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Academics: Courses

German Courses

College foreign language requirement
Completion of German 202 satisfies the college core foreign language requirement. Students who have not had any prior German may complete the foreign language requirement in three semesters and an interim by taking German 101 (spring), 102 (fall), 122 (interim), and 202 (spring). Students without prior German may also complete the foreign language requirement in one year by taking German 121 (fall), 122 (interim), and 202 (spring). Students who have had prior German may start with any course in a given sequence according to their ability and comfort level.


Other college core requirements
The Cross-Cultural Engagement core requirement may be met by German W80 (German Interim Abroad).
The core Literature requirement may be met by German 303.
The Rhetoric and Culture core requirement may be met by German 362.
The Arts core may be met by German 371.
The Integrative Studies core requirement may be met by German 395.

German-language abroad opportunities
Calvin offers or sponsors many abroad opportunities in German-speaking Europe. The semester in Vienna, Austria, preceded by one or two months of intensive language learning in Germany, offers both an advanced language, literature and culture track and a core language track for a semester, or the entire year. The core language track requires no prior knowledge of German and can be completed in a semester. On this program students typically accumulate 18-24 semester hours of credit in a semester. Much of what is taken in the advanced track may count toward the German major or minor.
The German Interim Abroad (W80), offered every January, is a four-week course in Germany with homestays in families, interaction with Germans in social institutions (schools, churches and governmental agencies, etc.), and visits to historical sites and cultural events. A Calvin professor prepares the students for cross-cultural interaction before departure, accompanies them throughout, and leads students in reflection on their experience. German 301 or an approved equivalent is the prerequisite for participation on the GIA.
Other abroad opportunities that are regularly available, but must be arranged individually, are the summer work exchange and the summer internship program, both of which typically last 8-12 weeks and take place at sites across Germany.

Core Language Courses

101 Elementary German I (4). S. An introductory course in German language and culture that includes an investigation of cultures of German-speaking countries and training in intercultural skills. The course serves as the first course in a sequence for students with no prior knowledge of German. Students taking German 101 continue with 102 in the fall followed by 122 during interim and 202 in the spring. Students without prior experience with German wishing to begin their language in the fall semester may alternatively enroll in the three-course, accelerated sequence 121-122-202.

102 Elementary German II (4). F. Continuation of German 101. Prerequisite: German 101.

121 Introductory German (4). F. An accelerated introductory course in the German language and culture that includes an investigation of cultures of German-speaking countries and training in intercultural skills. The course serves as both a fast-paced introduction to German for students with no prior knowledge of the language, and as a systematic review and consolidation for students who have taken high school German but who, on the basis of a placement test, are not prepared for German 201. Students taking German 121 continue with 122 during interim and complete the foreign language core requirement with German 202 in the spring.

122 Introductory/Intermediate German (3). I. Continuation of German 102 and 121. Further development of skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing German. Includes investigation of cultural topics, German history, and a study of a variety of texts. Prerequisite: German 102 or 121.

201 Intermediate German I (4). F. Further development of skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing German. Includes systematic grammar review, cultural topics and study of a variety of short literary texts. Prerequisite: German 102 or placement test.

202 Intermediate German II (4). S. Continuation of German 122 or 201. Completion of 202 fulfills the core foreign language requirement. Prerequisite: German 122 or 201.

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Culture and Literature Courses

301 Advanced German Language and Culture (3). F. This course is designed to develop advanced speaking and oral comprehension skills and to prepare students culturally for living short- or long-term in a German-speaking culture. Course materials engage important themes in German history of the 20th and 21st centuries and key issues in contemporary German society. Prerequisite: German 123 or 202.

302 German Culture and Intercultural Studies (3). F odd years. The focus of this course is on cultural learning, intercultural skill building, and cultural intelligence. Through exploration of German cultures, comparisons between German and US American cultures and reflection on cultural identities, students will build their cultural intelligence while improving their German language skills. Key themes include Heimat, history, religion and factors of identity. Course texts range from Jugendliteratur to newspaper articles, film, and poetry. Selections on culture and cultural learning in English will also be assigned. Students are expected to progress in all German language skills as well as their abilities to interact effectively and sensitively across cultural boundaries. Prerequisite: German 123 or 202.

303 Introduction to German Literature (3) S. The course offers an introduction to reading more substantial works of literature than those encountered in core-level courses. Works will be drawn from various periods and from various genres. Attention is also directed at the processes of reading and interpretation, and at what it means to mature as a Christian reader of literature. This course fulfills the core literature requirement. Prerequisite: German 123 or 202.

361 Advanced Writing in Cultural Context (3). F even years. Further development of advanced language skills through intensive work with written, aural and visual media dealing with contemporary issues in the German speaking world. Review of selected grammar topics. Prerequisite: German 301, 302, or 303 or permission of the instructor.

362 Culture and Language through Performed Texts (3). S even years. An introduction to different eras and cultural themes of German-speaking Europe through the reading, interpretation and presentation of a variety of texts. Works studied represent different performance genres, such as medieval mystery plays, sermons, epic poetry, traditional theater, music, radio plays, speeches, modern theater and poetry slams. Students learn to interpret these texts as cultural products with implicit goals, assumptions about audience and the role of performance texts, and worldviews. Connections to specific historical events, the visual arts and literary trends are explored as they relate to historical and contemporary performances of the various German texts. Students are expected to progress in their German language skills, including grammar, reading, speaking, and listening comprehension. This course fulfills the core rhetoric in culture requirement. Prerequisite: German 301, 302, or 303.

371 German Visual Culture and Literature (3). S odd years. An exploration of the culture of German-speaking Europe through its rich and intricately linked traditions of visual and literary culture. Students examine the interplay of texts and a broad variety of visual media including painting, sculpture, photography, theatrical and operatic production, film and television. Students will analyze materials for their rhetorical strategies and how they seek to move their audience with appeals to culturally and historically charged themes. While becoming familiar with salient ideas in German cultural history and the insights offered by a close analysis and appreciation of particular works of literature and art, students will gain valuable experience interpreting German cultural artifacts for their implicit worldviews, assumptions and goals. This course fulfills the core arts requirement. Prerequisite: German 301, 302 or 303.

372 Outside Voices: German Culture from the Margins (3). S even years. This course looks at German cultural history through the eyes of the outsider. Defining “outsider” as anyone marginalized because of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or native language, course materials focus on the nature of exclusion, resistance, and the way German cultural history and national identity have been shaped by voices traditionally outside of the mainstream culture. Perspectives addressed will include the experiences of women, Jews, Turks, Afro-Germans, Muslims and other minority groups. Prerequisite: German 301, 302 or 303.

381 Special Topics (1-2).F, S. (3) F even years. This course offers the opportunity for focused study of a specific work, topic or author in a seminar setting. It includes intensive discussion in German of the topic or work at hand and reading of secondary literature. This course may be repeated if taken for a different topic. Prerequisite: German 301, 302 or 303 or permission of the instructor.

395 German Literature and the Reading Self (3). F odd years. Works by major German authors are studied in relationship to major developments in German culture and society and to other cultural expressions, such as film and visual art. The works studied engage with a range of themes relevant to Christian identity and worldview, such as technology and culture, materialism, existentialism, feminist and environmental concerns, and the self’s relationship to the world. Through study of these texts and reflection on our ways of reading them, the course explores the nature of Christian interpretation and the contours of a Christian practice of reading texts and cultures. This course fulfills the core integrative studies requirement. Prerequisite: German 301, 302, or 303.

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Education

IDIS 356 Introduction to Elementary World-Languages Pedagogy (3). F. Theory and practice of teaching world languages in the elementary school. Study of second language acquisition, methodologies, curricula, and programs. Off-campus school visits for observation and field experience. Should be taken in the junior or senior year, prior to student teaching. Required for elementary and K-12 certification in world languages including ESL. Prerequisite: completion of or concurrent registration in Education 302/303.

IDIS 357 Introduction to Secondary World-Languages Pedagogy (3). F. An introduction to the major principles and practices of teaching world languages, offering a study of various methodologies and the major controversies associated with them. The course explores how a Christian approach to education affects second-language pedagogy and how this pedagogy interacts with the language learner’s personal growth. It also introduces the prospective educator to the teaching of the basic skills, to issues in evaluation and assessment, and to the use of technologies in the language classroom. This course should be taken in the junior or senior year, prior to student teaching. Required for secondary or K-12 certification in world languages including the ESL secondary minor. Prerequisite: completion of or concurrent registration in Education 302/303. NOTE: For those in elementary + K-12 Spanish or French, one additional credit is added to this course for a secondary field experience.

IDIS 359 Seminar in Secondary Foreign Language Pedagogy (3). S. A seminar reinforcing the major principles and practices of foreign language pedagogy on the secondary level for students during their semester of directed teaching. The course will provide an opportunity for collaborative work on putting theoretical and pedagogical matters of immediate concern into a practical framework. This course is required concurrently with Education 346. This course does not count as part of the major or minor program. Prerequisites: Education 302/303 and successful completion of the department proficiency exam.

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Don't miss these opportunitiesSummer in Germany

  • Programs for students wishing to major in German are worked out for them individually by departmental advisors who should be consulted early.
  • Calvin-sponsored programs are available in Germany and Austria for the interim, a semester, the academic year, or the summer.
  • Students interested in abroad programs should work out the details with the department chair, the director of off-campus programs, and the registrar.