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The Text-Based Approach in the German as Foreign Language Secondary Classroom

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This study reports on the implementation of a text-based approach applied to teaching German. Based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), texts are seen as social semiotic tools with which students make meaning; a potentially more authentic approach to establishing communicative competence in the target language, as opposed to textbook exercises. Through an 8-week case study conducted in a Year 10 German class at a regional South Australian high school, this study aimed to shed light on student engagement and the level of their understanding of a range of text types, and to see if they were positively affected by applying a mixture of text-based teaching methods, including extensive reading. Explicit teaching with authentic texts and a voluntary extensive reading program were implemented. Quantitative and qualitative outcome data were collected, including pre- and post-study surveys and work sample analyses. It was found that a text-based approach increased student understanding of the target text-types and students were able to elicit meaning from a range of texts. Their general writing ability improved, including an understanding of letter conventions, formal and informal registers, and conversational language. Students also exhibited a strong desire to obtain further German language reading material and a desire to continue learning German in Year 12. Recommendations for future studies include a structured, compulsory extensive reading program, a comparative class and/or multi-year level study, and a cross-institutional study.

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Setting up a high school extensive reading class: Common problems and their solutions
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New SACE. The Advocate
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