Klasse! Neu 1 is an updated version of the OUP beginners’ German course
first published in 2001, and it will undoubtedly find the same favourable
response among teachers of German as its older sibling. Corinna Schicker
and Morag McCrorie are both experienced authors in the field of German
textbooks, and their skill in writing engaging and motivating courses is
again apparent here.
The textbook is in full colour throughout and is visually very appealing.
It is supported by a wide range of other materials – workbooks for both
reinforcement and extension, teacher’s book, copymasters, CDs/cassettes,
an OHT file and flashcards; regrettably these materials were not available
for review, but if they are written to the standard of the support
materials for the original Klasse! course, then they will be an important
element of the whole package. Klasse! Neu 1offers full coverage of the MFL
Framework, and for those of you who like to keep your jargon menu
up-to-date, we are promised that each double-page spread offers both
‘starters’ and ‘plenaries’.
Klasse! Neu 1 leans heavily on its predecessor in terms of language
content, grammatical progression and page layout – indeed, some of the
pages seem almost identical to the original Klasse! 1. Like the Urtext,
this latest version is based around the lives of a group of young people
living in a German town, this time the town of Hollfeld. The emphasis from
the start of the course is on communication in the classroom through the
medium of German, and before the first unit even begins, pupils are
exposed to the language of classroom survival. The four skills are
practised extensively in each unit, although there is perhaps less reading
comprehension practice at times. This is compensated for by regular Lese-Spaß
pages, in which the texts get gradually longer and more demanding.
Klasse! Neu 1 consists of nine units, which a more able group should be
able to get through in a year. A more mixed group may well not manage to
get to the end of this first book, but if German is taught from Year 8 it
should be possible to cover the three books of this course by the end of
Year 11. For those who start German in Year 9, it would be something of a
challenge for a teacher to cover all this material in depth in one year.
Each unit has grammatical explanations placed in boxes, and new
grammatical forms are introduced gradually. With a group of more able
pupils, the teacher would want to provide rather fuller explanations.
There is a very useful Grammatik section at the end of the book which
draws the grammatical framework together; the authors also provide lots of
good exercises and answers (on separate pages). The Perfect Tense is not
introduced until unit 9 (which is the last unit in the book), and its
position seems a little odd to me – assuming that the book is covered in
one year, why leave such an important grammatical topic until the very end
of the year?
In common with the original Klasse! series, this book also contains a
useful Wiederholung double-page spread after each three chapters, and
reinforcement and extension activities for each unit at the back of the
book. Bilingual glossaries round off the book; each unit also contains a
list of key vocabulary and a checklist of what has been covered in the
unit, both of which should help pupils revise effectively for tests.
In summary, this is an updated version of the original Klasse! 1 book,
with some new features but also quite a lot that is similar. If teachers
are already using the original version, they will probably be very happy
with what they have got. For those who are looking to buy a new German
course, Klasse! Neu 1 would be an excellent choice.