This course will suit you if you have studied German for five or more terms. It continues on from the current Upper Improvers course but is also suitable for students from the Lower Improvers course who have completed Schritte 3 International and wish to continue their learning. Its aim is to develop your ability to respond to spoken and written German, and to help you communicate effectively in authentic situations. You will be familiar with prepositions, cases and associated adjectival declensions, with the perfect tense and basic rules of word order. Classes will be an opportunity to continuously review these grammar points and to increase your confidence in applying your grammatical knowledge. Topics include expressing wishes and preferences, navigating through town such as giving directions and finding your way around new places; managing money/banking; and weather, travel and bookings. The geography and culture of the German-speaking world will also be explored via a variety of authentic sources and the occasional reading of poems or short stories. Please bring a ring binder to each lesson for the grammar notes and supplementary material that will be provided by the teacher during the course of the term.
An important component of the course is conversation without neglecting the basics of German grammar in order to enable you to manipulate the language successfully. In addition, you will develop listening skills to prepare you to cope with the unexpected. You will be encouraged to build up your own vocabulary lists and to consolidate material covered in class between lessons. As appropriate vocabulary learning will be supported through custom-made study sets on Quizlet, a free online language-learning site, and small weekly home-works will be set.
The course book is "Schritte International 4 Neu" (Hueber), ISBN 978-3196010848, of which we will be covering the second half. You are also advised to get a copy of ‘Schaum’s German Grammar’, 5th edition ISBN-13: 978-0071824705. As regards dictionaries, in addition to investing into a hard copy there are a number of good on-line dictionaries, such as leo.org, wordreference.com/de, or dict.cc.
Nikola Baumgarten is a native speaker of German with a long-standing interest in education and teaching. She has a PhD in American History and a M.Ed. in Educational Research, which focused on foreign language teaching in English primary and secondary schools. Extensive classroom observations of French lessons and student interviews formed the backbone of her research. Since coming to Cambridge she has supervised language students at Cambridge Colleges and taught at the German Saturday School for primary age bilingual children. She also has a PGCE in foreign languages. Next to AE classes Nikola teaches German in the Language Center of the University of Cambridge.