Sophie Dorothea Duncker

Sophie Dorothea Duncker

Deputy Head of College,
Teacher of English and Theory of Knowledge


  • 1st and 2nd German State Examination for teaching English and Religious Studies; 1. und 2. Staatsexamen für das Lehramt a Gymnasien, University of Hamburg, Germany

I grew up in England and Germany, and this pattern of combining the two languages and cultures continued throughout my teaching career - I qualified as an English teacher in Germany, but then joined my first IB school in the UK as a German teacher. I have since returned to teaching English, first in Germany, then at the UWCs in Hong Kong and Singapore. More recently, I joined a British IB school as an IB coordinator before deciding to rejoin the UWC community in Dilijan - an irresistible opportunity to once again engage with education in a truly holistic and international context.

What is the favourite part of the course you teach?
I am passionate about English literature, and the Language A courses give incredibly exciting opportunities to engage with the most diverse range of texts in creative and intellectually challenging ways. They're just enormous fun to teach!

Which teaching method do you prefer and why?
My favourite lessons are those in which students work together and find creative approaches to the texts we are studying, making conceptual links between different text types and genres, or connections with art and music. Such presentations are often amazingly diverse and open unusual new perspectives for the reader. 

What advice would you give to a student of your subject?
Read as much as you can, but make sure you enjoy what you have chosen. 

Who is your role model or mentor or who inspires you?
Kurt Hahn. A predictable choice, but he really was an educator with incredible vision and also courage to actively change the world he was born into for the better. Education as a force for change - what an incredible impact his ideas have had in so many different organisations - starting with the holistic models of Salem and Gordonstoun, and leading into Outward Bound and Round Square, as well as the UWC movement and the IB.

What is your life motto?
There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

What are the three things you can't imagine your life without?
Books, a garden and sunshine

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Reading, gardening, seeing as much of the world as I can, and make as many friends as possible.