Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
Writing to Learn German
Roots in the Sawdust: Writing to Learn Across the Disciplines (1985)
  • Deborah S. Peterson, Portland State University

The ultimate goal of foreign language instruction is to teach students the skills needed to communicate in the foreign language. For this, students need insight into cultural and historical phenomena, as well as knowledge of grammatical functions . They need to trust their teacher and classmates before they will be willing to speak another language and make the mistakes that nonnative speakers are bound to make. And speaking in the foreign language is essential because students must move from acquisition to application of skills.

Writing-to-learn techniques help students begin to communicate successfully in the foreign language, reducing students' fears of making errors and looking dumb. In addition, writing to learn helped students understand grammatical functions, historical events, and cultural phenomena. In this chapter I will describe how my students write to improve speaking, to learn grammar, to simulate real-life situations, and to understand cultural concepts.

Publication Date
Anne Ruggles Gere
National Council of Teachers of English
Citation Information
Deborah S. Peterson. "Writing to Learn German" UrbanaRoots in the Sawdust: Writing to Learn Across the Disciplines (1985)
Available at: