ERIC Number: ED334850
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Foreign Languages to Engineering Students: Challenges and Problems.
Heinze, Karin U.
The University of Rhode Island's International Engineering Program leads to two degrees: a B.A. in German and a B.S. in engineering. A major problem in program development was lack of appropriate instructional materials and recommended methodology for technical German courses. An instructional unit on the diesel motor illustrates how materials were selected, combined, and presented and how challenges were met. Technical texts, a German pictorial dictionary, German books for young people, exercises from a German grammar book, and a short videotape recording on Rudolf Diesel were used to develop interest and a willingness to discuss technical topics, and to practice language skills and vocabulary. When two students claimed to have found an error in a text, other students began a lively discussion. The guidelines followed in preparation of the unit included: (1) selecting as many authentic teaching materials as possible, but not at a discouragingly difficult proficiency level; (2) supplementing all reading material with charts, graphs, and pictures to facilitate comprehension; (3) using students' prior knowledge, in this case from a previous textbook; (4) finding the right grammar and vocabulary level; (5) providing students with a grammatical foundation; and (6) not exceeding 9 class hours per unit. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Authentic Materials; University of Rhode Island
Note: Paper presented at the Eastern Michigan University Conference on Languages and Communications for World Business and the Professions (9th, Ypsilanti, MI, April 5-7, 1990).