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Expert in the spotlight in November-December 2015: Anke Tästensen

The Expert in the Spotlight feature gives you the chance to interact one-on-one with our Ask the expert-section. The feature also provides interesting and insightful comments regarding the subjects mentioned above, in-depth content and exclusive Q and A’s.

Featured Expert / Area of focus

Anke Tästensen is head of Deutsche Schule Osterhoist and also head of Deutsche Schule Rapstedt, a secondary German school in Denmark.

She is the author of the Regional Dossier German in Denmark, the German language in education in Denmark, published by Mercator Research Centre in December 2015.

Face to face with Anke Tästensen

What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages/education/multilingualism?

Having grown up in the German Minority in the southern part of Denmark (South Jutland), I have been dealing with the Danish and German language from early childhood. I studied at Pädagogische Hochschule Flensburg (today: Europa Universität Flensburg) in Germany, where my subjects were English and German. After having finished my teacher-studies, I went back to Denmark, where I became head of a German School (Deutsche Schule Osterhoist) in Denmark. Today I am also head of a second German school in DK (Deutsche Schule Rapstedt). Since 1995 I have been a teacher at the EUF (Europa Universität Flensburg) in Danish, English and Pedagogy in the teacher-training programme.

2009 the Center of Minority Pedagogy, which is a cooperation of the University College South in Haderslev (DK), the German School and Language Association (DK) and the Danish School Association (D), was founded. Together with a few other language teachers and headmasters I organize conferences and courses dealing with minority issues and languages, such as early bilingual language approach, language awareness or developing new teaching materials for children growing up in a minority.

What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?

My major challenge at the moment is developing bilingual teaching material for pupils in the schools of the German Minority in Denmark . At the same time it is necessary to provide courses, conferences and training programs for new teachers about the special minority background of the pupils and their bilingual language approach. Combining and harmonizing those two areas can be quite challenging at times.

What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?

"Crossing Borders: Cultural Diversity in Early Years Education" is an International Erasmus Course at the University College South Denmark from August 17th to December 18th 2015. Students from all over Europe and China participate at the course. Here I am teaching the students in the subject “Bilingual language approach in early childhood and preschool education.” The main focus is on the field of phonological awareness in early childhood education (a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language) in the institutions/kindergartens, where the children are educated in two languages.

Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?

Crossing Borders: Cultural Diversity in Early Years Education. To connect with Crossing Borders, sign up for Facebook today.

A couple of papers I have found particularly inspiring recently:

Westergaard, A. & Kühl. K. (2009): Schriftsprachenerwerb in einer Zweitsprache. Flensburg: University Press

Von Oettingen, A., Komischke-Konnerup, L., Mikkelsen-Buhl, L., Tästensen, A., Wagner, M. (2012): Mindretalspædagogik – Minderheitenpädagogik. Århus: Forlaget Klim

Do you have any questions on these topics?

Ask Anke