Growing interest in sustainability studies has created a pressing need for the development of cross-disciplinary teaching materials related to environmental issues for use in second language instruction. It has also renewed interest in content-based curricular models that support both the development of advanced language skills and the study of languages across the curriculum. This project began with the recognition that few prepared materials were available to address these needs. It is designed as a learning tool for students and as a platform for the development of new curricular initiatives. The target audience for these materials includes college-level instructors, high school teachers of German, intermediate-advanced language learners, and content developers in languages and fields other than German who are considering frameworks for similar projects.
The materials are divided into 15 modules, each of which includes several worksheets on thematically related topics that prompt learners to complete tasks exercising a variety of language and literacy skills. Overviews of the modes of communication practiced in the modules (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and a framework for aligning potential learning outcomes and worksheet tasks with the National Standards are also provided. A bibliography of additional suggested resources has been included to support further course and curriculum development. Since instructed language functions, writing assignments, and extended tasks depend on instructional context, we have not prescribed extended assignments. Instead, instructors are encouraged to build on the worksheet materials by creating detailed extensions. For instructors who would like a collection of additional web links related to this project, please see Diigo Resources.
Each worksheet presents self-contained tasks to facilitate flexible use either as an individual assignment or as part of an extended learning sequence. While some exercises require personal reflection or solitary writing, the majority feature cooperative work and interpersonal dialogue use in understanding factual information, interpreting subtext, and expressing opinions. Learners are encouraged to collect and critically evaluate information, to explore and analyze differing perspectives on environmental topics, and to compare and contrast global attitudes about the environment. The content has been reviewed with attention to appropriateness for postsecondary instructional settings. The views expressed in the websites, texts, and other materials cited in the worksheets do not represent the opinions of the project developers or project sponsors. We recommend that individual users evaluate the materials to determine suitability within the context of their own instructional setting.
As with any collaborative effort, many individuals have contributed to the success of this project, and their efforts have intersected and complemented each other in productive ways. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our collaborators in the People section of this website, recognizing that these efforts go beyond the brief descriptions.