Speak Up!

  The Speak Up! Logo Speak Up! Project

What is Speak Up!?

The Speak Up! project is a university/school co-operation of the RWTH English Department and Rhein-Maas-Gymnasium, Aachen. It started up in July, 2012, with the purposes of improving RMG pupils’ spoken English, enriching the teacher training offering to students in the “Staatsexamen” and Bachelor programmes, and providing a platform for SLA research. Following a successful Pilot and Year 2, the decision was taken to continue into Year 3 (2014/15). To date, lessons have taken place at RMG weekly throughout the school year for classes in grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, EF and Q1. A second school, Gymnasium Zitadelle Jülich, recently joined the project and will begin Speak Up! tuition in year groups 6 and 7.



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How does it work?

Language coaches are assigned to a class and a supervising teacher. Teaching takes place in small groups such that all the pupils in the class receive tuition in the course of the school year. The task is to “Get the pupils speaking!” Support for lesson design is provided by the supervising teacher, the coaching team and the Speak Up! management team. 4-weekly, whole-team meetings are held throughout the year in which the coaches receive tuition in Linguistics and Foreign Language Education of immediate relevance to their classroom practice, discuss organisational and classroom management issues, and assist in developing the project. Coaches also have hands-on experience of devising and implementing assessment for evaluating the value of their work in improving pupils’ spoken English.


The Speak Up! Team

PROJECT ENDORSERS: Prof. Frauke Intemann, Prof. Stella Neumann, Mr Jochen Geradts (Principal RMG)

PROJECT MANAGERS: Anne Strobelt (RMG), Nicola Brown
SUPPORTING COLLEAGUES: Dr. Anette Bretschneider, Julia Dinn

Language Coaches:


Speak Up! Coaches 2014/15
Tobias Becker, Anna Maria Esser, Gina Gerosa, Catherina Hermersdorfer, Annika Höfert, Johanna Jaschik, Lea Nellessen, Julia Nießen, Conny Rogosz, Andrea Syska, Dora Zimmermann

  One of the Speak Up! Coaches with pupils Anne Strobelt Speak Up! in action, 2014/15: Catharina Hermersdorfer with pupils from Class 6a, Rhein-Maas Gymnasium, Aachen   A picture of the team 2013/14 Speak Up! Speak Up! Team 2013/14: Nicola Brown, Cynthia Breuer, Dora Zimmermann, Jana Stoll, Yasemin Gülez, Jochen Gerardts, Kristina Kinny, Frauke Intemann, Julia Nießen, Jennifer Farber, Felix Kruff, Stella Neumann, Anne Strobelt, Klaus Förster, Conny Mayerhofer   A picture of the language coaches 2012/13 Speak Up! Speak Up! Coaches 2012/13 (from left to right): Dora Zimmermann, Cynthia Breuer, Lydia Dupré, Felix Kruff, Julia Nießen

What the students think:

  1. ...the language coaches who take part in the project enjoy the unique chance to gather more teaching experience than students at other universities.”
  2. “You are working in a great team, getting help whenever you need it! It’s a very nice, comforting surrounding for your first teaching experience.”
  3. “The main benefit of the project was the opportunity to become acquainted with school reality. I learned a lot about the preparation of lessons, about pupils‘ wishes, interests and fears, about how I can help them to get rid of their embarrassment and shyness.“