University of Klagenfurt: BEd/BA & MEd/MA programmes

Language I

This course aims at the development of general proficiency in English in the areas of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. By giving topic-related presentations, engaging in short activities and a considerable amount of self-study, students broaden their range of vocabulary and deepen their knowledge of English grammar.

Language II and translation

This is a follow-up course of Language 1. Students continue to broaden their range of vocabulary and deepen their knowledge of English grammar. They give presentations on topics based on individual vocabulary units, which are followed by a short activity to enhance the learning process. Furthermore, students study a number of grammar and vocabulary units in their free time and complete three written exams during the semester.

Writing I: Essential writing skills

This course is an introduction to academic writing. Students learn how to tackle a topic, explore what an academic paragraph is, and what different types of academic writing there are. They strengthen their writing skills in English and establish some self-confidence as academic writers. In small teams they give and receive constructive feedback in order to improve their language skills. Additionally, they broaden their vocabulary in written English and improve their knowledge about English grammar. In the class sessions, they complete tasks individually, in pairs, and in small groups. They get feedback from peers and the teacher on their written works and their use of English. As part of this course, students are expected to do some independent reading, research, and writing in their free time and to collect all written works, feedback, and corrections in a writing portfolio.

Writing II: Introduction to academic research and presentation

Having studied the ground-rules of academic writing, specifically paragraph writing, in ‘Writing 1’, students now move on to composing essays. They practice a number of different pre-writing and writing techniques and learn how to structure an essay appropriately. They compose outlines of essays, compare and contrast contents, and discuss problems and solutions in class. In this course, the coherence and cohesion of academic texts play a central role, and students learn to pay attention to the style and format of their written work, which they collect in a writing portfolio.

Advanced writing and translating

This course is aimed at students who have already got a broad knowledge of and a certain amount of experience in academic writing. In ‘Advanced Writing and Translating’ they revise and enhance their knowledge about academic writing and research. They complete a number of tasks individually and in pairs, in class and in their free time, and give and receive constructive feedback on each other’s work.

Reading I: Strategies and skills

In this course, students are introduced to different types of reading. They learn about and apply reading strategies, which make them more proficient readers. They read three novels, which they can choose from the teacher’s list. They keep a reading diary, complete reading comprehension tasks in class, practice reading out aloud, and take part in group discussions and peer-evaluation. Besides presenting one of the books in a small team, they also present one book of their own choice together with a partner. Students give and receive feedback on their contributions throughout the semester and take two reading exams in this course.

Reading II and summary writing

Students read texts of different types such as magazine articles and short stories. Furthermore, they choose three books from the teacher’s list and complete an assignment based on them. In addition, students do further reading comprehension tasks, practice reading out aloud, and take part in group discussions. Finally, they take the teacher’s perspective and modify reading comprehension tasks according to students’ needs and other parameters.

Integrated language skills

Based on everyday topics, this course offers a wide range of activities aiming at improving students’ general command of English. They develop the language and skills needed in an English environment. As well as providing thorough practice in reading, writing, listening and speaking, the course focuses on grammar, vocabulary, and word building. Students complete a number of tasks individually and in pairs, in class and in their free time. The final assignment shows their ability to use their language skills competently and efficiently. Students fulfil weekly self-assignment tasks and take two exams.

University of Maastricht: BA in European Studies 

English language skills training 1A.2: Research and writing

Course design: Carmen Amerstorfer, Isabel de Sousa, and Vera Zegers (with support from Bob Wilkinson)

The aim of the skills training is to check students’ writing skills in English and give feedback that they can use to improve their language, to check whether improvements are achieved, and to enhance their range of academic vocabulary. The language support takes the form of four tutorial sessions, in which students receive grammatical devices and linguistic techniques for writing an effective academic paper in English. This helps them to develop the ability to present research done by others in a well-structured, consistent, and persuasive way. Furthermore, students critically analyse their papers from previous years as well as a draft version of their peers’ papers. Just as this analysis, also the tutors‘ feedback will focus entirely on language aspects. The students should use the peer and tutor feedback to review their papers before the final submission.

An important part of learning to write in an academic context is learning to write with colleagues. In this case, this does not mean writing academic essays together, but rather learning to critically examine both their own work and the work produced by fellow students. In addition to language awareness tasks, one tutorial focuses extensively on this critical examination through working in small teams, together with the tutor.

The five principal objectives of the course are:

  • clear writing (logical structure of an argument, clear sentence structure, coherence);
  • language accuracy (grammatical accuracy, especially concerning the main problem areas: tenses, adjective/adverb, conditional sentences);
  • mechanics (spelling, punctuation);
  • vocabulary building; and
  • giving and receiving peer and tutor feedback.
English language skills training 1B: Bloody diversity

Course design: Carmen M. Amerstorfer, Graeme Campbell, Keith A. Campbell (with support from Vera Zegers)

The English Language Skills Training in block 1B builds on what students learned in block 1A.2. Therefore, the aims of the course are to further develop writing skills in English, to broaden students’ range of academic vocabulary and general terminology, and to improve specific areas of grammar that seem to represent problems for first year European Studies students. In addition to that, students experience the process of writing more intensively than in the previous block, as well as discovering and developing their presentation skills in an academic environment.

The language support takes the form of five tutorial sessions, in which students work individually, as well as together in pairs and/or small groups; and two workshops, in which students present their written papers to the whole group, the language tutor, and a European Studies tutor. Together with a partner, students choose a country and research its history of state and nation building. They write a country file and present it together, which means that they work together closely during the whole block.

English language skills training 1C: The grand tour

Course design: Carmen M. Amerstorfer, Graeme Campbell, Keith A. Campbell, Bob Wilkinson, Vera Zegers

This Language Skills Training is specifically designed to complement the work being covered in your Grand Tour block. This course builds on and develops the work done in previous courses, as well as providing new structures and techniques to improve the academic writing skills of students.

During this block students

  • complete tasks specifically designed to improve comparisons and contrasts.
  • write three different papers using different comparative structures.
  • experience writing in class within time constraints.
  • develop the ability to paraphrase.
  • receive and give detailed feedback on comparative writing.
  • broaden their active vocabulary.
  • take part in small group discussions.
  • take part in plenary discussions.
  • give and receive feedback on two drafts of their final paper.
  • give and receive feedback on three papers written in class.
  • give and receive feedback on performance during spoken discussions.
  • further improve their language accuracy.
  • further tighten the mechanics of their writing (spelling, punctuation).
  • write different types of analogies.

By the end of this block students are able to

  • write in a more logical, structured and coherent manner.
  • compare and contrast in both writing and speaking.
  • write using a similarities/differences method.
  • write using a point-to-point method.
  • write using a whole-to-whole method.
  • use analogies in academic writing.
  • take part in a comparative discussion.
English language skills training 1E: Back to the sources

Course Design: Carmen M. Amerstorfer, Vera Zegers

This course builds on and develops the work done in previous courses, as well as providing new structures and techniques to improve the academic writing skills of students. In particular, the Language Skills Training in this block focuses on persuasive writing and the evaluation of written sources and other people’s opinions in academic writing.

During this block students

  • complete tasks specifically designed to improve the evaluation of texts and opinions.
  • experience writing in class within time constraints.
  • write two persuasive papers.
  • develop the ability to give their own opinion in an academic paper.
  • further develop the ability to paraphrase.
  • receive and give detailed feedback on persuasive writing.
  • give and receive feedback on a draft of their final paper.
  • sort out frequently occurring language and grammar mistakes.
  • further improve their language accuracy and vocabulary use.
  • further tighten the mechanics of their writing (spelling, punctuation).
  • get the opportunity to individually consult their language tutor.

By the end of this block students able to

  • evaluate a text.
  • write in a more logical and coherent manner.
  • express their opinion in an appropriately academic way.

Other teaching

  • Various English language courses in the BA/MA programmes of Business Administration, Law, Health Sciences, and Psychology at the Universities of Maastricht and Klagenfurt.
  • IELTS exam preparation courses
  • Various English language skills courses for students and the general public
  • Tailor-made Business English courses for local companies in the Maastricht area
  • English for medical purposes for the Vroedvrouwenschool (School for Midwifery) Kerkrade