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This summer, Dr Ulrike Bavendiek, the Director of the Modern Languages & Cultures’ Languages Teaching Team and Senior Lecturer in German, has been continuing her research into curriculum design and modern languages. Dr Bavendiek is a regular attendee and presenter at the biennial Languages in Higher Education conference, co-organised by the University Council of Modern Languages, the Association of University Language Centres, and the Centre for Languages, Linguistics & Area Studies, and this summer, she gave a paper devoted to integrative approaches to curriculum design.

Dr Ulrike Bavendiek (third from left) and some members of the Languages Teaching Team

Dr Ulrike Bavendiek (third from left) and some members of the Languages Teaching Team

Given her interest in the relationship between language and society, Dr Bavendiek has been re-investigating the link between language learning and culture from a sociolinguistic perspective. She argues that language learning should both be embedded in cultureal learning and provide a holistic intercultural experience for hte learner in order to create a truly modern, 21st-century curriculum.

Dr Bavendiek, who convenes the department’s Languages Teaching Team, has recently contributed to the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) review of benchmarks in languages and related studies, as an invited member of the Benchmarks Review Team. These benchmarks define the nationwide standards for language degree programmes in the UK. With Marina Rabadan Gomez, from Modern Languages & Cultures’ Iberian & Latin American Studies section, Dr Bavendiek is working over the summer with UNILANG to develop a certification scheme for language learning in universities in the UK, which will be linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.