Culture-based textbooks

 

Real communication involves both language and cultural skills. So our curriculum develops language proficiency while simultaneously developing systematic understanding of cultures where German is spoken.

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Cultural curriculum

 

Auf geht’s! and Weiter geht’s! create a community of language learners transformed by the experience of learning both German language and the cultures of the German-speaking regions. We want students to become bilingual, to self-identify as bilingual, and to commit themselves to becoming members of the global community. Their German courses should have a lasting impact and be an key step towards becoming committed lifelong learners of the German language and of other cultures.

 

How do we teach culture?

Learner focused interactions

 

The interactive software presents the bulk of the vocabulary, cultural learning and especially listening activities outside of class, preparing students for writing and classroom activities.

 

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Integrated multiple media

 

Different learning media have strengths and weaknesses. we strive to use multimedia, print, and classroom-based tasks in creative ways though out our curriculum. This allows the strengths of each medium to be emphasized, enhancing student learning.

 

Why not a textbook by itself?

Authentic materials

 

All materials, as an authentic form of content-based education, are about real people and seek to reinforce the broad cultural understanding necessary to engage with people from German-speaking countries.

 

Are they worth it?

Model-based writing

 

The Auf geht’s! Lernbuch has a robust, model-based writing program far beyond anything in traditional textbooks.

How does model-based writing work?

Extensive listening practice

 

Auf geht’s! and Weiter geht’s! use authentic, unscripted narratives that are aimed at non-native speakers. These listening tasks are conducted in the software component, which also provides vocabulary and other support to help students understand. While challenging at first, this approach develops excellent listening comprehension skills.

 

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Culture-based textbooks for College German

 

 

Auf geht’s!

F24C_ph01Designed for First-year German classes, our goal is to target Intermediate Low proficiency in German while providing a well-rounded understanding of everyday life in the German-speaking countries. Auf geht’s! works well for a fast moving one-year course, as well as beginning sequences that are spread over three semesters.

Weiter geht’s! 

Intended for Intermediate German courses, Weiter geht’s! focuses on providing a solid grounding in topics such as multiculturalism, recent German history, German as a social democracy, Switzerland and Austria, and more. The content is designed to help Intermediate-level students “bridge the gap” into upper division culture and literature courses.

 

Cultural curriculum

When AlpsRoadcommunicating with people from different backgrounds, cultural skills are just as important as language skills. Auf geht’s! and Weiter geht’s! set cultural learning on equal footing with language learning, since language and culture are inextricably bound and both are key to future success in life. All materials, as an authentic form of content-based education, are about real people and seek to reinforce the broad cultural understanding necessary to engage with people from German-speaking countries.

Learner focused interactions

Our software has over two dozen K23B_ph01different interactions that activate multiple learning channels for students. The book activities also utilizes dozen of different activities, focusing on creating meaningful, real communication between students in class as well as encouraging students to think and express themselves interculturally through reading and writing.

 Integrated multiple media

Unlike F32x_ph01a monolithic textbook, the Lernbuch used in both Auf geht’s! and Weiter geht’s! does not attempt to fulfill every function. Rather, they are designed to handle the tasks that are best done in print and leave to the interactive software the learning functions that work best in software.

So our Lernbuch combines the best elements of a textbook and a workbook into one medium.

 Authentic materials

 

Our H12H_ph01phrase “Sympauthentic input” refers to unscripted speech elicited from native German speakers speaking to or for non-native German speakers. The interviews that form the core of listening activites for Auf geht’s! were conducted with beginning learners in mind – choosing appropriate interview questions is crucial. Asking “What can Germany do to further world peace?” will elicit a much different response than a question such as “What is in your refrigerator?”

Written texts and listening pieces are drawn from hundreds of interviews with native German speakers, with content appropriate for novice and intermediate learners. This real, unscripted and normal-speed language provides students with excellent training in listening comprehension, preparing students for real encounters in the target language as well as providing natural models for their own production. Careful selection of interview questions and responses, along with varied pedagogical interventions make this authentic language accessible and ‘doable’ for beginning and intermediate learners.

 Model-based writing 

The Auf geht’s! Lernbuch has a robust, H13H_ph02model-based writing program far beyond anything in traditional textbooks. Normally, student writing at the novice level is very limited, and attempts to write beyond their level result either in incomprehensible German or, when students give up, computer-translated text. By providing thorough scaffolding through writing models, students can “bootstrap” their writing and produce meaningful written discourse that is level appropriate and develops their awareness of how German works in a successful manner.

 

Extensive listening practice

We conducted over 240 interviews H33B_ph01with native speakers and long-time residents of Germany, Switzerland and Austria to form the basis for the listening program for Auf geht’s! and Weiter geht’s! The interviews are all unscripted. We culled them for the best and most relevant language samples to serve as listening comprehension texts.

Students learn a very real spoken form of German, and become accustomed to dealing with authentic audio. This prepares them very well for actually using German in “real life”, either in German speaking countries or with German speakers in their own community. We feel that it is crucial to get students used to actual German, because traditional listening texts, scripted to cover grammatical features and spoken slowly and clearly by professional voice talent, aids comprehension but does not actually prepare students well for listening “in the wild”.

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