Monday, February 27, 2006

German Class

At the beginning of the semester, I decided to switch sections for my introductory German course. While it resulted in a more tolerable schedule, I also had to deal with a different professor.

My first Prof was from Columbia; German is not her first language, but at least she can explain things in a way that we know is effective, since she is the one standing in front of the class... Her class was fun, lively, and she always had fun ways of teaching things. There was a lot of group work, so you were constantly practising. She had a lot of slides, and it was always easy to take good notes. We had lots of small assignments that never took much time, but you learned a lot. It was a fun, no-pressure environment and I was thriving.

This semester, I have a Swiss professor. He has a more pressured environment, and it has caused me to lose all my enthusiasm for the subject. He goes around the class and grills you. I feel as though I'm learning nothing. My notes are more or less useless, being filled with the random vocabulary words he mentions, and a few (very few) useful grammatical notes. We are given assignment sheets every week, which basically look like (in translated form):

  • Monday, February 27
    • pp. 307–311 (read)
    • p.308 (do exercises, don't hand in)
    • p.311 (memorise vocabulary for class)

Now, this is fine, but since we don't hand in the exercises, I have no drive to hand them in—lack of motivation. For the vocabulary, the teacher stands in front of the class, and rattles off English words and points to students (who have to put their books away) and they have to immediately answer with the German translation. Very drill-like. Not pleasant at all. Doesn't make me want to learn. It just makes me less eager to answer questions. Even at the beginning of class when he asks what people did the day before, or what they plan on doing during the weekend it still seems like an interrogation. About as pleasant as nailing my hands to the floor.

Scheiße... :(


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