Published on January 28, 2008
Constructing an Integrated Curriculum: Consider diverse needs of students Interests and backgrounds: build on previous knowledge, connections to other disciplines. Different entry and exit points: reflect all goals in each level. Consider educational and departmental mission Development of multiple literacies (reading critically,speaking effectively). Introduction to discipline (language, literary, cultural studies). Consider current research and scholarship Inseparbility of language and content; skill and knowledge. Interdependence of all four modalities in language acquisition. Culture as product and process; language as social practice. Order of language acquisiton; research on interlanguage. Allow for flexibility without sacrificing coherence Instructor/learner choice in materials selection; no “canned” syllabi. Constructing an Integrated Curriculum Curricular Goals: Curricular Goals Language proficiency The development of students’ ability to use the German language effectively in the interpretation, negotiation, and communication of meaning within German-speaking cultures in a range of personal and professional contexts. Foreign Cultural Literacy The development of knowledge and understanding of German history, culture, and society. The development of cross- and intercultural awareness through a profound and multi-faceted confrontation with difference. Critical, Reflective, and Creative Engagement The development of aesthetic, interpretive, critical, and creative capacities through engagement with cultural products and processes. The development of students’ ability to explore relationships between culture and identity, language and power, reader and text. Guiding Principles: Guiding Principles Integration of language, literature, culture at ALL levels Committed to intellectually and theoretically grounded view of language as social and cultural practice; inseparability of “skill” and “knowledge.” Culture is not an “add-on”; not a “5th skill,” but reflected and constructed by language. Topic organized syllabi fostering cultural literacy Language learned best through content; dependent on social context. Proficiency is not simply “ability to communicate”; it is the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in specific social and professional contexts. Sequencing and spiraling of material Expansion and deepening of previously gained knowledge / skills / perspectives (recycling, spiraling), while adding new ones; considers order of language acquisition. Builds on K-12 “Standards”, connects to upper division courses. Multiple Assessment Measures Class participation, oral and written performance, exams, projects/portfolios. Intro to German: First Encounters(Language Proficiency)[Interpretation and Production of Texts in Specific Contexts]: Intro to German: First Encounters (Language Proficiency) [Interpretation and Production of Texts in Specific Contexts] Speaking and Writing Fosters basic, interpersonal interactions encountered in every-day life. Sentence-level discourse in speaking: more sustained narration and description in writing (also: creative writing). Focus on form: basic structures (verb conjugations and verb tenses, gender and case,word order, basic patterns of subordination). (Not entire grammatical system.) Reading and Listening Intensive: fosters ability to read for meaning and information in short texts normally encountered in every-day life (schedules, ads, cartoons, stories, short news reports, TV commercials). Extensive: fosters ability to read longer, unglossed texts for pleasure and enjoyment; source of massive comprehensible input. (Graded Readers, fairy tales, children’s books and videos, Internet). Focus on Form: “Reading Grammar” for passive, not active use; introduce simple past tense early on. Intro to German: First Encounters(Foreign Cultural Literacy)[Contents / Contexts]: Intro to German: First Encounters (Foreign Cultural Literacy) [Contents / Contexts] Topics linked to Contexts linked to Cultural Products Concrete topics dealing with every-day events and situations (e.g. family, leisure, work, food, travel, housing, education) Introduction to major social institutions, political parties, historical events, cultural and political figures, and concepts that are familiar to most German-speaking populations. Exposure to some of major cultural products (art, architecture, music, poetry, film, legends, literature, etc.) with which most German-speakers are familiar. Texts Every-day “realia” (contained in most current textbooks). Background readings / videos / internet resources in English (e.g. Meet United Germany These Strange German Ways [Stern], Federal Republic of Germany: Questions and Answers [Embassy Website], The Germans [Craig], newspaper and journal articles; Videos on United Germany, Kafka, Bauhaus, etc.). Texts in German (poetry, art, songs, urban legends, films/videos, stories). Intro to German: First Encounters(Critical / Creative Engagement)[Tasks, Pedagogical Strategies]: Intro to German: First Encounters (Critical / Creative Engagement) [Tasks, Pedagogical Strategies] Playing with language Writing and/or performing poems, rhymes. Role playing, creating and performing skits. Reader’s theater. Drawing or acting out idiomatic expressions. Confronting difference Journal writing / email discussion of what one finds foreign, alien, strange. Reflection on cultural/national stereotypes. Ethnographic inquiry (interviews, email partnerships, chat-rooms with native speakers and with Americans studying abroad) and analysis. Making Connections Drawing connections between language forms and communicative intent (e.g. with concrete poetry). Attending to historical/cultural embeddedness of language (e.g. “das Volk”). Guest speakers from within or outside department to discuss content from discipline (e.g. linguist [past tenses], medievalist [poetry], historian [Holocaust]. Intermediate German: Contemporary Life(Language Proficiency): Intermediate German: Contemporary Life (Language Proficiency) Speaking and Writing Develops increased ability to sustain interpersonal conversations on concrete topics encountered in every-day life with greater vocabulary, fluency and accuracy. Fosters more extended discourse (narration, description). Speaking activities range from guided/controlled scenarios to open discussions (controlled practice of structures in context, role plays, interviews, summaries, mini-oral reports). Writing assignments range from form-focused practice to informal writing to formal essays (response journals, diaries, letters, short paragraphs, newsgroup/email discussion, guided process essays with peer editing). Reading and Listening Develops ability to understand literary and non-literary texts from wide array of media on relatively familiar topics with some measure of vocabulary help and cultural context provided (pre-reading/listening; reading/listening; post reading/listening tasks). Extensive reading: longer works (e.g full-length play or prose work) containing largely familiar sentence patterns and clear underlying structure (e.g. Jugendliteratur, plays, films). Intermediate German: Contemporary Life(Foreign Cultural Literacy): Intermediate German: Contemporary Life (Foreign Cultural Literacy) Topics / Contexts / Cultural Products Topics should expand and deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of life in German-speaking countries (e.g. family, leisure, work, education, environment), with more emphasis on the context of contemporary social issues (see below). Topics should be dealt with in the context of important issues affecting German society today (e.g. reunification, multiculturalism, dealing with the past [Holocaust], Germany’s role in Europe, effects of globalization). Continued exposure to major cultural products of general familiarity to German-speaking populations (art, architecture, music, poetry, film, TV, news-media, popular culture). Texts Articles from popular newspapers / magazines; short stories and narratives with gripping story lines that do not require an inordinate amount of cultural background and linguistic knowledge to comprehend; interviews; songs; talk shows, films. At least one longer prose text or play (see “extensive reading”) at end of each semester (e.g. Die Ilse ist weg [Noestlinger]; Biedermann.. [Frisch]). Two or three full-length films each semester. (Keep students’ background knowledge, linguistic abilities, and interests in mind!) Intermediate German: Contemporary Life(Critical / Creative Engagement): Intermediate German: Contemporary Life (Critical / Creative Engagement) Playing with language Role plays enacting scenes explicit or implicit in text. Performances (poetry, reader’s theater, scenes from play). Writing “Dear Abby” letters, diaries, narrations or descriptions from perspective of different character or context. Creating “living statues” (Standbilder) depicting relationships in text. Confronting difference Journal writing / email discussion on personal reactions to texts. Comparing summaries of texts and analyzing differences in emphasis, etc. Ethnographic inquiry (interviews, email exchanges, deducing social / cultural values implicit, but not stated directly in texts [e.g. with Jugendliteratur]) ; identify and analyze situational culture clashes. Making connections Group projects involving independent learning (e.g. Internet projects). Reflecting on relationships between language forms and communicative intent. Translation projects (e.g. of poems or short stories). Guest speakers from department or other disciplines. Advanced German: Expanding Perspectives(Language Proficiency): Advanced German: Expanding Perspectives (Language Proficiency) Speaking and Writing Develops students’ ability to carry out sustained discourse in both informal and more formal situations (e.g. oral presentations) on a wide range of concrete topics and current events. Students should be stretched to express and defend points of view, persuade an audience, and discuss more abstract topics. Speaking activities include focused practice with more complex structures and syntactical forms (e.g. subordinate and relative clauses, passive and subjunctive) and discourse markers (e.g. “einerseits-andererseits”), short oral reports, longer oral presentations, debates, extended guided discussion. Writing activities include Reading Journals / email discussion (informal writing), process essays resulting in 2-3 page formal essays, practicing diverse forms (e.g. autobiographical narrative, newspaper article, film review, parody, narrative). Reading and Listening Literary and non-literary texts from a wide array of media and genre (increased attention to genre and style); increased linguistic and propositional complexity. Focus on form: indirect discourse, extended adjective modifiers, subj. use of modals, etc. Extensive Reading: full-length play or novel in each semester with gripping story-line and less complex linguistic / propositional demands. Advanced German: Expanding Perspectives(Foreign Cultural Literacy): Advanced German: Expanding Perspectives (Foreign Cultural Literacy) Topics / Contexts / Cultural Products Issues of social significance in contemporary Germany (problems connected with reunification, multiculturalism, gender issues, globalisation, role of Germany in the EU, remembering the holocaust, identity and nation, science and technology) are the explicit topical focus of these courses. Where possible, these issues should be placed in their historical contexts, and the second semester could explore a single topic diachronically, through the distant and more recent past. Cultural representations from popular and high culture (art, architecture, music, poetry, film, TV, news-media, literature). Focus on distinguishing features of different media and genre (e.g. soap opera vs. Familienserie). Texts Articles from slightly more challenging newspapers / magazines / journals; short stories; TV shows (various genre); books; songs; Internet; Jugendliteratur, etc. At least one full-length novel or play in each semester (e.g. Die Geschichte von Herrn Sommer [Suesskind], Der Vorleser [Schlink], Homo Faber [Frisch]). At least 3 full length films each semester. Advanced German: Expanding Perspectives(Critical / Creative Engagement): Advanced German: Expanding Perspectives (Critical / Creative Engagement) Playing with language Performances (scenes, poetry, role plays, reader’s theater). Imitating / parodying a particular style or genre. Talk shows with figures from / authors of texts. Writing on single issue for different audiences. Confronting difference Journal writing / email discussion on personal responses to course material. Ethnographic inquiry (see Intermediate above). Comparing / contrasting German and American news coverage of same event. Comparing / contrasting German and American version of same genre. Making connections Group projects involving independent learning and collaborative preparation. Comparing how different media / genre can deal with a single issue in different ways. Reflecting on relationships between language, form, and communicative intent. Guest speakers from department or other disciplines.