Speak Up!

   The Speak Up! Logo Copyright: © Speak Up! Project

What is Speak Up!?

The Speak Up! project began as a university/school co-operation of the RWTH English Department and Rhein-Maas-Gymnasium, Aachen. It started up in July 2012 with the purpose of improving RMG pupils’ spoken English and enriching the teacher training offering to students in the “Staatsexamen” and Bachelor programmes. It is also a powerful platform for research. Based upon the positive experiences and outcomes of the project at Rhein-Maas-Gymnasium, in year six of Speak Up!, Dalton Gymnasium Alsdorf, Gymnasium Würselen and Ritzefeld Gymnasium Stolberg joined in, in Year 7 of Speak Up!. Students teach a weekly session with small groups at the member schools, focussing on encouraging the pupils to speak. The teaching period covers approximately 30 weeks.


How does it work?

RWTH students are assigned to a class or a year group as well as a supervising teacher. Teaching takes place in small groups such that all the pupils in the class or year group 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, the Speak Up! management team, and the Alumni Support Team. The project tuition is conducted with years 5 to Q1, according to the wishes of the school. Students who are given the opportunity to gain teaching experience in Speak Up! also have hands-on experience of devising and implementing assessment for evaluating the impact of their work on improving pupils’ spoken English.

Who can take part?

Students in the third semester and beyond of the Lehramt Bachelor programme are eligible to take part in the project. Participation is on a voluntary basis.


We are recruiting now for the academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21. Please contact to inform us about your interest or for further information.

Occasionally, students worry that their competence in English might be insufficient for taking part in the project. We expect that all students studying in the English Department Bachelor programme would be sufficiently proficient in English. If you have any doubts or questions, however, feel free to discuss this with the project managers.

Information for RWTH students

Speak Up! fulfils all the requirements of the Berufsfeldpraktikum.

The teaching period at the project schools for the forthcoming 8th year will start in November 2019 and finish in June 2020.

The benefits of participating in Speak Up!

Besides the fact that it fulfils the requirements of the Berufsfeldpraktikum, the project is a great opportunity to get hands-on experience of teaching small groups of pupils within the Bachelor programme. Participants do not just receive recognition of their teaching in the form of testimonials from the schools, but also an official certification of the hours spent in the project from the Fachdidaktik branch of the RWTH English Department.


What the students think

  1. “You are working in a great team, getting help whenever you need it! It is a very nice, comforting surrounding for your first teaching experience.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “I gained a lot of teaching practice. Having to teach on my own each week, having to prepare the lessons, and having to keep the students on task, was not always easy, sometimes stressful, most times fun, and always a great piece of the puzzle that I plan on completing in my teaching career.”
  4. “The language coaches who take part in the project enjoy the unique chance to gather more teaching experience than students at other universities.”

Project Leadership

Didactics input: Prof. Frauke Intemann
Linguistics input: Prof. Stella

Project Managers

Nicola Brown
Anne Strobelt

Project Assistant

Thomas Schilling

Supporting Colleagues

Dr. Anette Bretschneider
Britta Gühsgen-Moll


Speak Up! Network Schools

- Rhein-Maas Gymnasium Aachen
- Dalton Gymnasium Alsdorf
- Gymnasium der Stadt Würselen


Alumni Support Team

Speaking coaches wanting to stay connected to the project belong to the Alumni Support Team. The aim is to offer help and advice to the current student team whenever needed and support the project in practical ways, sometimes even by undertaking a second year of teaching. AST members join can join the Kick-off and Wind-up events. Any former Speaking Coach is welcome join the AST.

Speaking Coaches


Speak Up! Team 2018 and 2019: Ariane Bongard, Hannah Heinrichs, Kyra Keller, Samantha Müller, Farina Passenheim, Sven Pollmann, Hannah Sauren, Pia Schiel