Teaching German on all levels and researching on how to do this better
Rudolf Reinelt, Ehime University Since 30+ years ago, Japanese university students have reported an increase in their English speaking abilities when taking the presenter’s German beginners’ courses. This “vitalizing” of previously learned foreign language parts was usually reported after several classes with the presenter’s approach based on learner activation with students speaking in class, practice with partners, class practice (not new!), practice fast in short time, and practice with different partners. Searching for research methods to prove the phenomenon and more reliable evidence than the spontaneous and hard to control narratives, the presenter administered a questionnaire at the end of the 2019 second term and asked the learners if and how learning a language other than English influenced or even led to improvement in their English abilities. Bertlinde Voegel, Osaka University The presenter noticed that the students were willing to memorize phrases for dialogues, but they were rather hesitant to apply them in new contexts. In order to enable the students to gain confidence when forming sentences, the presenter asked the students to write texts, for instance about the field trip in High School. German textbooks for adults for the international market don´t cover the topic of trips to Asian destinations and the expressions for describing the fun and joy of being with friends away from home. What experiences are they actually making? An analysis of the texts and suggestions for useful phrases in German will be given.
Despite manifold advances in foreign language teaching materials, textbooks often lag behind and teach inappropriate language or use outdated approaches. This presentation is an attempt at a simple systematization of some of these issues. The audience is made aware of the differences and provided with methods for reducing them. This presentation takes beginners’ courses of German as an example and compares relevant parts of recent Japanese-German textbooks with corresponding parts in the presenter’s approach. The following issues will be addressed: - Limits of literal repetition of sentence parts, - Excessive/superfluous explicitness in German, - Lack of variations where these are preferred, - Sacrificing the target language for teaching traditions and learner convenience, - Lacking linguistic analysis leading to (at best) funny and ironic scenes, and - Overemphasis on grammar where simplicity would serve the learners. Solutions to the issues addressed will be proposed from the presenter’s approach and the audience will be encouraged to look for their own solutions to related issues.