“If I want to sell you something, then I’ll speak your language. If you want to sell me something, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen”.
Germany today is Europe’s leading economic powerhouse; indeed it boasts the world’s fourth largest economy and is also the world’s largest exporter of goods. Germany means business and a working knowledge of the German language can only boost trade and ultimately enhance people’s job prospects.
As is the case with Junior Cycle German, the Senior Cycle syllabus is communicative. The communicative skills acquired in the Junior Cycle are maintained, continually reactivated and expanded during Senior Cycle. The course aims to lead every pupil towards a communicative competence in German, an awareness about language, culture and communication, and an understanding of how to go about learning German as a foreign language.
In the German Department, in order to meet our students’ needs, we use a wide variety of teaching and learning methodologies such as pair work, group work, projects, ICT and language games, as well as traditional methods such as teacher instruction and guidance. This leads to students mastering the four key language skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading. For the Leaving Cert, students’ reading skills are assessed through a variety of reading comprehensions; their listening skills are assessed by way of an aural exam and their written skills are assessed through a letter and opinion piece. An oral exam is also compulsory for Leaving Cert students, so students’ ability to speak the language in a meaningful and coherent way is of upmost importance. We also utilise a plethora of AFL (assessment for learning) strategies to further enhance pupils’ literacy, numeracy and overall competence in German. AFL strategies include peer assessment, think-pair-share, use of show-me boards, differentiation of questioning, sharing of learning intentions, graphic organisers and the outlining of success criteria.
German Language and Culture is offered to Transition Year students. In T.Y. it is hoped that students develop their communicative abilities in German and connect the language to the target countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) in a real and meaningful way through the focus on cultural awareness.
The study of German is a very worthwhile endeavour and the career prospects are vast. Many Irish colleges offer courses in the German language, as well as German with law, business, ICT, cultural studies, science, engineering, and tourism to name but a few. A pass in a modern continental language is also an entry requirement for many courses in the National University of Ireland (UCD, UCC, NUIG and Maynooth). Viel Glück beim Deutschlernen!