Michael Claridge, M.A., Dipl.Ed. (LfbA)

Sprachvermittlung Englisch bzw. englischsprachiges Theater (The Parlement of Foules) / English Practical-Language programme & English-language theatre

E-Mailclaridge@uni-bremen.de
BüroGW 2, A 3110
Telefon0421 218-68181
SprechzeitenMittwochs, 12:15-13.45

Werdegang ‒ Curriculum Vitae

Michael graduated from St.Andrews University (Scotland) with an MA in German and French, later doing a Certificate in Education (German/ French/Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) and a Diploma of Education at Edinburgh University. He has been living and working in Germany uninterruptedly since 1983.

In all, he had taught English at four different German universities (MA & Lehramt programmes) for nine years before coming to Bremen in 1997; he had also taught English at all levels including beginner and IHK certificate-level, as well as working for seven years as a freelance translator, primarily in the areas of fine art and archaeology but also in the medical field.

During his own studies, he took over the direction of the university’s German Society drama group, and has since directed English-language theatre groups at four universities in Germany. He has directed over forty productions to date, including ten by Shakespeare and his contemporaries and five revues.

Michael has lived in various regions of Germany (the Ruhr, Franconia, Saxony and Bremen) for 35 years. He is married to a German professor of English linguistics, under whose influence he has incorporated significant elements of applied linguistics – especially corpus linguistics – into his teaching.

He has been a member of the Faculty 10 faculty board for some fifteen years, representing the interests of the practical-language colleagues, and has co-ordinated the “English-Speaking Cultures” practical-language programme for more than ten years.

Lehre

Schwerpunkte in der Lehre

Michael’s teaching centres around the core principle of ‘audience focus’, the necessity of ensuring that we as speakers/writers select the most appropriate vocabulary, syntax, register and content and place it within the clearest possible structure so as to enable our listeners/readers to easily and accurately understand our ‘message’ and – where relevant – best convince them of our thesis. His teaching uses the following to assist students in achieving and refining this ‘audience focus’:

  • The development and refinement of ‘learning through doing’ techniques in language acquisition, e.g. through students explaining to their peers how aspects of English syntax function in practice, and through students learning how to give each other useful, effective feedback on each other’s essay plans and essay drafts. These techniques simultaneously develop the skills required by future EFL teachers.
  • The application of systemic functional grammar in language acquisition and linguistic comprehension.
  • The use of translation and contrastive work to point up interference problems between mother tongue and foreign language, especially those resulting from beginner- and intermediate-level language skills being taught exclusively in the target language with insufficient conscious reflection on parallels and potential traps ('False Friends' in lexis and syntax).
  • The use of simulations, gaming and theatre workshops in language learning and communications skills, including the extra dimensions offered by telematics simulations (developed through the IDEELS telematics-simulation project – consult www.ideels.uni-bremen.de), along with the possibilities these various elements represent for the assessment of communicative skills. Michael has also offered a number of workshops on this topic.
  • Within the above context, the ongoing development and expansion of workshops and the direction of productions with Bremen University’s English-speaking drama group, The Parlement of Foules (consult www.fb10.uni-bremen.de/anglistik/kultur/foules/default.aspx for more information). This has four overlapping elements. First, it uses work on English-language plays to develop confidence in using the foreign language in many different contexts. Secondly, it offers participants the opportunity to develop many ‘soft skills’ to an extent unusual in typical university coursework, among them genuine teamwork and personal and team organization. Thirdly, it underlines the importance of working with a playscript as something ‘living’, something to be explored and experimented with individually and within a group, as a means to an end, rather than as an end in itself; the script as something to be heard, seen and staged, rather than to be dryly read like a novel – something intended as a means of transmitting meaning to an audience, not to a reader: ‘From page to stage’. Fourthly, it focuses on the collaborative nature of theatre: collaboration between the actors themselves, and between the actors and the audience.
  • A seven-day group excursion every two years to London, entitled ‘Shakespeare’s London & Shakespeare’s Globe’, including three days exploring the London of Shakespeare’s time and three days watching performances, speaking with the actors, experiencing the theatre building from top to bottom and behind the proscenium and participating in workshops at Shakespeare’s Globe. This is supported by prior workshops in Bremen, with three main aspects. First we consider life and society in Tudor and early Jacobean London and England, to see how the thinking and theology of the period is reflected in contemporary plays. Second, we look at how acting in and writing for the theatre developed at this crucial time, examining the consequences and possibilities for actors and playwrights alike of the development from courtyard performances to acting ‘in the round’ with a tongue stage to performing indoors in buildings custom-made for theatre. Third, we work with extracts from Shakespeare’s plays and impro-theatre exercises to explore what acting actually means, for an individual actor and group of actors, as well as the possibilities and clues for acting Shakespeare that are contained in his scripts. This excursion also serves to give future EFL teachers an insight into essential considerations when planning and then conducting a school-class excursion to London themselves.
  • ‘Work in progress’ on a new module specifically for Master of Education students, incorporating many elements of the above but also examining how drama can be used to develop foreign-language competence, and offering ways of approaching and creative exploring especially Shakespeare’s plays that physically and mentally involve young people and stimulate their curiosity to do and learn more.

Forschung

Where time has permitted, Michael has been focussing recently on

  • the use of student-generated small-scale corpora to provide simple language-reflection and practice material tailored to individual syntactic and lexical problems;
  • further expanding and developing materials especially for the theatre workshops and developing foreign-language skills through drama, the London excursion and the ‘work in progress’ MEd module;
  • developing a simulation based on drawing up the human rights section of a constitution for a fictitious federation. and using this simulation to expand confidence in communicating in the foreign language, the ability to select appropriate register, and a variety of soft skills such as persuasion and compromise, personal and team organisation and management, and tactical speaking and writing.

Publikationen

Own-authored work is all internally available.

Translations published by various publishing houses, including Oxford University Press.