Following a vibrant seminar for faculty at small German programs in the US organized and funded by the American Association of Teachers of German, I immediately devised plans to implement units that foreground work with cultural artifacts or themes in all levels of German instruction. I was inspired by a presentation on the integrated language/culture curriculum, a guiding paradigm for my own curricular work, that I hope to continue on this blog and elsewhere.
The premise of the integrated curriculum, excellently synthesized and presented at the seminar by Jennifer Redmann (Franklin and Marshall College): proactively devising lessons, units, syllabi, and courses in ways that work against a bifurcation of the curriculum proper. By integrating language/culture/analysis across the curriculum, students have a better chance to maintain interest in German Studies beyond requirements. Moreover, students are introduced to "cultural work," the implementation or mobilization of language to achieve specific means, early on in their German courses and develop specific "literacies" throughout the curriculum. That is, by emphasizing on the presentation and inquiring about personal narratives in the beginning levels, summarizing/early analysis of narratives in intermediate levels, and evaluating and devising arguments about complex narratives at the advanced levels, students work with "narratives" throughout the curriculum. I will go into detail in later posts.
My goal is to document the process of implementing the integrated curriculum approach at SHSU in this blog space. By tracing the development of the curriculum at SHSU and its own transition into two tracks: 1. German and 2. German Studies (with courses offered in English by faculty across disciplines), I will record the growth of the program itself, on the one hand. On the other, I will track student progress and response to this approach anecdotally.
The seminar brought a great number of faculty across the US in contact with one another. A number of us thought it productive to start working toward a shared database around individual lessons, units, syllabi, etc. As part of this effort, I hope to track the development and the resource sharing efforts here as well. In my mind, the integrated curriculum presents an ideal scenario to steer away from expensive textbooks and toward more inclusive use and sharing of materials.