Reflecting on my own performance, in any domain, is a complex and involved process. The nature of reflection is evident in assessing my progress in the German language.
Perhaps the most involved aspect of reflection, is considering a starting point—the point at which German was still foreign. Here, I don’t aim to simply identify when I began studying German (that would be too easy, second semester of freshman year), rather when I began to appreciate the language. It is possible that the immaturity surrounding freshman year of college lends to my indifference about GERST 1210—I considered my TA more of a friend than an instructor, and my work secondary to my social life.
By sophomore year, the novelty of college began to fade, and GERST 1220 cultivated an intense feeling of inadequacy. Yet, with such a feeling of utter inadequacy (perhaps not as true as I am convinced) came an appreciation for the language. I enjoy and appreciate the highly structured nature of German—sentence structure, Akkusativ vs. Dativ, Plusquamperfekt vs. Perfekt, Ginitiv—while simultaneously despising it.
By this measure, my progression falls within a relatively short period of time. I take two thoughts away from this reality: one, that I have absorbed a considerable level of the language in a short period of time, and two, that I still have a long ways to go. I consider my abilities to be situation-oriented: the more time I have to consider my thoughts and how to express them, the better my ability to read, write or speak German. Yet, a lack of vocabulary and understanding of certain cases remain my greatest foes.
The portfolio is a great medium through which I can demonstrate my true understanding of the language, as it allows for reflection and proofing. My favorite pieces of the portfolio are the essay on mediums and the audio-recording. I think the pieces compliment each other, in that the written essay addresses a growing trend of internet- and technology-based learning, while the audio-recording attests to that trend. On a personal level, I enjoyed working with Garage Band, creating an actual podcast that even my parents in California can listen to.
Taking a step back, I feel that I have progressed toward a greater understanding of and capability in the German language. Yet that feeling of inadequacy is a constant reminder of how immature (relatively) my abilities are. I welcome the feeling, for I know that it will only push me further in my pursuit and understanding of the German language.