Beginning in the second year, graduate students in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies teach one course per semester as either an instructor of record or as a teaching assistant for a large undergraduate lecture course taught by a CDG faculty member. After their six years of support, CDG students generally acquire at least two years of teaching experience at a large public university, UNC-Chapel Hill, and a smaller private one, Duke University.
Preparation for Teacher Training: Year One
Teacher training is an essential component for success in CDG. In order to be authorized to teach German as a foreign language in year two, graduate students must demonstrate C1 mastery of German or beyond according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) before their first teaching assignment. German language proficiency is first evaluated in the first semester of year one using an official Goethe Institut language text administered by authorized examiners at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.
Entering the Language Program: Year Two and Beyond
Prior to the beginning of their second academic year with CDG, all new TAs participate in a Teaching Assistant Orientation Workshop led by the Language Program Directors from both universities. New TAs then enroll in GERM 700, Foreign Language Pedagogy: Theories and Practice concurrently with their first semester of teaching. Most new TAs are typically though not always assigned beginning German (either 101 or 102) in their first semester. The German language programs at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University have an exhaustive archive of materials, which ensure that new and experienced TAs alike can strike a healthy balance between their teaching assignment and their coursework. In subsequent semesters, different teaching assignments ensure that each CDG graduate student expands their teaching portfolio as much as possible by using a wide variety of textbooks like Auf geht’s, Der|Die|Das, Weiter geht’s, Mein Leben in Deutschland, Sicher! and Deutsch üben. CDG strives to ensure that all TAs acquire experience with the entirety of each university’s language program (beginning, intermediate and advanced German) and gain experience teaching content courses on topics like Marx, Nietzsche, Freud; the Grimms fairy tales; German film in Hollywood exile; and medieval Europe in contemporary cinema.
GERM 700, Foreign Language Pedagogy: Theories and Practice
GERM 700 provides TAs with foundational knowledge essential for teaching German as a foreign language at U.S. colleges and universities. Throughout this hands-on course, graduate students engage theories of applied linguistics, foreign language learning and pedagogy, and curriculum design all from the practical perspective of the actual German language classrooms at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. Structuring lesson plans, observing peers and mentors in the classroom, reflecting critically on one’s own teaching and students’ learning, and creating a teaching philosophy are just some of the practical activities included in the course. In addition to learning various teaching methods and approaches, students also focus on best practices for supporting students’ different modalities, teaching for intercultural understanding, building inclusive curricula, and developing one’s teaching portfolio for future careers.