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UPDATED (German class issue)


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UPDATE:

The director and the instructor have been extremely responsive to all of my concerns and feedback. The director had a phone conference with me and the instructor and I have corresponded several times over email and had a zoom meeting. She is making up two of the live classes at the end of the semester. She has been wonderful about posting extra resources for the kids, guiding them through study strategies, and offering help when needed. I'm still not thrilled with the textbook, but I guess this particular one is pretty widely used. I helped DD build a notebook more systematically to keep track of all of the vocabulary, verbs, phrases, and study helps. I think it's going to be fine.  😊

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The short version is, I am frustrated that DD's German teacher ended class 30 minutes early because they "finished" early, instead of using the time for the kids to practice, review vocabulary, play a game, or SOMETHING.  Class only meets twice a week.  The new info is presented very quickly and the textbook has no translation. (Is that typical of a high school textbook?) The first week of class there was no actual class because the instructor was traveling.  She said she took the job after she made those plans, so she set up a bunch of intro assignments for the kids regarding getting familiar with the learning platform, online workbook, etc.  Ok, I can understand that.  The following week was Labor Day and she decided not to hold class because some students were traveling.  Now, originally, I was surprised about classes on Labor day.  But in this case, I was really wishing there was class so that DD would have an opportunity to practice this brand new language.  I voiced my concern and she assured me that the kids would have plenty of practice this year and a full course in German.  Fast forward to today.  The students were assigned to create and give a presentation telling about themselves in German.  They did the presentations and then the kids were let out of class 30 minutes early.  So that's three missed live classes and now they were let out 30 minutes early... am I right to be annoyed? It's $660 for the year for this class.  Am I overreacting? 

Edited by kristin0713
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I'd be upset, too.  It seems like a poor idea of scheduling, adapting, and even having a plan for the year.

And no, that's not a typical textbook.  All of my language books from high school and above had at the least a page of vocab for each chapter and a glossary.

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Yep, I’d complain to both the teacher and the provider (assuming it’s with some larger organization than just her individually). The motivation to express your concern now is that it’s early enough that something can be done about it— a better plan for handling left-over class time, not canceling classes during holiday weeks in the future, etc. It won’t do any good to express your frustration later in the year or after the school year is finished.

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1 hour ago, kristin0713 said:

The new info is presented very quickly and the textbook has no translation. (Is that typical of a high school textbook?)

For my kids’ german Saturday class, the kids who are going for AP German and the Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz would use german only textbooks and materials. Kids like mine who are taking the classes as non-credit enrichment have bilingual textbooks and materials.

Komm Mit is a often used high school textbook for non-native speakers. You can see samples on this high school german teacher’s webpage https://www.northallegheny.org/page/6718

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15 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

And no, that's not a typical textbook.  All of my language books from high school and above had at the least a page of vocab for each chapter and a glossary.

I'm almost positive that my French textbook in high school had a translation and glossary. I think I would actually be able to help her if there was a translation.  This is promoted as "immersion" -- which would probably be fine if she were actually in Germany or around German speakers all the time! 

14 hours ago, Alicia64 said:

I think the teacher is what's called a "passive worker." Just going through the motions.

I'd be angry too.

She is young and new to the program. She said it is her first time teaching German online. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume for now that she just doesn't know what she is doing.  

13 hours ago, Farrar said:

Any of those things in isolation would be okay with me. Any of them spread out through the semester would also be fine with me. Together, all back to back. they do seem to be creating a worrisome pattern.

Yeah, I probably would not have such ruffled feathers over it if they had not already missed three classes.  

 

Thank you for all of the replies.  I sent an email to the director of the program.  DD was embarrassed and didn't want me to talk to the teacher.  I had already questioned her about Labor Day and the three days of missed class so I just decided to go to the top on this.  I was very polite but expressed my concern.  I honestly wouldn't be so upset if it were any other class.  But with foreign language instruction, every minute of class time is extremely valuable.  DD has no other German speakers to talk to.  There is always *something* they can review! 

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I would be emailing the head of the program if there was one after all those things combined. (This isn't CLRC is it? I know they have a new teacher.)

If your dd wants to do an occasional German convo on Zoom, I bet we have a few Hive kids who could do it. My (not -that-great by her own admission) German-speaker is in college but might be able to make it to a once per week Zoom of other homeschooled (or former homeschooled) kids. I know there are others in high school or college who studied German or who are studying German. I can tag the ones I remember if you want.

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17 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

I would be emailing the head of the program if there was one after all those things combined. (This isn't CLRC is it? I know they have a new teacher.)

If your dd wants to do an occasional German convo on Zoom, I bet we have a few Hive kids who could do it. My (not -that-great by her own admission) German-speaker is in college but might be able to make it to a once per week Zoom of other homeschooled (or former homeschooled) kids. I know there are others in high school or college who studied German or who are studying German. I can tag the ones I remember if you want.

It is CLRC.  To be fair, my kids are taking other classes through CLRC and those have been a great experience so far.  No complaints at all.  

A German chat group with other kids is a great idea!  I'm not sure if my DD would be comfortable yet because she is such a beginner.  I'll keep that in mind.  Thank you for the suggestion! 

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That class sounds very frustrating, I hope your email produces some change.

I have two German learners here that I could probably wrangle in to a Zoom conversation.

When my dd has some extra time during the German block on her schedule she often watches a few German tutors in YouTube, like Your German Teacher or German with Anja. When I worked alongside my dd learning German with her we used the beginning of German Essentials by Eugene Moutoux, which is online with a bit of instruction and exercises with answers. I agree with your sentiments that the only way to make progress learning a language is to use it and think about it every day.

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1 hour ago, 8filltheheart said:

@kristin0713 For future reference, my dd really enjoyed OSU's German Online.  She took it for 3 yrs and placed out of 3 semesters of college German.  

Did your dd do anything to supplement and/or did she have access to German speakers? I had high hopes for that class, but it didn’t turn out to meet expectations. 

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16 minutes ago, KSera said:

Did your dd do anything to supplement and/or did she have access to German speakers? I had high hopes for that class, but it didn’t turn out to meet expectations. 

She listened to music and watched movies in German that she knew in English.  She would sing the German songs.  Her only ocnversation was via the phone calls with the OSU instructors.  

ETA: She loves German and is minoring in it.  So, she definitely wanted to learn it. 

Edited by 8filltheheart
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3 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

I'm almost positive that my French textbook in high school had a translation and glossary. I think I would actually be able to help her if there was a translation.  This is promoted as "immersion" -- which would probably be fine if she were actually in Germany or around German speakers all the time! 

Klett has online resources for their textbooks, including glossaries and vocabulary list. The transcripts are also useful. My kids’ Klett textbooks for Saturday school were in german only but they had supplemental books which were bilingual.
https://www.klett-usa.com/klasse/r-2425/556#reiter=mediathek&dl_niveau_str=A1&dl_kategorie=4

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My oldest ds also took German as his main foreign language throughout high school. He did one year DE at the local cc, but then finished German 3 and 4 with WTMA. He really liked both of those classes (he used the Sag Mal materials at the CC and then the geni@l klick materials (by Klett) at WTMA). The Klett materials were pretty much all in German, but he enjoyed them because he thought the readings and cultural notes were interesting. I had another son start with German 1 (no previous exposure) using those same books (all in German) at WTMA another year (he ended up swapping languages after that, but did learn a lot during his German 1 class), and he didn't find the materials to be a problem. I think as long as there is support and other outside exposure, using all German materials shouldn't be a stumbling block even for beginners. You could always purchase another used series that has more English in it if you think that your student is turned off by those "immersion-style" textbooks.

One resource that my oldest really enjoyed was watching Logo on Deutsche Welle. It is a news program geared for kids, so they would bring up topics that kids would enjoy and used simpler language. They release a new episode daily (I think?), so that's a good resource that he liked. There are also plenty of online TV shows/etc. available that students can start listening to from the beginning, even when they don't understand much. It's good to start hearing the rhythms and rewarding when you can pick out words that you know as you learn more.

My oldest has surprised me by wanting to continue his German studies in college, and is having a lot of fun learning more this year. He may end up studying abroad at some point if his interest continues, so I'd say he was happy with his German experiences in high school that prepared him to study the language further in college.

Good luck with the course. I hope the class improves, but keep in mind that a beginner will benefit from approaching the language from lots of different angles, so make sure you are watching media (try out Logo) and building vocabulary (my guys all like Quizlet) as you go. You can even throw in an app or two like duolingo. The more you build a habit of daily exposure, the more successful you will be with the new language. 

 

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7 hours ago, Farrar said:

That makes me sad that it's CLRC as I often recommend their language classes. I hope you'll post an update about the resolution later this year.

I am very happy with the other classes that my kids are taking so I really hope it works out with German and that I can post a good update. It is not my intent to bash the program at all. 

9 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

@kristin0713 For future reference, my dd really enjoyed OSU's German Online.  She took it for 3 yrs and placed out of 3 semesters of college German.  

I believe that I looked into this.  There is no interactive component, correct?  I specifically wanted her in a class where she had an instructor and other kids to interact with. 

 

6 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Klett has online resources for their textbooks, including glossaries and vocabulary list. The transcripts are also useful.

The textbook and workbook she is using is Klett.  I printed out the glossary, but it is not as helpful as it could be. I can't find a transcript anywhere. What do you mean by that? 

 

6 hours ago, Junie said:

I actually wouldn't be concerned yet.  It sounds like she's a new (or new to the format) teacher who is struggling to get started.  She's probably just as frustrated as you are.

 

Well, I don't want this year to be a waste and I don't want DD to feel like she is "bad" at German because her teacher isn't giving enough instruction and practice time.  If she wants to continue next year, I want her to be prepared for German 2, whether we stick with this provider or switch. 

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4 minutes ago, kristin0713 said:

The textbook and workbook she is using is Klett.  I printed out the glossary, but it is not as helpful as it could be. I can't find a transcript anywhere. What do you mean by that? 

https://www.klett-usa.com/klasse/r-2425/556#reiter=mediathek&dl_niveau_str=A1&dl_kategorie=22
Transcripts

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When my dd#1 signed up for Russian at CLRC, the class had been listed as an "Intro to" class, not as Russian 1. There was a teacher switch before the school year started. The teacher was faced with a big class (for CLRC) ranging from kids who had never taken any foreign language to adults who had lived in Russia. The class was either going way too slow or immensely too fast. With the teacher change, what was supposed to be two hours per week of homework (prior teacher) was two hours per night (new teacher) at the beginning. Emails to the teacher didn't really get anywhere just because she didn't understand the huuuge difference between the different students. Emails to Anne Van Fossen got almost immediate results. The class was still too difficult for some students & definitely became a Russian 1 class, but it no longer took two hours of work every night for my kid. And yes, she's minoring in Russian in college.

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On 9/21/2021 at 11:19 AM, UmmIbrahim said:

One resource that my oldest really enjoyed was watching Logo on Deutsche Welle. It is a news program geared for kids, so they would bring up topics that kids would enjoy and used simpler language

Could you link this?

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This is meant for beginning speakers of English who speak German, but I found it's helpful for pronouncing German as well:

https://books.google.com/books?id=qFwBAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR20&lpg=PR20&dq=edwin+leigh+pronouncing+orthography&source=bl&ots=nPqkX18L2I&sig=EamrNdiU6ghDuHKotuT2O2kTjnI&hl=en&ei=t9v9SYjcF4jCtwfk_aWjDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result#v=onepage&q=edwin leigh pronouncing orthography&f=false

It is in Leigh Print, here is my Leigh Print page, with links to a key and some beginning readers and primers in English.

http://thephonicspage.org/On Reading/leighprint.html

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On 9/20/2021 at 4:18 PM, kristin0713 said:

The new info is presented very quickly and the textbook has no translation. (Is that typical of a high school textbook?) 

 

On 9/20/2021 at 5:44 PM, Arcadia said:

For my kids’ german Saturday class, the kids who are going for AP German and the Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz would use german only textbooks and materials. 

The local adult complete beginners Saturday School class uses the Hueber Schritte International textbook and it is German only with no glossary. So is my daughter’s Cornelsen Prima Plus textbook.  She’s planning to take the DSD1 exam this year. 
I think it might be common. They try to use pictures to get the ideas across.  
 

After a series of presentations, I can also imagine that most of the kids were just tired and wouldn’t have taken in any more.  That could be a fairly intense class, even if it’s short. Hope it improves for you!

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On 9/21/2021 at 6:08 AM, kristin0713 said:

It is CLRC.  To be fair, my kids are taking other classes through CLRC and those have been a great experience so far.  No complaints at all.  

...

If it is CLRC, and you haven't done this, I would suggest immediately e-mailing the teacher with your specific concerns and CC-ing Anne VanFossen.  🙂 

ETA -- My thinking with things like this has been that I want to immediately ensure the teacher is getting feedback about what is expected, and the provider gets early feedback if a class may be going off the rails.  It is win-win if the teacher can respond by stepping up their game and improving the instruction. 

I also have gotten in the habit of sending a friendly hello/check-in in the first few weeks of a class, with some sort of compliment/thanks for the teacher, to establish a positive background for any concerns I have later.   We did have some difficulty with one CLRC teacher, but nothing that couldn't be managed by dropping him notes -- though IIRC he only responded to them if I cc-ed Anne.  And he didn't come back the next year 😉 

 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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18 hours ago, serendipitous journey said:

If it is CLRC, and you haven't done this, I would suggest immediately e-mailing the teacher with your specific concerns and CC-ing Anne VanFossen.

I did do this and they have both been prompt in responding. I see effort all around in addressing my concerns. 

@RootAnn I think my daughter and another friend would be interested in a German conversation group. They are just at the very beginning of learning German, though. I'm not sure how it would work logistically.  Do you have any ideas of structure or do you think informal is best? 

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@kristin0713 I'm glad to hear things are being addressed. I hope it was just beginning hiccups!

Re: conversation group

Probably what would be best is to have the beginners bring the current or previous vocab topic to the agreed upon zoom session. The further along German convo partners can facilitate a discussion around that topic. First one would probably be intros (in German) and maybe just conversation practice. I'll PM you with contact info fir my German kid.

@SusanC Ask your German speakers if they are interested.

Anyone else's kids -- high school or college who want to join -- speak up! The kids will have to agree on a day/time & it probably won't work for everyone, but we'll let them set something up.

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  • kristin0713 changed the title to UPDATED (German class issue)

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