James W. Rankin
Beginner’s German I
Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy
Learning (and Teaching) New Languages
Jamie Rankin is a University Lecturer in the German Department, focusing on second language acquisition, teacher training and curriculum development. Since 2015 he has also served as the Director of the Princeton Center for Language Study, a program that provides instructors and students in all languages on campus with workshops, reading groups, resources for conferences and research, access to telecollaborative language instruction, and opportunities for ongoing professional development.
His publications include numerous articles in Die Unterrichtspraxis on topics ranging from teacher training to extensive L2 reading and classroom-based Action Research, and a study of teacher cognition in the Modern Language Journal. As a presenter for the American Association of Teachers of German, he has given workshops on interactive tasks for L2 classrooms, assessment strategies, and vocabulary training.
He is the co-author of the widely used reference work/textbook for intermediate and advanced German, the Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik (Cengage) and its accompanying Arbeitsheft, now in their 6th edition.
In his efforts to integrate Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research into classroom praxis and teacher training, he has collaborated with colleagues and graduate students in the department on the development of an online textbook for Beginning German entitled der|die|das, a program that intertwines culturally relevant texts and grammar instruction with current research on the acquisition of L2 vocabulary. Now used in German departments across the country, the textbook facilitates acquisition of high-frequency lexical items in German, i.e., the words and collocations students will actually encounter in authentic texts and interactions, as opposed to the standard items found in commercial textbooks. It combines multiple modes of vocabulary presentation and systematic review across chapters, classroom review and reinforcement, and student-initiated online flashcards or other review systems. The program was featured in a recent volume of the American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators: “Integrating vocabulary acquisition into an L2 German curriculum.” In Rott, S. & Ecke, P. (Eds.) AAUSC Issues in Language Program Direction (2018): Acquiring L2 Vocabulary. Boston: Cengage Publishing.
As a recipient of numerous development grants, he has created a website that catalogues classroom tasks for TA’s; a Google-map website using input from students in the Princeton-in-Munich program; and an online multi-modal proficiency/placement exam for applicants to the Berlin Consortium, of which Princeton is a member.
In 1996 he received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.