German Business CLAC

German Business CLAC

Abstract

A package of materials from a single course that uses CLAC principles. The materials include the course syllabus, an assignment, and the final project. Together they illustrate some possible ways for a language course – in this case a German business language course – to be connected to other disciplines at the institution, here specifically the Economics Department.  CLAC in this course also is useful for our general education requirement dealing with global diversity.

Description

The explicit goal for this course – helping students apply their German language learning to practical tasks in business situations – has an implicit goal as well: to help students reflect on Germany's role in Europe as a member of the EU. This involves history, economics, marketing, psychology, and a variety of contemporary social issues, with multiple tie-ins to non-German courses in the students' college curriculum. This is one way of getting otherwise foreign-language-avoiding business majors to see the utility and advantages of learning languages – by studying the particulars of how the EU is organized and structured, they realize the importance that language fluency can have in developing business projects and trade relationships between the US and the EU. Foreign language study ceases to be merely something to be endured and becomes instead a positive advantage for their professional lives.

One of the special advantages of placing the language of German business in a broader European context is that the EU has an extraordinary number of free publications, videos, podcasts and other multimedia materials that can be used to supplement and enrich the classroom environment. The assignments and final project for the course emphasize this practical application of language skills to hypothetical business projects. I combine up-to-date multimedia information sources with documents/texts, thereby avoiding outdated German Business textbooks and training students how to access the material they will need when they are actually conducting business with the EU.

Material Download(s)

Material Type(s)

  • Activity
  • Syllabus

Author(s)

  • Bernd Estabrook

Institution(s)

  • Illinois College

CLAC Model(s)

  • Infused
  • Linked
  • Modularized

Language(s)

  • German (Deutsch)

Additional Information

This course serves several functions for the Department of Modern Languages and the College. Its primary function is as a German course to help students advance their language and cultural skills. It also serves as part of our International Studies curriculum for English-speaking students, introducing them to the importance of the EU for international business. It is therefore, in some sense, a recruiting tool for German, and it is serves an important need for our Economics and Management Leadership departments for international business courses. The course is taught four times a week – two sessions in German, one session in English, and the final session that includes all students from both languages, conducted in English. In recent years there have not been enough students in German alone to justify the course; it was thought that by integrating English-speaking students, we would get them to consider German as an asset for their academic business interests and future career possibilities. This arrangement is a challenge for the instructor, since materials must be found in both English and German, but the enormous amount of realia available from the European Union makes this task less challenging than it otherwise might be.

 

An important aspect of the course is direct engagement with real companies that function currently in the European Union and the United States. The English-speaking students are not disadvantaged in the course, but they quickly recognize the value of understanding of foreign language when it comes to researching and appealing to actual German companies in the European Union. The extraordinary resources for the European Union on the Web are a huge help in making the course successful. We are working to deepen our connections with business students on our campus, using CLAC principles to demonstrate the utility of foreign language study.