German 191/RCLang191 Intensive First-Year German

WINTER 2009-  For true beginners Instructors: Karein Goertz & Janet Hegman Shier

Class meets: MTThF 11-12 and 1- 2    German Mittagstisch (lunch table) 12-1      Coffee hour M 4-5



German 191/ RC Lang 191 (RC Intensive German I) is the first course in the RC Intensive German for Proficiency program, open to any U-M student. The goal of this first-year intensive German course is to provide students with a solid knowledge of German grammatical structures, a basic vocabulary, and practice speaking and understanding spoken and written German.


By the end of Intensive German I, students can understand simplified written texts and short, spoken passages without the aid of a dictionary and they can express themselves spontaneously in everyday conversation. The final exam measures grammatical accuracy and aptitude in all four language skills. German 191/RC Lang 191 prepares students for German 291/RCLang 291 (RC Intensive German II),or for German 231. Intensive Grm. I meets twice daily, four days a week (M,T,Th,F) for eight credits.  Students  in this intensive language program also have access to the daily RC German lunch table and weekly coffee hour where they can reinforce their classroom learning in an informal setting.


The course strikes a balance between mastery of grammatical features and development of reading writing, listening, and speaking skills. Warm-ups and activities designed to improve communication skills are implemented to help students work on their pronunciation, intonation, and fluency in German. Class is sometimes held at a local area museum or alternate site to expose students to different materials and encourage spontaneous interactions in German. Progress in Intensive German I is measured by participation in class activities, performance on homework, quizzes, tests, written and oral assignments, and participation at co-curricular activities (lunch table and coffee hours). Assignments aim to develop critical thinking skills and creative expression.


About the program. . . The UM RC German Program is one of the oldest proficiency-based programs in the country, with proficiency standards dating back to 1967.  It was cited in the Newsweek Kaplan College Resource Guide 2007 as " of the reasons the Residential College truly stands out."  An all-German, semi-immersion approach makes the program particularly successful. Students have the advantage of being in small classes (usually 10-15 students), where each student gets individual attention. The rotation of instructors exposes students to different accents and teaching styles. The program's small size allows instructors to tailor assignments to individual needs and interests, and to prepare students for life in a global community. RC students have a unique advantage of learning in a small program within the RC's living-learning community, and having, at the same time, all of the benefits of an excellent large university which hosts numerous conferences and lectures and offers one of the finest libraries in the world to prepare students as scholars and put their learning in a real context. RC German students are encouraged to participate in and attend performances by the RC's own German theatre company (RC Deutsches Theater) which has staged multi-media productions in German at the U-M and at schools around Michigan since 1985. The RC German Program has offered and supported travel opportunities to learn about the Arts in Germany for the past several years. Many RC students have been able to receive some funding through the RC for study trips related to RC German course work, thanks to the Brown fund.


A new theatre/humanities course in Winter 2009 and Winter 2010 on "Cultures in Dialogue: Crossing External and Internal BordersÓ will explore German identity issues with a focus on Germany's past, and on Muslims and Jews in Germany today.  The course has a travel component to Berlin for two weeks in May.   Students in German 191/RCLang 191 may be eligible to participate.  For more information about the RC German Program, RC Deutsches Theater and RC German travel to Berlin and Munich to study German Arts and Culture, contact RC German Director, Janet Hegman Shier or visit the program web site at


RC German was cited in the Newsweek Kaplan College Resource Guide 2007 as " of the reasons the Residential College truly stands out."  Find out for yourself, why!