How (not) to use technology for language teaching – Workshop with Sascha Stollhans (University of Nottingham)

Do students love technology in the classroom? Can technology replace teaching? What are good tools in the growing pool of educational technology and digital teaching and what can they be used for?


These and more questions were discussed on Wednesday 17 February during a workshop lead by DAAD-Lektor Sascha Stollhans (organized by DAAD-Lektorin Sandra Beer and School TEL Coordinator Enza Siciliano Verruccio) for members of staff and PGR students of the University of Reading as well as for teachers from local schools.

After a theoretical introduction and discussion about questions and concerns, Sascha Stollhans provided us with some inspiring case studies of various tools, social media and web resources to enhance language teaching and learning. The workshop was equally informative as it was engaging, encouraging everyone to try the tools in the workshop.


As more and more institutions expect language tutors to make clever use of technology in their classrooms, we were very happy to have the opportunity to learn more about the effective integration of technology into the language classroom.


Sascha Stollhans is DAAD-Lektor at the University of Nottingham. His main teaching and research areas are German language and linguistics, applied linguistics, second language acquisition and language pedagogy.

Latest publication:

Goria, Cecilia; Speicher, Oranna; Stollhans, Sascha. (Eds). (2016). Innovative language teaching and learning at university: enhancing participation and collaboration. Dublin, Ireland:

A taste of studying French at Reading University

On Thursday 11th February we hosted four A-level students from various local schools and gave them a taster of undergraduate study at Reading. The opportunity arose from the mentoring scheme of which Eliza (pictured giving a presentation) is part. Such schemes are vital because, alongside imparting knowledge to our own students, we aim to encourage more school pupils to apply for modern languages at degree level. Not just for the sake of our own careers, of course, (I’m really hoping for an academic job at the end of my PhD) but the UK economy does really need language speakers. Language skills deficit costs the UK £48bn a year. Plus, a modern language degree is such a great way to broaden the mind. Anyway, enough of the shameless plug!

20160211_112131 copy[2]

The four A-level scholars were invited to attend a final year French Caribbean course run by Julia Waters. As a doctoral researcher, I have been assisting Julia on this course since October and was thrilled to hear that we would have the chance to inspire some young minds. Julia started the class with an introduction, aimed at the scholars, to the legacy of slavery in Caribbean society, French dominance, the importance of the search for identity in postcolonial Caribbean literature, and the concept of Postcolonialism. The four finalists then took to the floor with an enthusiastic and insightful presentation on Patrick Chamoiseau’s L’esclave vieil homme et le molosse, the story of a runaway slave in Martinique. I was personally very pleased with their efforts after assisting them with planning the presentation the week before.

20160211_112537 copy[2]

After the presentation, the scholars departed for their campus tour and the seminar carried on as usual. We wish them all the best with their A-levels and hope the experience inspired them to apply for Modern Languages degrees. I also hope they bear Reading in mind during their applications and, who knows, I could be teaching them postcolonial literature one day!

MFL in the UoR meet local and regional schools teachers

IMG_0393On Wednesday 27 January, staff and students in the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies hosted a 2-hour MFL Teach  Meet on the University of Reading campus. With teachers attending from a range of local and regional schools, including St. Crispin’s School, Leighton Park, The Abbey School, Prospect School, Reading School and Bucks School, the meeting was a great opportunity to exchange ideas about how to work together to promote modern languages, manage the transition from GCSE to A level and from A level to University, and how to deal with some of the challenges facing us all as teachers of Modern Languages.


Topics for discussion included: Diversity in the classroom, the use of digital resources and new technology in the classroom, and how to encourage students to go beyond the curriculum. There was some very lively debate, including some very interesting observations from our own students in MLES, and the event finished with a promise to continue these session on a regular basis.


I found a job doing exactly what I wanted to do!

We’re really proud of the work that our graduates do after they leave the Department of Modern Languages at University of Reading. In the coming months, we’ll feature stories from some of our former students in order to highlight the wide variety of careers that our alumni pursue.  It’s clear that a degree in Modern Languages could be the key to a career that could take you anywhere in the world.

Joely Justice, 2015 Reading graduate and Project Manager in the RWS Group

Joely Justice, 2015 Reading graduate

This month, we asked Joely Justice, who graduated in 2015 with a degree in French and Italian, to tell us about her new career in translation:

“I began studying Italian at the age of 14, at which point I’d already studied French for 2 years. From then onward I knew I wanted to pursue a career in languages, and more specifically in translation. After all that time, I still haven’t changed my mind. That’s what led me to apply for the job I’m doing today.

I work for the Eurofile department of RWS Group as an Intellectual Property Services Co-ordinator. The job is a project management role, and involves managing the process of the translation of European Patents into European languages, as well as the national validation of these translations in Europe. On a daily basis we process any new orders from our clients, send the documents to be translated out to freelance or to in-house translators and deal with any queries from either the translators or our clients.

Joely Justice, Project Manager in the RWS Group

Joely Justice, Intellectual Property Services Co-ordinator at the RWS Group

The best thing about this job is that I get to use my languages; I mainly use French as I deal with French clients and translators every day, which is great. I didn’t know I’d be able to be using my languages so much in my first job after graduating.

I found my job by signing up to receive emails from different websites. On applying for the job I went through an agency called Park Street People, which was really helpful as the lady I spoke to arranged everything for me and gave me advice for the interview. I was doing my final exams at the time, so it was a real help and a relief to have some guidance at such a stressful time!

During my final year, a representative from RWS came to a University of Reading Careers Fair, where several individuals from different companies came in and spoke to us about their companies and the kinds of careers we could pursue as a language graduate. Of course, since I have always wanted to work in translation, I was mainly interested in RWS Group. It was a great opportunity and I hadn’t realised before that I could do a project management role so soon after graduating.

The careers events that were put on were really helpful and it was inspiring to see how many different routes there are to follow with a language degree. It is especially beneficial if you’re not entirely sure what you want to do, as you

A University of Reading Careers Fair

A University of Reading Careers Fair

can see all of the possible alternatives and explore your options. The University really helped by putting on these careers events.

I would definitely recommend going to as many of these events as you can during your time at Reading and to make the most of these opportunities, as they are always insightful and helpful whether you know exactly what you want to do or you’re undecided.

The support we receive from the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading is amazing, not just academically but also on a personal level. Our lecturers were always passionate in their teaching and were always there to support and encourage us.

I found a job doing exactly what I wanted to do so soon after leaving university and I will always be grateful to the department and to the university for giving me the opportunities that they did.”

It’s wonderful to hear stories like Joely’s. They make clear that a degree in French, German, Italian, or Spanish at Reading offers promising career prospects in so many different fields .

If you’d like to find out more about a career with RWS, you can contact Joely at To learn more about the many career opportunities for students of languages, be sure to follow our blog, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Twitter feed, so that you can keep up on all the news and events of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading.

Are you a University of Reading graduate? Be sure to keep in touch with us!

Are you a University of Reading graduate? Be sure to keep in touch with us!

If you’re a Reading graduate, we’d love to hear from you about your career choices after university. Tell us your story. The University of Reading publishes alumni profiles online. If you’d like to share your experiences, all you have to do is fill out an online questionnaire.

When you do, please consider submitting your story for the “Meet a Reading Graduate” section of the blog of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies.

If you’d like to tell us where your Reading degree has taken you, and perhaps to share a few  memories of the department, please get in touch with our Alumni Officer, Dr Veronica Heath. And please consider joining the University’s Thrive Mentoring Scheme to help our students make their transition into the world after graduation so that you can help more students like Joely find a job doing exactly what they want to do.