Level III: Advanced German: German Stories, German Histories


German 101, 102, 111


This course description pertains to both the one-semester intensive (6 credits) and the two-semester non-intensive ( 3 credits plus 3 credits) version of Level III within the German Department’s nationally recognized integrated curriculum “Developing Multiple Literacies”. The course is designed to provide students thorough exposure to contemporary historical and social issues in Germany from 1945 to the present.

In Intensive Advanced we explore the following themes:
Theme 1: Deutschland nach 1945: Kriegsende, deutsche Teilung, Wiederaufbau
Theme 2: Zwei deutsche Staaten (1949-1989)
Theme 3: Der Fall der Mauer und seine Konsequenzen
Theme 4: Deutschland: Unterwegs zur multikulturellen Gesellschaft

Drawing on the dual meaning of the German word Geschichte (i.e., history and story), the theme-oriented instructional units in Level III emphasize personal and public stories in German history, while connecting oral narratives with written narratives. Students improve their ability to narrate, compare and contrast and establish causal relationships in speaking and writing. Through the integration of all modalities, this course promotes accuracy, fluency and complexity in language use. The development of advanced reading and writing is considered the primary means for expanding students’ language abilities at this level of language instruction.

Approach and Components

In this theme-based course, students gain background knowledge about public events in postwar German history and then read and view personal narratives about these events for the purposes of examining the intersection of the public and private spheres of contemporary German society. Each thematic unit lasts approximately three/seven weeks, thereby allowing students to encounter multiple perspectives and genres in both written and oral forms. The texts themselves provide the textual, informational, and lexicogrammatical features that serve as the basis for developing students’ abilities as advanced learners of German. In other words, the texts act as a blueprint for the type of language use that is emphasized at this level. During the course of each thematic unit, students focus on specific aspects of advanced language use and exhibit their developing abilities on formally assessed speaking and writing tasks. In addition, students will periodically be quizzed on specific language features that have received explicit instructional attention.


Students read extensively throughout the course of the semester. Effective reading behaviors will be introduced, modeled, and practiced in class to promote productive, independent readers. Reading-based tasks, prepared outside of class and often including a lexicogrammatical focus, provide the foundation for further text work in class. The readings represent a range of genres and perspectives and thereby allow students to develop the ability to recognize author intentionality and genre-specific features. In addition, students read an English-language history of Germany in order to gain a broad historical context for the shorter and more topically oriented readings in German. Short graded written assignments will accompany the readings.


By producing their own written texts based on textual models, students will begin to integrate topical information from the readings on German culture and history. Essay writing adheres to a multi-draft, process-oriented approach and progresses in length, complexity and type of narrative (i.e., personal to public). In addition, short writing assignments will also enhance relevant vocabulary and structures.


Increasing fluency, complexity, and accuracy of speech is a primary goal of this course. Thus opportunities for speaking — including individual, paired and group work –are a central component of the curriculum.


At this level, students listen to increasingly longer segments of oral speech (full length films and videos from German television). While the development of listening abilities is an integral part of daily classroom interaction, students will be given specific tasks and guidelines for intensive listening work outside of class.

By the end of Level III, students will

  • have an understanding of post-war historical events and of contemporary life in Germany;
  • know how to approach authentic materials (television, news programs; videos) and use acquired knowledge to discuss and understand related issues;
  • produce paragraph-length dialogue, moving from the personal to the public narrative and to the formulation of argument and critical analysis in a formal setting;
  • possess knowledge of phrases necessary to engage in meaningful interactive discussion;
  • read non-fiction and literary texts independently;
  • improve their writing abilities through regular composition assignments
  • possess strategies for vocabulary building and reading


  • Course Packet consisting of authentic German texts and other materials.
  • Mary Fulbrook. The Divided Nation. The History of Germany 1918-1989. Oxford University Press 1991.
  • Larry Wells. Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.(Recommended grammar review)
  • In addition to these materials, students at this level should invest in a German-German dictionary, such as the Langenscheidt Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache.

Modes of Assessment

Class participation (15 %)
Since regular class participation is essential for learning a language, participation is monitored on a daily basis and represents a substantial portion of the final grade. By coming prepared to class and by participating fully in all classroom activities, students will
1) build up confidence in using German;
2) learn how to find a balance between accuracy, fluency, and complexity.
Students will receive written assessment of their class participation, including group and partner work, after completion of each theme. This feedback will enable students to identify areas of language use that need further attention.

Assessment of class participation is based on the following criteria:

Grade Criteria



always well prepared; attentive and volunteers occasionally; tries to use German with classmates and instructor; makes the most of each activity or exercise; shows real resourcefulness and imagination when using the language; responds to and engages classmates in a respectful manner; remains critical and open-minded toward target and native culture



usually well prepared; attentive and volunteers occasionally; tries to use German with classmates and instructor; makes the most of each activity or exercise; completes activities and exercises with some imagination and resourcefulness; makes some effort to engage fellow students; shows some development of cultural sensitivity


adequately prepared and attentive; occasionally needs to be reminded to use German with instructor and classmates; responds and completes exercises with minimal imagination; does not engage classmates beyond the minimum requirements for an assignment


usually unprepared; makes little effort to participate or complete exercises; rarely tries to use German with instructor or classmates


makes no contribution to class whatsoever

Speaking tasks (10%)
Every student will participate in formally assessed speaking tasks, typically structured as panel discussions or talk shows, several times during the semester. The contributions to these prepared discussions will be graded according to specific guidelines handed out in advance.

Essay writing (25%)
Our approach to writing is process-oriented. There will be regular essay assignments, each with a rewrite. Essays are to be typed, 12 point, double-spaced with 1″ margins and handed in on time. Specific guidelines will be given in advance of each essay, along with information regarding the features that are expected. First drafts are graded and returned with extensive feedback to help students revise their work. Revised essays are also corrected and graded and can improve the final essay grade, which will be the average of the two grades.

Quizzes (10%)
Students will have short quizzes which target content vocabulary and specific work done in class on formal aspects of the language.

Homework (25%)
There will be regular assignments to be handed in. These include worksheets for extensive reading and listening outside of class. All assignments will be assessed on thoroughness and accuracy. Included in this assessment category are the responses to the Fulbrook text. All assignments will be graded according to the following criteria:

  • “check plus”(95%): Homework handed in on time and indicating a very thorough effort, including a conscious attempt to use language features emphasized in class;
  • “check”(80%): Homework handed in on time and indicating a satisfactory effort;
  • “check minus”(65%): Homework handed in on time but indicatng an unsatisfactory effort.

Note: Late homework will be assessed of penalty of 20% for each class day. Because of this policy, any homework assignment that is turned in more than 5 class days after it is due will receive no credit.

Final Exam (15%)
The final exam will be administered during the exam period at the end of the semester and will consits of textual, informational, and grammatical features that were emphasized during the semester.

Attendance Policy
Regular attendance is crucial for learning a foreign language. You will be allowed a maximum of 3 absences for routine doctor visits and travel for non-emergencies, etc. during the semester without a penality. Beginning with the fourth absence, a penalty of – 1% will be levied on the earned final grade for each class missed. Extended illnesses and familiy emergencies will be treated as exceptions, and absences for these reasons will be excused. Be prepared to show proof of the need for these absences, however, if your instructor asks for it.

Departmental Activities

Your instructor will keep you informed of departmental and campus events related to the German-speaking world. One way of receiving the latest information from the department is by joining the department’s listserve. Information on how to join is in the front of your course packets.

All courses in the Department of German strictly adhere to the Honor Code of Georgetown University. Your work in class and on all take-home assignments should be your own. If you have questions about what constitutes academic honesty within the framework of this course, please speak with your instructor. In cases of alleged violations, the procedures described in the Honor Code will be followed.

Updated August 11, 2004