Gillian Schwarz-Peaker, M.A.


Room 3F-O1-08.A


Professional interests:

  • Curriculum development
  • Relationship between reading and writing skills
  • Task-based learning
  • Learner motivation
  • Effective feedback models

On a personal note ...

What do you like most about your job?

The variety it offers. It is never the same, but changes constantly: different courses, different students, different material. I like the fact that you can always improve and better what you are doing from semester to semester so that you can often see tangible results. I also enjoy the fact that working with young people keeps you young yourself.


What's the number one piece of advice you wish you had been given as a student?

Be slow but sure – keep plodding on, doing a little bit every day. I realize now that you don’t need to be brilliant – you just have to be consistent.


Which English word/phrase/grammar point do you especially like to teach to your students?

I love teaching synonyms and exploring the meanings of words which essentially refer to the same thing, but which nonetheless have slight differences.


What’s your favo(u)rite line from a song or your favo(u)rite saying?

As a generally happy-go-lucky person, my favourite saying is “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. No idea who first said it.


When you are not at the department, where do you like to hang out in Vienna?

I love the Afghani restaurant Noosh in Zieglergasse, and the Main library on Urban-Loritz Platz. Otherwise, I’m often found in many of the little cafes and bars in the 7th district.


What's the scariest thing you've ever done in your life?

Many years ago, when I worked in the Middle East, I was asked by a news team from Time magazine to go on a picnic with them on a boat into the Persian Gulf so that they could get nearer to some Iranian boats to see what they were doing and whether they were Iranian soldiers on them (this was during the Iran/Iraq war). The idea was that if we were a group having a picnic, and generally having fun, we would look less suspicious. Well, they were suspicious and the ensuing argument and chase scared me to death – I was sure they were going to shoot us, and that my time was up. The experience certainly put an end to my idea that it was rather glamorous being involved in major news stories, and I kept well away from such undertakings for the rest of my time out there.