At the end of the 70s and in the early 80s course tours were presented in Gütersloh, Rheindalen, Münschen-Gladbach and Berlin at the invitation of the Service Children’s Education Authority.
In 1979, as part of the exchange partnership between Jordanhill College and the University of Hamburg, I was a visiting lecturer for one month. During that time lasting friendships were made with staff and students. The Topic Work being presented on courses in Hamburg became known as ‘Die Methode Glasgow’ because of an article written by Dr Ulf Schwänke, one of the exchange partners. This was an accidental title since it was only included at the request of the editor and was supposed to be changed before publication. This title is still commonly used in parts of Germany to describe this approach.
Another tutor involved in the exchange was Dr Beate Grabbe who has been an enthusiastic exponent of the method since the early 80s, as an assistant at the University in Hamburg, as a tutor in the I.P.T.S. in Pinneberg, as a headteacher in Wedel and more recently as a senior tutor in the Institüt for Lehrerfortbildung in Hamburg. Over recent years Storyline courses have been presented annually to whole year groups (120 to 150 students) at her Institute. ‘Die Methode Glasgow’ is regularly used as a special study by many students and is now supported by a wealth of printed articles, magazines and papers in the German language.
At the invitation of Dr Eckhard Kohls of the Institüt für Praxis und Theorie in Schule (I.P.T.S.) in Schleswig-Holstein annual Storyline courses, supported by The British Council, were given annually in the 80s. Lesley Dunlop, a headteacher in a Glasgow school was involved as a tutor on at least one of these visits.
As part of this programme, in the mid-80s, Ian Barr, at that time an evaluator with the Scottish Consultative Committee on the Curriculum was invited by the British Council to visit a course in Ahrensburg to produce a report. This course evaluation, when published, proved to be extremely valuable to both tutors and participants since it gave, for the first time, an objective view of the course design and a theoretical description of the methodology.
The connection with Schleswig-Holstein is still very active and there are many educators in that State who are now using aspects of the approach in their daily classroom work and as tutors. Gisela Schulz-Steinbach, an adviser in language teaching, for example, is using Storyline to help primary teachers introduce second language teaching at the early stages of the school. She helps to edit a Language Teacher’s journal – FF – which regularly includes articles about Storyline.
One of the most intriguing courses organised by friends in the I.P.T.S. was one held in Drosedow, Mecklenberg vor Pommeren in October 1990 very soon after German re-unification. This was a course for teachers of English. The practical design of the course and the recommended methodology were so totally different from what had gone before that course members had difficulty in accepting that this form of practice would be acceptable in the formal school system.
Jordanhill Campus of the University of Strathclyde also has an exchange arrangement with the Pädagogische Hochschule in Freiburg and Dr. Klaus-Dieter Fehse, Professor of Linguistics, and Doris Kocher, an assistant in that department, have made a special study of Storyline in order to adapt it for second language teaching in Realschule. This is proving to be a very innovative and interesting ongoing development.
At the time of writing they are engaged on researching methods of evaluating and assessing pupils’ performance when using Storyline for second language teaching. In 1999 Doris Kocher published a book entitled Das Klassenzimmer als Lernwerkstatt, Medien und Komminikation im Englischunterricht nach der Storyline-Methode. In May 2001 a two-day Symposium was held in the PH Freiburg as a culmination of a research project which used Storyline for teaching English as a second language and Simulation Globale, a similar approach developed in Paris, for teaching French.
As early as 1979 Dr Ulf Schwaenke, then working as an assistant professor in Hamburg University, came into contact with Storyline through an exchange partnership with Jordanhill College. At that time he became interested in what this ‘Methode Glasgow’ had to offer as an approach to teaching in a holistic way. He spent quite some time with the Inservice Staff Tutors and in visiting teachers and schools in the area and also participated in one of the Storyline courses for teachers. What impressed him most deeply was the experience that teachers who had taught in a very traditional and authoritarian way for many years not only had changed their methods but also their attitudes towards the pupils and towards teaching as a profession as a result of the staff development courses. In that same year Steve Bell and John MacBeath were both visiting lecturers to the Faculty of Education in Hamburg. A number of contacts were made that led to publishing first articles on Storyline in German (see below).
Later Ulf visited Glasgow several times in the 80s and 90s to revive his knowledge of the educational approaches developed in Scotland. Over his career development, as he moved from university to adult education and later to the commercial world, he has attempted to adapt Storyline for use with his target audience whether they are engaged in business or in education. In recent years he has been very active in recording his experience and his philosophy through his publications. As can be seen from the news items below he is now not only active in extending his writing but also in actively engaging educators through presenting at conferences and courses. He is an enthusiastic member of the European Association for Educational Design and has presented at the International Storyline Conferences in Elsinore and Glasgow.
Harkness-Moodie, S.C.: Wir lesen ein Kinder-Taschenbuch. Basteln und Werken im Literaturunterricht der Grundschule. In: Balhorn, H. et al. (Hrsg.): Sprachunterricht 2 – 4. München 1981, S. 85 – 100.
Rendell, F./Bell, S.: Warum „epochaler Gesamtunterricht“? In: Tymister, H. J. u.a. (Hrsg.): Deutschunterricht 5 – 10. München 1980, S. 156 – 172.
Schwänke, U.: Die exemplarische Anwendung schulischer Lehr-Lern-Verfahren in der Lehrerausbildung. In: Tymister, H.-J. et al. (Hrsg.): Deutschunterricht 5 – 10. München 1980, S. 192 – 207.