German Studies is the interdisciplinary study of the contemporary cultural, social, economic and political life of the German-speaking peoples in their historical and international contexts. The German faculty of Pomona and Scripps colleges offer a single unified and comprehensive curriculum for language, literature and cultural studies courses. The specific outcome of a Major in the Claremont German Program is the educated speaker with translingual and transcultural competence. This means the ability to operate between languages. Our students are educated to be informed and capable interlocutors with educated native speakers in the target language.
The multiple tasks for this outcome can be broken down into a set of key abilities. All abilities are in play in all our courses - to varying extents and with different emphases. Contrary to the common distinction between skill and content courses, roughly corresponding to the division between language courses and "upper-division" courses in a Fl department, we believe that there is no language teaching without involving content of the target language/culture; and inversely, even our advanced courses still also work on language improvement. Our teaching, therefore, simply shifts its emphases on the central goals along an axis from beginning language learning to transcultural competence.
Learning Goals in the Study of German Language
All Students in German: All German language students (German 1-33) should achieve the B-2 level of the internationally recognized Goethe Institute exam, which follows the EU frame of reference for scholastic performance (CEFR). This entails the ability to converse in German on a wide range of topics, to comprehend basic German texts, and to write on non-technical topics.
German Majors additionally should be able to: German majors should achieve the C-1 level of the language in the CEFR. This means the ability to converse in German on a wide range of topics, including academic topics, to comprehend and analyze German texts, and to write critically on a broad range of topics.
Language Assessment Tools
Each class requires:
- Course evaluations - all geared toward the overarching goal.
- Study Abroad (providing an outside perspective for German language and culture evaluation). We are developing ways to better integrate and, hence, assess, students abilities after their return from Study Abroad.
Learning Goals in the Study of German Culture
Majors should be able to:
- navigate the German Internet;
- function independently in a German-speaking environment;
- have a broad understanding of the historical political, cultural events that shape contemporary Germany;
- be familiar with representative works of German literature, fine arts, music, cinema, and architecture;
- acquire cultural competency understood as historical and political awareness, social sensibility, and aesthetic perception;
- understand how German cultural reality is constantly renewed in daily life through cultural subsystems such as:
- the media
- literary and artistic works;
- social and historical narratives in the arts, the legal, political, educational economic and social welfare systems
- sport or leisure, together with the cultural metaphors they have created and their relation to the national imagination
- stereotypes of self and others
- symbols and sites of memory/history, such as buildings, places, landscapes, historical figures, popular heroes, culture-specific products, literary and artistic canons, fashion, cuisine, etc.
Cultural Studies Assessment Tools
- Each course has its appropriate form of assessment (written exam; oral presentations; essays; media project, etc.)
- Study Abroad
- Senior Exercise:
- Option 1: Senior Exercise consisting of three essays, one in German, two in English, based on previous course work; and an Oral exam (in German) to discuss the results of the written part.
- Option 2: Senior Thesis with a required presentation.
Three times in the course of study, students and their advisors meet to develop and reassess a coherent plan of study and assess the student's progress. The first meeting is required when declaring the major; the second at the beginning of the senior year; the third is a progress evaluation on the student's senior exercise (either comps or thesis) and may fall into the middle of the first or second semester of the senior year, depending on whether it is a two or one semester project. At each stage, a brief report is drawn up, addressing such things as courses taken and still to be taken; matters of SA; senior exercise, etc. These reports, together with the grades (and any additional written feedback from the instructors) of all upper-division courses form a mini-portfolio of student progress and evaluation.
Feedback-loop and Use of Results Toward Program Improvement
G&Ru will in the future continue to hold its thesis presentations jointly and as a faculty jointly discuss and assess this part of students' work with a view to improving the senior exercise and, if need be, preceding course work and learning goals.