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Prof. Dr. Marita Schocker: "Research on Language Learning and Teaching: What We Have and What We Need" - December 12, 2011


1. Prof. Dr. Marita Schocker

Prof. Dr. Marita Schocker works as a professor in the area of Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching at the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg (Pedagogical University Freiburg). Her research focus lies, among other things, on Researching Tasks in EFL Learning, developing tasks for English at secondary level I and Action Research in Teacher Education (Secondary EFL). Further information about Prof. Dr. Marita Schocker can be found here on the institutes website.

2. Abstract of the Lecture

“Research is not an end in itself. However much researchers may enjoy doing it. (..R)esearch needs purposes beyond itself” (Allwright / Hanks 2009: 107).

My talk will focus on the question of what qualifies as appropriate research in the field of foreign language teaching and learning. To do so, I will first present research on what English language teachers consider to be ‘definitely research’ (including University of Augsburg student teachers’ perspectives). This will be followed by a survey on the research that we have in our field. It may be broadly categorized in Academic Language Acquisition Research and Practitioner Classroom Research. I will argue for a conception of research that aligns the concerns of both ‘research’ and ‘practice’ through an approach of classroom action research in teacher-researcher partnerships. Benefits for teachers and researchers may be reconciled as this approach encourages the development of teachers’ competences and at the same time allows researchers to identify the emerging issues, results and experiences which may be generalised for use in other foreign language teaching contexts. This approach will be illustrated by discussing research questions, procedures and findings from a national classroom-based research programme that has explored the potential of learning tasks. It has been commissioned to me and a colleague from the University of Education in Heidelberg by the National Institute for Developing Quality in Education (IQB), Humboldt University Berlin. We have carried it out in collaboration with practising EFL secondary school teachers at Gymnasium, Haupt-, Real- and Gesamtschulen and their learners from all over Germany for three years.

3. Pictures