Dr. phil. Britta Padberg-Schmitt

Englisches Seminar
© Chair of TEFL
Englisches Seminar
Language Instructor
Chair of British Studies
Room 307
Johannisstr. 12-20
48143 Münster

Britta Padberg-Schmitt completed her Doctor of Philosophy in German Studies at New York University, New York, USA in 1997. Concurrently, she taught at the Deutsches Haus (Goethe Institute), NYU and was also a freelance-editor at Burda Media, Inc.. In 1998, she studied law at the Westphalia Wilhelm's University (WWU) and obtained an additional certificate from the American Law Program (FFA). Over the past 20 years, she has taught EFL at various institutions such as the University of Applied Science (Nursing Management & Training), Sprachenzentrum (WWU), at the Law & Medical Schools (WWU) and at the Adult School in Muenster, to name a few. In 2008, she joined the WWU English Department, where she initially taught American literature, linguistics and various language courses. From 2013-2020, she was part of the TEFL Team, thereby focussing on teacher training. Her main interests are American folklore (in primary and secondary education), teaching methods in ESL/EFL classrooms, teacher training, reading theory, second language acquisition theory and using literature in the ESL/EFL classroom. In October 2020, she became a permanent member of the Language Lecturer Team.

  • Research Interests

    • Teaching American Culture & American Folklore
    • Teaching Younger Learners
    • ESL/EFL Teaching Methods
    • Reading Theory
    • Second Language Acquisition Theories
    • Literature in the EFL
  • Professional Qualifications


    2008 - present:

    University of Münster, English Department, Münster, Germany

    • Since winter term 2020/2021, Language Instructor
    • 2013-2020, Adjunct Instructor in TEFL
    • 2010-2011, Adjunct Instructor in Linguistics
    • 2008-2010, Language Lecturer in American Studies
    1999 - 2014

    Sprachenzentrum Münster

    • Lecturer: Medical English | Legal English | Business English
    • Examiner: UNIcert-III exams in medical and business English | FFA exams in legal English
    • Coordinator: Taught, supervised and coordinated German ERASMUS teachers
    1998 - 2009

    St. Franziskus Hospital, School of Nutrition, Münster Germany

    • Instructor and Director of the English Program
    1997 - 2018

    Freelance Translator, Münster, Germany

    • Tranlator of books, longer texts and academic papers (e.g. Law & Medical Schools in Münster)
    1998 - 2000

    University of Applied Sciences Münster, Nursing Department

    • Instructor & Director of the English Program

    Recht und Sprachen e.V., Münster, Germany

    • Director
    1997 - 2000

    Volkshochschule Münster

    • Instructor: German & English courses | Conversation Courses | Medical English |
    • Developed "MOVE" program for unemployed individuals

    1997 - 2000


    Berlitz, Münster, Germany

    • Language Instructor in English and German

    Institut for Pharmaceutical Technology, Münster, Germany

    • Academic Assistant (Translation & Edition of publications)
    1991 - 1996

    New York University, German Department, New York, NY, USA

    • Assistant to the Language Coordinator

    1992 - 1996


    Burda Media, Inc., New York, NY, USA

    • Editor
    1991 - 1993

    Goethe Institut, New York, NY, USA

    • Language Instructor


    1999 - 2003

    Legal Studies, University of Münster, Germany

    1992 - 1997

    Doctor of Philosophy in German Studies

    New York University, Graduate Schol of Arts & Science, New York, NY, USA

    Thesis: Theories in Use: A Comparison of Reading Models, their Application to the Classroom and their Influence in German Reading Textsbooks at the Intermediate Level of Language Instruction.

    1990 - 1992

    Master of Arts in German Studies

    New York University, Graduate School of Arts & Science, New York, NY, USA


    Summer Semester Abroad

    Sorbonne University, Paris, France

    1986 - 1990

    Bachelor of Arts in French and German Literature New York University, Graduate School of Arts & Science, New York, NY, USA


  • Projects

    Schiller Gymnasium Project

    Advanced Placement English Classes for Bilingual Students

    Pilot Project Summary (WS 2016-17)

    The project took into consideration the individual interests of the pupils. They were asked to create a PowerPoint about a subject of their choosing which they would later present to all the 7th grade English classes. Keeping in mind that, in the 8th grade, the United States would be introduced in the German textbooks, any topic about the U.S. was an option, or one could opt to introduce several cities in another English-speaking country. One could also recommend the various destinations of the Schiller-exchange-programs as well (Australia, England, Nigeria, etc.) – one could (as the student-teacher) introduce the idea of discussing one of the destinations or all of these destinations. The intention of this was to perk the interest of the students for a travel-abroad experience – which might be a nice link to Schiller in general. How or what the pupils decided to present was irrelevant, as the process of researching the topics in English and creating the PowerPoint is what counted. Each week the student-teachers assisted the pupils in finding “reliable” research sites on the internet to help facilitate them with the writing of their reports about their chosen topics, and they helped them create a visually appealing as well as informative PowerPoint presentation. Thus, presentations skills were also discussed.

    The Pilot Project was conducted in the winter term of 2016: Class 7a, Schiller Gymnasium. Two student-teachers instructed one female pupil (age 13, US bilingual speaker) and one male pupil (age 13, British bilingual speaker) over an 8-week period prior to the Christmas break. After the holiday break, there was one more session to practice the presentation in front of the student-teachers before the pupils presented their projects to the four other 7th grade English classes.

    My help with ideas or concepts was always available to the student-teachers as well as the help of the teachers on staff at Schiller. This varied, based on which courses were involved and which teachers had bilingual students.

    The project was designed to help bilingual pupils use what they already knew to improve their skills in the foreign language as well as their strategic skills, such as researching and presenting. Most of the bilingual pupils were very strong in their communicative capacities, but by making them engage with the written word (while researching), they were forced to better their own understanding of the written word. They were at a higher level of oral proficiency and felt comfortable speaking at will. Their writing and reading skills were to be stimulated during this process, and they were to interact with the student-teachers only in English (direct method), thereby strengthening their language skills as well. Thus, even if it was difficult at first, the research was to be done on English websites. But they had the student-teachers to support them in this process. If German sites were used, other skills, such as negotiating skills (Byram’s ICC), were incorporated: locating pictures or texts that could be integrated, sifting through the materials to find the key facts (skimming & scanning techniques), in order to highlight the importance of some information over other pieces of not so relevant information. This not only helped them with English but aided them in developing skills that they could use later in other courses, thereby making the assignment more relevant for their school lives, enabling them to transfer their strategic skills from one subject to another, and thus creating an interdisciplinary relevance as well.

    The teachers at Schiller were not only very pleased with the pupils' presentations, but the MA students also thoroughly enjoyed the project. And since the pilot project was such a great success, it took place the following two years as well: October 2017– February 2018 and October 2018–February 2019. 

    For a brief report about the project, see: https://www.schillergymnasium-muenster.de/siebtklaessler-halten-praesentationen-auf-englisch/

  • Publications

    • Padberg-Schmitt, B. (2022). "Die Verwendung von Hörbüchern zur Verbesserung der Lesekompetenz von Schüler*innen mit Legasthenie." In M. Jungwirth, N. Harsch, Y.  Noltenmeier, M. Stein & N. Willenberg (eds.), Diversität Digital Denken: The Wider View, Band 8 (pp. 279-290). WTM. https://doi.org/10.37626/GA9783959871785.0
    • Padberg-Schmitt, B. (2020). "Increasing Reading Fluency in Young Adult Readers Using Audiobooks." Children's Literature in English Language Education Journal, 8.1 (pp. 31-51). https://clelejournal.org/article-2-increasing-reading-fluency/
    • Fernandez Cuenca, S., & Padberg-Schmitt, B. (2013). "Spanisch-Deutscher Sprachvergleich." In H. Leontiy (Hrsg.), Multikulturelles Deutschland im Sprachvergleich: Das Deutsche im Fokus der meist verbreiteten Migrantensprachen: Ein Handbuch für DaF-Lehrende und Studierende, für Pädagogen/-innen und Erzieher/-innen (S. 233–254). Berlin: Lit.
    • Jansen, Lisa, Padberg-Schmitt, B. (2013). "Deutsch-Englischer Sprachvergleich." In Halyna Leontiy (Hrsg.), Multikulturelles Deutschland im Sprachvergleich. Das Deutsche im Fokus der am meisten kommunizierten Migrantensprachen: Handbuch für DaF- Lehrende und Studierende, für Pädagogen und Erzieher (S. 47-75). Münster: Lit.
  • Talks

    • "Die Verwendung von Hörbüchern zur Verbesserung der Lesekompetenz von Schüler*innen mit Legasthenie," Diversität Digital Denken: The Wider View, Zentrum für Lehrerbildung, Münster, Germany, September 8-9, 2021.
    • "Employing Portfolios to Promote Learner Autonomy" with Dr. Stephan Gabel, Sprachpraxis Tagung: Anglistik/Amerikanistik Münster, University of Münster, Münster, Germany, September 25, 2017.
    • "Fostering Learner Autonomy to Promote Internal Differentiation" with Dr. Stephan Gabel, TEFL Day: Refugees & Diversity: Inclusion Strategies for ELT, University of Münster, Münster, Germany, February 16, 2017.
    • "A critical look at reading and SLA theory with respect to transferable skills from native to foreign/second language reading instruction," Challenging Reading: English-Language Education with Children and Teenagers (International Conference), University of Münster, Germany, February 10-12, 2016.
    • "Theories in USE: How to use what we know in the classroom- reading made simple," Lecture Series: Hotspots in Literary/ Cultural Studies and Linguistics, University of Münster, Germany, December 2010.
    • "The Use of Video in the Proficiency Oriented Classroom," The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, New York, NY, USA, April 4, 1996.
    • "The Ph.D.: To Be or Not To Be Completed (alternatives for PhD candidates in today’s market)," Modern Language Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA, December 27-29, 1995.
    • "Outlining the Reading Process" (Chapter One from "Theories in Use"), German Graduate Student Dissertation Colloquium, New York University, New York, NY, USA, April 17, 1995.
    • "Pre-reading Activities That Facilitate Cross-Cultural Readings of Literary Texts," The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, New York, NY, USA, April 6-9, 1995.
  • Media Appearances

    • "Reaction to January 6th (USA)," WDR LOKALZEIT, West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, January 7, 2021.
    • "Reaction to January 6th(USA)," WDR 2 RADIO (live interview), West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, January 9, 2021.
    • "Reaction to January 6th(USA)," WDR 5 RADIO (pre-taped interview), West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, January 9, 2021.
    • "President Biden’s Inauguration Ceremony (Commentary)," WDR LOKALZEIT, West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, January 20, 2020.
    • "Wahl Abend USA 2020," WDR LOKALZEIT, West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, November 4, 2020.
    • "Limettenduft und Mandelsplitter – Eine Kuchenreise durch das Münsterland," WDR Television Station, West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, March 30, 2018.
    • "Kuchenrezepte: American Apple Pie," WDR LOKALZEIT, West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, March 23, 2018.
    • "Education in America," live interview on RADIO Q, Münster, Germany, January 12, 2018.
    • "The Day AFTER the Election: Trump Special" special guest (live interview) on WDR LOKALZEIT, West German Broadcasting Company, Münster, Germany, November 9, 2016.
  • Memberships

    • American Association of Teachers of German (AATG)
    • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
    • Modern Language Association (MLA)
    • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
    • Democrats Abroad
  • Teaching