Foreign Languages and Sustainability: Addressing the Connections, Communities, and Comparisons Standards in Higher Education

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Abstract

Abstract: This article describes an interdisciplinary collaboration that combined the study of German language with instruction in environmental issues (sustainable development). The project, involving both an independent study and a classroom unit, allowed students to make connections between disciplines, establish contact with German-speaking communities outside the university, and make cultural and linguistic comparisons. By expanding the German-language content on the Web site Appropedia.org, which is devoted to global sustainable development, students took an active role in learning by creating content that can be read and used by the global community of German speakers. This project provided a model for successful interdisciplinary instruction. The results of this study show that integrating environmental issues with foreign language study provides significant opportunities for students to increase their language proficiency, develop their understanding of concepts related to the environment, and become more involved in a global community through a virtual service learning project.

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