Moving beyond the focus on personal identity emphasized in Level I, Level II at Emory is a two-course sequence (German 201 & 202) that explores how various societal factors have affected German-speaking youths’ coming of age in different time periods in the German-speaking world and draws comparisons with comings of age in English language cultures. Within this overarching thematic focus on coming of age, the course examines six sub-themes as they pertain to coming of age:
- German 201:
- Family (conformity to or rebellion against family order)
- Nature (nature as a hindrance or ally for maturation)
- Travel (gaining self-knowledge through travel)
- German 202:
- Education (pursuing knowledge within confines of educational institutions)
- War (constructive and destructive aspects of war on one’s maturation)
- Love (liberating or debilitating effects of love)
Through this focus on coming of age at different moments in German cultural history, students build on the foundation established in Level I and develop further their abilities as readers, writers, and speakers of German. They use theme-based readings and a grammar review textbook to acquire the language necessary to communicate meaningfully about the topic of coming of age. One of the criteria for choosing the sub-themes for Level II was to achieve some overlap with the topics discussed at Level I. By revisiting some of the same themes (e.g., family, travel, school), albeit from a different perspective and with a different focus, students are able to find some familiar ground for developing their language abilities further.
In terms of students’ long-term language development, Level II continues the focus on story telling that was emphasized in Level I but it will look to expand on that ability by working to not only tell stories, but also compare, contrast, and explain the events in those stories. In addition, students’ narratives will consist of more detailed and sophisticated information that becomes linguistically possible through command of a wider array of lexico-grammatical features.
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