At IA Sprog, we need new teaching materials, and the new system has already been given the working title Vibevej. The new materials will, in time, replace the school’s old teaching system Skolegade.
With more than 30 years of experience in the field, teacher Lisbeth Egerod is a great choice for solving the task. We met her on a cold winter morning for a talk about the project and her career.
One of the most important things about the new material is that it must be authentic. It needs to relate to the students’ everyday life and the challenges they face. The students will, for example, even on the very first modules, be seeking out information online and also be completing authentic reading and writing tasks.
The materials will consist of a book combined with materials on our online learning platform mit.iasprog.
Strong emphasis is on students being active and solving the tasks by speaking to each other. That way, oral communication is in focus during lessons, which is in line with the teaching syllabus and the test on module 1.
Lisbeth tells us about the process:
“I started by exploring other materials in the field, both from Denmark and other countries. It gradually began to take shape – how to design it, and what the focus should be.”
“Creating a material for beginners based on oral communication is challenging, because at the beginning the students don’t know much of the Danish language,” said Lisbeth, but also states that the students quickly conquer that barrier, because the material – from day one – provides a sufficient vocabulary for giving basic information such as name, nationality, language and work.
Lisbeth emphasises another important element – that in each chapter an aesthetic experience is provided, for example a link to a video or other things because: “We want something that is visually interesting and appealing to a number of senses too.”
It is not the first time Lisbeth develops teaching materials. In 2001 she produced the material Kryds for Danish Language Course 2 along with Mette Ginman, lecturer in Danish as a second language.
Nepali and Chinese
We ask Lisbeth what she did before she started at IA Sprog nearly 20 years ago:
“I hold a Master’s degree in Chinese and Danish as a second language. In the late 1970s, I started teaching Danish as a foreign language at University of California i Berkeley, USA. After a few years there, I returned home to Denmark, where I started working at Flygtningehjælpens Sprogskole in Copenhagen. I was there from 1985 to 1999, when I started teaching at IA Sprog.”
Throughout the same period, Lisbeth has taught courses as part of the Danish as a second language training programme at the Danish School of Education and at the University of Copenhagen between 1992 and 2015, within the subjects of second-language education, language acquisition and language description.
In 2000-2003, Lisbeth made several long trips to Nepal and Tanzania. She produced teaching materials for MS Action Aid for Danish employees doing development work in those countries, while she also taught the Danes Nepali.
“What is the best thing about teaching?”
“The best thing is to meet the many different people and see how people acquire new knowledge in very different ways,” replies Lisbeth with a little smile.
As we speak, the first chapter of the training material is being tested. Two other teachers are helping Lisbeth test the material, and the feedback has been positive.
Our final question is, “When is the training material going to be ready?”
“It remains to be seen … you’ll just have to wait,” Lisbeth concludes with yet another little smile.