Teaching in German changes to fit your needs in the different years of your course.
In first year, teaching arrangements depend on whether you are studying German 1A, which is normally taken by students who do not have a school-leaving qualification in German, or German 1B, which is normally taken by students who already have a Higher, A-level, or equivalent in German.
As a German 1A student, you are taught the language intensively in medium-sized classes (around 18-20 students in a class), and also meet in smaller groups every week for oral practice with a native speaker. You are free to attend the literature lectures delivered to German 1B students.
German 1B students divide their time between developing their ability in the language and extending their knowledge of German, Austrian and Swiss literature, history, and culture. As a German 1B student, your language teaching happens in grammar and text production classes and in weekly meetings in small groups with a native speaker from Germany or Austria. For literature, history and culture, you attend one lecture per week - mainly a listening and learning exercise! - and meet in medium-sized (around 20 students) with a tutor from German to discuss the lecture material, ask questions, and deepen your knowledge.
In second year, all students of German take language classes (as in German 1B), and attend seminar courses on literary, historical, and cultural topics. A seminar will normally have around 20-25 students, and involves intensive group discussion and sometimes activities in smaller working groups within the class.
Most students spend the third year of their course abroad, at university or as a language assistant. The year abroad is an integral part of any honours degree with German, preparing students for the more advanced language and literature classes in fourth year. The work completed during the year abroad counts towards the final year. You will normally only take 3rd year German in Edinburgh if you are not taking an honours degree. Those students who do stay in Edinburgh take language and literature/culture courses similar to those taken by students in German 4 (fourth year).
In your fourth and final year as a student of German, you continue work on German language at a high level. You may attend a translation course, and will certainly practise your comprehension and writing skills in German as well as meeting with a native speaker once a week, in small groups, for speaking practice.
Seminars in fourth year are intensively-taught, specialist courses, normally offered by members of the German staff to reflect their own research interests and expertise. You choose one, two or four different seminar courses, depending on which degree you are studying for - the topics you study might be anything from Brecht to German-Jewish studies to the medieval period to German-Turkish writing. Topics change from year to year. Be prepared to be surprised!
Throughout your studies here, we expect you to further develop your knowledge and understanding through self-study. For this, we encourage you to get together with other students in small learning groups as well as to work independently and at your own pace, making use of the library, the multi-media facilities at the Languages and Humanities Centre and of the e-learning facilities provided, for example via our course specific WebCT pages or via the internet.
Some useful links can be found here:
This article was published on Nov 8, 2011