Teaching and learning German language and culture in higher education in Britain : problems, challenges and didactical implications: a case study
The aim of this thesis is to explore key aspects and problems of the institutionalised teaching and learning of German language and culture in the context of German Studies in British Higher Education (HE). This investigation focuses on teaching and learning experiences in one department of German Studies in the UK, which is the micro-context of the present study, in order to provide an in-depth insight into real-life problems, strengths and weaknesses as they occur in the practice of teaching and learning German. Following Lamb (2004) and Holliday (1994), the present study acts on the assumption that each micro-context does not exist in vacuo but is always embedded in a wider socio-political and education environment, namely the macro-context, which largely determines how and what is taught. The macro-analysis of the present study surveys the socio-political developments that have recently affected the sector of modern languages and specifically the discipline of German Studies in the UK. It demonstrates the impact they have had on teaching and learning German at the undergraduate level in Britain. This context is interesting inasmuch as the situation in Britain is to a large extent a paradigmatic example of the developments in German Studies in English-speaking countries. Subsequently, the present study explores learning experiences of a group of thirty-five first year students. It focuses on their previous experiences in learning German, exposure to the target language, motivation, learning strategies and difficulties encountered, when learning German at the tertiary level. Then, on the basis of interviews with five lecturers of German, teaching experience in the context under study is explored, problems and successful teaching strategies discussed.