Bilingual sections in German grammar schools constitute an instructive observational arena for the clarification of problems which arise in teaching methodology. Lessons from the German-French branch of the Burgau Gymnasium are analysed and compared with related findings from Welsh, Canadian and Californian schools where content subjects are taught in a foreign or second language. The analysis focuses on 1) the interplay of message- and medium-oriented communication, i.e., the teacher’s flexibility to switch adeptly from subject matter teaching to language practice when an opportune moment arises; and on 2) the role of the mother tongue as a help or hindrance. The Canadian policy of the exclusive use of the foreign language is contrasted with a genuinely bilingual approach where pupils are expected to handle the subject matter equally well in both languages. The careful analysis of lessons from a well-defined theoretical viewpoint proves to be a fruitful research approach which needs to be applied to a greater number of lessons. It is thought to be a necessary supplement to research which focuses on the testing of learning outcomes.
The following article reports on the results of research on explicit and implicit grammatical knowledge. Two versions of a grammar test were administered to two different groups of 150 Gymnasium pupils (50 each from the Unter-, Mittel-, and Oberstufe) and two different groups of 50 English pupils. Grammar Test, Version A required pupils to provide rules for the errors underlined in 12 test sentences and to correct the errors. Grammar Test, Version B contained the same test sentences, but the errors were not underlined. Here pupils were given the additional task of first identifying the errors in the test sentences and then providing rules and corrections for them. Closely examined in the article is the relationship between the pupils’ rule knowledge and their ability to identify and correct errors.