Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim

Penny's main responsibility is the project's curricular design, particularly the print content of the Lernbuch and handouts.

Why I’m involved in Auf geht’s!

When Lee and David invited me out for dinner to explain their grand ideas for revolutionizing language teaching in the university context, I said ‘yes.’ Six years later, I’m still up to my eyeballs in Auf geht’s!, which means I’ve gotten to help shape the project, develop our intercultural approach to language learning, choose content, develop our materials for off-computer and in-class work, and throw my two cents into the CD-ROM development. I’m not by nature a subversive person, but Auf geht’s! is my chance to change how we teach foreign languages, to get us to look at why we do what we do in the classroom, as homework, and in our assessment and curriculum planning. Yes, sometimes I get innovation-headaches.

Besides my enthusiasm for the project, I bring to the team a unique set of qualifications. (This is the boring part.) I earned my MA in German literature and my Ph.D. in applied German-English linguistics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1995). I then shipped off to Brown University and taught German language and culture and Applied Linguistics courses for 3 years before returning to the Midwest. In addition to teaching at the big state U, the Ivy Leagues and the small liberal arts colleges, I’ve directed multi-section TA programs and an ESL summer language camp in Germany. (You can find a very dry but potentially useful summary of my qualifications by clicking to my CV link.)

That’s why I’m here. If you’ve got awesome, innovative ideas for making our world a better place, I’m open for dinner invitations starting in 2005.