult. After intensive discussion, it decided to award the prize to a cooperation project between the Faculties of Mechanical Engineering and Cultural Studies.

Bowen Deng and Dennis Hambach (Construction and Drive Technology, Mechanical Engineering) and Hongyu Zhu (German as a Second Language/German as a Foreign Language, Cultural Studies) will receive the Teaching Award for Young Academics 2019, endowed with 15,000 euros, for their teaching project "Subject-specific Chinese meets technical German for foreign students".

The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Paderborn offers both German students of the Master's degree programme in Mechanical Engineering "Fachspezifisches Chinesisch" and Chinese students of Mechanical Engineering "Technisches Deutsch für ausländische Studierende" in a cooperation with the Chinese-German Faculty of Technology (CDTF) of the Qingdao University of Science and Technology (QUST), which has been in existence since 2001. What both courses have in common is that their content is characterized by the technical terms of engineering and the technical reference as a technical language. In order to integrate the rather passive learning habits of the students and the desire for more authentic communication with native speakers into the language teaching, the project "Fachspezifisches Chinesisch trifft Technisches Deutsch für ausländische Studierende" (Subject-specific Chinese meets technical German for foreign students) was set up by prize winners.

On the basis of Task-based Language Learning (TBLL) - a communicative didactic approach that creates authentic situations in which learners can deal individually with their target language - pre-selected topics were defined and worked on in tandem by German and Chinese students. Taking into account the heterogeneous distribution of the language level of the two target groups, different speaking assignments had to be created which are adapted to the language level of the participants* but which are nevertheless placed in an authentic setting with regard to a later professional activity in the technical field.

This could be realised in an outstanding way in the awarded teaching project. In addition, an increase in the linguistic achievements and intercultural skills of all participating students was evident.

In the opinion of the Teaching Award Commission, the project is clearly innovative in character and makes a significant contribution to improving teaching through the mutual exchange of German and Chinese students, from which both sides benefit in terms of their learning progress. The project adds a reference to technical language to the range of classic language courses and thus makes an important practical addition.   

The Teaching Award Commission and the Staff Unit for Educational Innovation and University Didactics congratulate the prize winners*.

The University for the Information Society