A new way of learning an old language

By Heidi Heater, a sophomore from Jackson, Ky.

WILMORE, KY— Fantastisch! Prima! Hervorragend! Klasse! Words first-year German students at Asbury College are using to say “thanks” to German Professor Penny Lamb. This year Lamb is debuting the new German curriculum Auf geht’s! (“Let’s Go!”) at the College. This new curriculum uses innovative technology to help students who are studying German to meet the College’s foreign language requirement.

german06.jpgAuf geht’s! was designed by a group of German professors, headed by Lee Forester of Hope College. This program has no textbook, only an interactive CD and a workbook. The interactive CD allows students to practice pronunciation as many times as needed.

The program also introduces the new topics and provides review exercises for students to do on their own time. Since the CD introduces the new concepts, class time can be devoted to applying what has been learned.

Freshman Heather Krauss from Marietta, Ohio, likes the program because it is always available for reference. “If you had only the teacher to tell you things, you would have no one to ask if you had a question while doing your homework,” she said.

At first sight, Lamb was intimidated because the curriculum had no textbook. She decided to take the plunge and now feels that this new program has better immersed her students in the German language.

Sophomore Klein Maetschke from New Albany, Ind., who took two years of German in high school is impressed with the program’s innovative teaching style. “I feel like I’m retaining more,” he said.

Instead of overwhelming first year students with complicated grammar, this CD emphasizes conversation, giving only the grammar necessary for the particular exercise.

According to Lamb, “Students can learn the grammar, but that doesn’t mean they can apply those rules to real conversation.” She also feels that it is impossible to learn a language without knowing about the culture. This program teaches the language in the context of the German culture.

Auf geht’s! has a website and invites German professors to add information. Lamb is a regular contributor. She is also in contact with Forester, the author of the curriculum, twice a week via e-mail. Since the curriculum is on a CD it can be updated without additional cost whenever new information is available.

Forester and the other developers are currently in the process of building the same program for second-year German students. Lamb and her students are testing the curriculum. “I like the fact that what my students have to say about the program, will have an affect on the final product,” she said.Visit the foreign languages web site for more information.

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