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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

25 Oct 2019 08:30–18:00

Intensive Language Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Hosted by the Language Centre of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano.

Date 25 Oct 2019 08:30 - 18:00

Location Room BZ D1.01, Universitätsplatz 1 - Piazza Università, 1, 39100 Bozen-Bolzano



With keynote address by: Susan Gass (University Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University).
In response to the internationalization of higher education, more and more universities around the world are offering intensive language programs. Such programs have manifold aims and models, but, in general, this modality of language teaching and learning has grown in popularity because offering compact, intensive courses during breaks in the academic calendar enables students to meet language requirements and/or prepare for study in an additional language without delaying study careers or augmenting degree course curricula. As common as such programs are, however, there has been comparatively little empirical research on the efficacy of or best practice in intensive language programs. 

The Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (unibz) is a trilingual university with three official languages of instruction: Italian, German, and English. Undergraduate students are required to reach the C1 level (according to the CEFR) in their “first” and “second” languages and B2 in their third language by the end of their studies, but must reach B1 in their “third” language before the second year of study. In order to support students in meeting these requirements, the non-credit, elective language curriculum offered by the Language Centre alternates between intensive and extensive courses throughout the academic year. For most students, the first encounter with unibz is a 120-hour three-week intensive course in September, before the beginning of the first semester. An additional 160 hours of intensive instruction are offered in February and July, during the semester breaks. 

After experimenting with this model for three years, the Language Centre is organizing this symposium in order to stimulate reflection on best practice in intensive language teaching and learning, with a particular eye to curriculum design, teaching methods, efficacy, and effects on motivation in this and similar contexts. Are “intensive” language programs as effective as traditional “extensive” language courses in terms of fostering language acquisition? How and when can intensive courses best be organized? Which pedagogical approaches are the most effective for an intensive course? How do teachers and students perceive intensive courses in comparison to extensive courses? 

The symposium aims to stimulate discussion on these and other questions by bringing together university language instructors and researchers in order to share and explore approaches, methods, and practices which have emerged within diverse contexts of intensive language teaching and learning. 

Steering committee: Elena Bonetto, Cristina Boscolo, Michael Joseph Ennis, Dietmar Unterkofler, Andrew Wimhurst.

International scientific committee: 
  • Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan (University of the Fraser Valley), 
  • Marilisa Birello (Universitat autònoma de Barcelona), 
  • Michele Daloiso (Università di Parma), 
  • Ismaeil Fazel (Simon Fraser University), 
  • Francesca Gallina (Università di Pisa), 
  • Britta Hufeisen (TU Darmstadt), 
  • Greg Kessler (Ohio University), 
  • Jennifer Majorana (Saginaw Valley State University), 
  • Gina Petrie (Eastern Washington University), 
  • Marieta Simeonova-Pissaro (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), 
  • Ulrike Jessner-Schmid (Universität Innsbruck), 
  • Ethel Swartley (University of Denver), 
  • Eddy White (University of Arizona), 
  • Lawrence Zwier (Michigan State University).

Registration: There is no registration fee to attend this event, but all participants must pre-register by 18 October.

To pre-register contact: 

For more information: English: / German: / Italian: