Well, here I am, at the “final” chapter of this project – and yet I still feel that all I have given you, my loyal reader, is two abnormally-long blog posts and whatever ends up in this one. You may be disappointed after this, and some of you may even get to say “I told you so!” Whatever the case, I can sincerely promise you I am not done. My background in Language Acquisition before this project was minimal, in Pedagogy virtually non-existent; thus, I entered this project basically as a student of German, yet feel that my commitment and effort on it speaks to my newfound passion for the former two fields of study. I will not give-up on these passions easily, and thus plan to return to this research, whether it be next summer or as a graduate student.
First off, I apologize for this blog coming so late – if there is one thing I have learned from this process, it’s that doing things when you have the time to do them is important; otherwise, you may have to put off what you are passionate about to make room for the passions of those who are either paying or grading you. That all said, let me share the main chunk of what I have done with my research since I last checked-in: my textbook survey.
Hey everyone! Mike Schilling reporting from Byram, New Jersey. To anyone who has been checking this blog daily since my abstract post in April, I apologize; May and June have been two crazy months. Amidst all the craziness, though, were e-mails, interviews, book-collecting, and reading, all pertaining to this project, so your wait is now over. The products of my work so far (4 interviews, twenty-some textbooks on the floor of my bedroom, and a marked-up monograph on current language pedagogy) may not seem like much, but they have enabled me to lay the foundation for the house that will be my project (cheesy metaphors: 1, Mike: 0).
For my Freshman Monroe Project this summer, I will be investigating the many changes that have occurred over the past three decades in the instruction of German language. My research will be done through readings of textbooks and articles, and interviews with current German-language educators. Through this research, I hope to determine the changes that have occurred in the instruction, as well as why these changes have occurred. Specifically, I hope to examine the changes in the presentation of grammatical concepts such as case and the subjunctive mood, both of which are uncommon to English-speaking students learning their first non-native language. Furthermore, I want to examine the changing emphasis on German cultural instruction in the classroom, and whether or not the current greater emphasis takes away from instruction of the grammar. In order to evaluate the several changes I plan to find, I will use the opinions I obtain in the interviews, as well as information from current articles in foreign-language pedagogy and acquisition.