Modern Languages - A bit more German, bitte

17th February 2012 at 00:00

What it's about

While there has been a marked decline in the take-up of modern languages, it is dispiriting that some have gained prominence over others, writes Neil Jeffery.

Getting started

German has had a raw deal recently, because French and Spanish are deemed easier, but there are several reason why German should be taught. Germany is one of the economic powerhouses of the world, and the language is spoken by the most people in the EU.

The German language is rich and permeates so many subjects across the curriculum, quite apart from the obvious history connection. The music of Beethoven, the drama of Brecht, the cinema of Fassbinder and the literature of Boll can easily be incorporated into German lessons.

There is an obvious case for learning German as a language closely related to our own. Of course, the grammar is complex but we must never allow ourselves to think that pupils should be given the easy route by learning an "easy" language. Pupils do not need to learn how to construct a language first - they can learn it by example.

So, let's fight against the zeitgeist, rid ourselves of the angst and refuse the schadenfreude of others, and get more German taught in our schools.

What else?

Introduce pupils to wonderful aspects of German culture with Beansmeansbooks' PowerPoint and dominoes. ValentineElad has shared a PowerPoint to sell the advantages of studying German. For a cultural introduction to Germany and Austria, try MFLTeacher1's presentation of facts, quiz and fun images. Check out sbehren's "Facts about German" presentation, covering food, famous people and football teams.

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