I have about 150 "turned on" students learning German--they LOVE this language. However, I have no decent audio to accompany my 13 year old texts, and the students need to be able to listen closely and undisturbed to Germans speaking, singing or rapping German!
I have a "Heinz 57" mix of kids in my classes, but almost all of them have one thing in common--they love German.
For many of my students, this is one of their first times having academic success. We use the wonderful on-line flashcard website, Quizlet, and it's an excellent learning tool that helps a lot. We host a group of German students every year in the spring, and those kids become my additional "teachers," helping me with authentic, personal and fun lessons for my students, many of whom have never been out of Oregon. My classes--and my students--are lively and fun; my biggest frustration is that they don't have anyone to listen to--especially with headphones--besides me!
Many of my students take their language learning very seriously, and plan on continuing with it in college. Being able to perfect their speaking skills, obtain advanced linguistic skills, and come closer to speaking accent-free would be a wonderful advantage for them in preparing for college and for traveling to German speaking countries. I think the opportunities they have through learning German are singularly valuable, insofar as there are very strong cultural and economic bonds between Germany and Oregon. There is a strong German background in the area we're in, and I think the ties we create with Germany are really important.
I think having the kind of aural experience this "language lab" would provide is critical in making my students rise above proficiency into mastery.
I believe it will enable them to listen to, understand and speak German far better than simply by listening to and practicing with me and other students in class.
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