GMF - Gesamtverband Moderne Fremdsprachen - a slice of life
The Gesamtverband Moderne Fremdsprachen (GMF) is an umbrella organisation for seven different language teacher associations in Germany: Deutscher Spanischlehrer-Verband (DSV - www.hispanorama.de); Verband Englisch & Mehrsprachigkeit e.V. (E&M - www.englisch-und-mehr.de); Fachverband Chinesisch (FaCh - www.fachverband-chinesisch.de); Fachverband Deutsch im GMF; Fachvereinigung Niederländisch (FN - www.fachvereinigungniederlaendisch.de); Fachverband Russisch und Mehrsprachigkeit (RuM - www.gmf-sachsen-anhalt.de/rum.htm); and Vereinigung der Französischlehrerinnen und –lehrer e.V. (VdF - http://fapf.de).
Every two years, the GMF holds a joint conference, and the Third National Congress of the German Federation of Associations of Teachers for Foreign Languages (GMF) took place at the University of Augsburg, from 16-18 September 2010, under the Auspices of the French Ambassador in Berlin. The beautiful city of Augsburg is over two thousand years old, and has had close ties with many countries during its long history, including Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic . So all in all, an ideal place for this year’s conference, which focussed on plurilingualism and intercomprehension.
Around 700 delegates attended a packed programme of 25 sections; based on topics such as learner autonomy and language awareness; standards (tasks for testing and learning); bilingual classes / CLIL; foreign languages for economic and professional contexts; materials for learning and teaching, intercultural and transcultural competences; teaching literature; teacher training; methodological questions in language research; from primary to secondary school language teaching; task-based language learning; new technologies / Web 2.0; history of second and foreign language learning and teaching; and also special programmes for Chinese, German as a foreign language, English, French, Russian, Spanish and other modern languages. The conference also featured a large exhibition by leading learning resource providers in Germany and around Europe.
The conference began with a fascinated opening plenary from Prof. Dr. Friederike Klippel, of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, on the values and aims of languages and language teaching throughout recent history. And for the first time, delegates could also opt to attend a special section of the programme provided completely by the REAL network! ‘Bringing Europe into the Languages Classroom’ was a set of specialist seminars given by leading language teaching professionals, including Konrad Schröder, Micheal Byram, Christoph Edelhoff and Daniel Coste, to bring teachers in Germany and around Europe all the latest ideas, theories and projects.