Isabel Murillo Wilstermann

Thank you for visiting my portfolio and taking the time to explore my work in progress! I am a teacher of Spanish as a foreign language, a proactive and reflective professional who is widening her perspectives to become a teacher educator and a researcher. I graduated in Caracas, Venezuela in the area of Human Resources. My diploma thesis about organizational development and my experiences as a volunteer in Venezuela and abroad were fundamental to discover my deep interest for teaching. I started teaching Spanish in 1998 and I have worked in Venezuela, Belgium and Germany. My work as a foreign language teacher at Instituto Cervantes in Bremen and Hamburg focused mainly in adult learners who wanted to learn Spanish for professional and personal purposes. I have also given language courses at universities, schools, private language institutions and companies. These experiences allowed me to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and with different learning styles. Working with them I have developed flexibility, open-mindedness, sensitivity towards my students' needs and the strong conviction that in order to respond to every challenge, I have to keep learning and be the agent of this process.

Kiel, Germany | Water, music | 2018

When I worked at the University of Bremen my students' profile changed. I had in my classroom learners who aimed at becoming Spanish teachers themselves. This fact brought an additional perspective to my practice: the perspective of the teacher educator. This is a role that I am consciously nurturing in my courses at the Institute of Romance Studies at the University of Kiel, where I teach since 2015. Working with prospective teachers, understanding their needs and foreseeing their challenges in regard to the target language use in the classroom, I realized how important it is to make them aware of two key aspects: first, the role of classroom interaction to foster language learning and second, the importance of exploring classroom practices to develop professionally. In this sense, I constantly ask myself in which ways can we make use of interaction with our language students in order to promote language learning? There is not one only answer. Therefore I have looked for information in teacher education and applied linguistics books, and I have also contacted teachers and scholars of different languages and fields. This search has triggered the design and implementation a Spanish language and teaching seminar that explores language use and learning in classroom interaction.

Investigating about mobile technologies to explore classroom interaction and to foster teacher development, I have attended dissemination events in Norway (Mobile Learning in Teacher Education conference), England (Video Enhanced Observation final conference) and Karlsruhe (Video Enhanced Observation dissemination event). These events set off the beginning of a collaborative learning network. After those encounters, I co-initiated with colleagues from universities in Germany, Sweden, England and Spain the ERASMUS+ teacher education project Promoting Professionalism, Innovation and Transnational Collaboration in Foreign and Second Language Teacher Education (ProPIC), a three-year endeavor which aims at fostering second/foreign language teachers' continuing professional development (CPD). My work as language teacher and teacher educator are powerful sources of challenges that keep me evolving and learning. My goals are, on the one hand, to keep enriching those perspectives and, on the other, to become a researcher as well. ProPIC and international educational projects are an ideal context to develop such competences and to positively impact teacher education in my institution.

ProPIC study week with international students | 2019