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Intermediate German [B2] Teaching Materials

Updated on March 27, 2012
My project five years ago. I've found it by accident in   my new classroom. 5 years untouched [and unfort. unnoticed] Live is miraculous.
My project five years ago. I've found it by accident in my new classroom. 5 years untouched [and unfort. unnoticed] Live is miraculous.

An Overview of German Textbooks for Intermediate Learners

I‘ve worked mainly with em-neu Hauptkurs and actually am working with Erkundungen B2. While the first one seems to be a bit outdated as they don‘t promote it anymore in their newest catalogue, the latter is quite demanding in the intellectual sense. Yet, Erkundungen has everything you need to work properly even on your own, but I think em and the other ones below should be more or less complete as well. You can take a look into these by clicking on the names [external links]:

Em-Hauptkurs
Erkundungen
Ziel
Mittelpunkt
Aspekte

I‘ve had a quick look inside all of them some time ago and -based on my first impression- think one could work quite well with these. The publishing houses seem to have more trouble creating good books for beginners than with this level.

If you've got the possibility to preview the textbooks look for the following:
A good coursebook should not only have a teacher's guide that usually contains not only inspiring instructions and grammatical background information as well as templates for bonus exercises. There should also be bilingual glossarys (word-lists) available. The answer key for the students (if they are old or disciplined enough) is a must and CDs with transcriptions of the audio material should be mandatory. The higher level books are usually more equipped. Maybe the publishing houses think that beginners cannot work autonomously. A workbook is a must, integrated or extra.

Criteria of a Good Textbook

  • Teacher's guide
    A good teachers guide gives a more explicit description of the grammar used in a particular lesson. It usually suggests on how to make use of the book's texts and exercises and can inspire even experienced teachers. Some have the audio-cd's transcription in them. These should be made available for the students as listening without comprehension is very inefficient in my high opinion. And it also contains the answers to the textbook that usually also isn't available to the student for unknown reasons. So it is an invaluable tool for teachers, especially for those wanting to work with autonomous students.
  • Bilingual glossary
    Although every serious language student will have a dictionary, a bilingual glossary is a big help because it speeds up the much slower browsing through the dictionary. Especially for those less proficient in it's use. Although a mono-lingual dictionary is recommended by many teachers, students always also have a bilingual one. The subject of using only the target language to acquire a language in a more natural way is widely discussed. I disagree with any extreme point of view. But there are often arguments that carry valid information that also a moderately attuned teacher could make use of.
  • Answer key for the students
    Unless your students ask you to hide the answers from them or they are highly undisciplined and tend to just copy the answers instead of using their brains I highly recommend giving out any answer and transcription out there to the student. Teaching is not only, if at all, presenting information, but above all about making students autonomous learners. This attitude is of course culturally influenced. Having to wait for the teacher to correct what you have done a day or even many later doesn't make any sense. This simply takes the student's independence and motivation away. I will discuss this later at another point.
  • CDs with transcriptions
    CD's with not only lengthy pronunciation exercises but with whole texts spoken by professional actors or the like are an invaluable source for the learner's training of listening comprehension. BUT without the transcription of the texts spoken, it is way too inefficient. Again I will post a link here to that subject later on.

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    • denkmuskel profile image
      Author

      Michael Schmitz 5 years ago from Berlin

      Danke für das Lob. :)

      I've had a closer look at Berliner Platz quite a while ago and remember that I liked it. For self study I wouldn't recommend any of the books used in classes. They usually lack of explanation of the grammar. They give an overview about the forms and say a sentence or two but that's too little information for beginners.

      They also contain plenty of partner or group exercises, socalled projects in Berliner Platz. I don't know about Aspekte yet but I might get the chance to take a peek next week at work.

      For self studies I usually use the Assimil-series or the Langenscheidt publishing house's works but I don't really now too many books for native speakers of English. I know some "Teach Yourself..." are fine but would guess that they do not really reach far (B1 max). But having reached B2 you have already all necessary grammar at hand and could work with authentic texts from the internet, like e. g. here: http://www.dw.de/dw/0,,2068,00.html [they also have an advanced section and everything is free]

      http://www.canoo.net/services/Controller?input=kon... is a great ressource for grammar. With an additional book on grammar I could recommend Erkundungen as it contains everything you need to correct your exercises and practice all basic skills. You would still be needing someone to correct your writing. Check out http://www.duolingua.com (not yet public) or something like http://www.livemocha.com or http://www.busuu.com to find support.

      Hope that could help. Have a good day.

      Mk

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 5 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      Have you had a chance to look at or work with Aspekte? The VHS at which I went through the first three levels in intensive classes use this book (and Berliner Platz Neu for the lower levels, by the same publisher). Which do you think would work best for self-study?

      Thanks for the useful hubs and advice for German learners!