Monday, July 31, 2017

Not happy with Sicher German textbooks

I am relieved that the latest German class ended as I was running out of steam with it. We used a book that is, in my opinion, very poorly organized and difficult to follow; I was also very displeased with the same company's B2 book, both of which are in the Sicher! series. One learns the grammar that's spread out in tiny, nonsensical bits and bobs throughout the chapter then it's repeated all over the place in the back of the book in no particular order. At the end of the chapter, there's a short description of the grammar but it wasn't that clear.

It's the kind of grammar learning where the grammar is presented in use and the learner is just supposed to "get it"on one's own, to an extent. Yes, I realize that we were using the upper intermediate and advanced books and have higher skills at this point, but still...with some of these nebulous constructions, one needs much more.

I was so frustrated with the book and didn't feel that I learned the material well that I bought Erkundungen, the C1 book from the previous series we'd used before we were stuck with Sicher. With those books from Schubert Verlag, I felt that I learned the content well; chapters are laid out in a manner that makes sense and there are clear reviews at the end of the chapter that explain the grammar clearly. The book has a good flow and it's easy to thumb through it and find the particular thing one learned. Plus it includes an answer key, which Sicher doesn't. I don't like putting all the work into exercises without being able to check immediately if I completed them correctly in order to avoid burning the wrong answer into my brain.

I am either going to go over the Erkundungen chapters myself or see if I can find a teacher on my own before the Uni offers the next level of class in the fall. It's my goal to take/pass the C1 exam sometime next year or so and I doubt that'll happen if we keep using the Sicher books. It seems really difficult to retain any information from those books, and I'm certainly not the only student in the class who felt that way. It's ironic that we felt insecure after using Sicher.

The bane of my German-learning experience
Have you used the Sicher books? What is your opinion of them?


  1. Ugh... I have used many textbooks to teach German, and I admit I've never heard of Sicher. I am able to work with just about anything as a German teacher, but I usually use my own worksheets and grammar explanations. I don't know what is so hard about creating a decent German textbook.

    I'm sorry, but we do not "get grammar" on our own. It just doesn't happen when we are adults. Kids, if they are corrected when needed, can learn a language that way. But not adults.

    The textbook my VHS just switched to drives me nuts. I use it only for reading, listening, and review. I do all the grammar explanations on my own and tell them the page numbers in the book where the topic is addressed.

  2. I found that I didn't care much for the Schritte books that our VHS use, either. They aren't organized in the best way either.

    Are you familiar with the Begegnungen, Erkundungen etc. books from Schubert that I mentioned? Sometimes I hear them called "the Goethe books." I'm not sure if the Institute is using them or not but so far, they're the ones that I like the best. I feel that they're laid out well and are quite linear. I'm such a linear learner and I don't like the concepts to be thrown all over the place because it wreaks havoc for someone who has a visual memory and uses mnemonic devices for memorizing.