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Enabling Great Minds
and Strong Characters

German Program


German Core Curriculum Highlights

  • Course curriculum follows the NRW Gymnasium core curriculum
  • Accreditation from Kulturministerium NRW
  • Interdisciplinary approach incorporating (German) history, social studies, art, music, sciences, TOK and other disciplines
  • IGCSE: German First Language or German Foreign Language possible
  • Gymnasium level textbooks
    • Deutschbuch (neue Ausgabe) / Cornelsen (German regular 5–10)
    • Deutschbuch (neue Grundausgabe) / Cornelsen (German Transitional 5–10)
    • Deutsch.kompetent / Klett (11/12 Language A German Language and Literature)
    • Texte, Themen und Strukturen / Cornelsen (11/12 Language A German Literature)
    • Deutsch im Einsatz / Advance Materials (11/12 Language B German)
    • Das neue Deutschmobil 1–3 / Klett (5/6 German foreign)
    • Ideen 1–3 / Hueber (7/8 German foreign)
    • 1–3 / Hueber (9/10 German foreign)
    • AusBlick 1–3 / Hueber (5–10 German foreign 4)

ISR requires the study of German either as a mother-tongue or as a foreign language for all its students from kindergarten to grade 12.

German as a First Language

The mother-tongue language program follows the state curriculum of North Rhine-Westphalia (“Kernkurrikulum NRW”) and integrates the study of classical German literature starting in grade 7 and continuing through grade 12.


In keeping with the annual German language screening of 4-year-olds prescribed by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the team of kindergarten teachers continue to do an outstanding job of preparing students with the German language skills they need when they commence formal schooling.

Primary School

The German program in the ISR primary school is a two-track system including German as a first language and German as a foreign language. Both tracks provide the students with a solid background in grammatical structures, vocabulary, spelling, and writing skills and reinforces the ISR language and math curriculum by teaching colors, numbers, letters, sounds and reading skills. The number of German lessons taught in grades 1 to 4 is seven per week.

ISR’s German department encourages students to take part in the Antolin reading comprehension program, which is also used locally in the German school system. The Antolin books can be read at home and the Antolin comprehension quiz can be taken online. Students gather points and can win awards. Antolin books are available in the ISR library.

German language is required for all students. Students new to Germany and the German language are typically able to function well in the language after several years in the ISR German program.

For both German and international students, celebrating German traditions is important to understand the culture in which they live. The primary German program teaches traditional songs, rhymes, and games as an authentic context for discovering and appreciating German culture and customs.

Lower and Upper Secondary School

The mother-tongue language program follows the state curriculum of North Rhine-Westphalia (“Kernkurrikulum NRW”) and integrates the study of classical German literature starting in grade 7 and continuing through grade 12. Students practice their writing skills, retelling stories, summarizing, figure characterization, describing what happened in a story, discussing texts, and poem analysis. A focus is set on the ability to use standard German in writing.

At ISR, German is taught in the secondary and upper grades as follows:

  • Grade 5: 6 hours per week
  • Grade 6: 5 hours per week
  • Grade 7: 5 hours per week
  • Grade 8: 5 hours per week
  • Grade 9: 5 hours per week
  • Grade 10: 5 hours per week

Students are exposed to a wide range of original texts, ranging from fairy tales, short stories and newspaper articles to classic and modern novels. They are enabled to describe and use all grammar such as Tempora and Genus-/Numerus Verbi. Das Deutschbuch by the Cornelsen publishing company provides the text and workbooks.

German in the IB Programme (Grades 10–12)

Depending on the chosen course level, students systematically build on their German language skills acquired during their school career. In the 11th and 12th grade, German is an optional subject and is offered as a basic course over 3 hours per week.  An advanced German course is available for 5 hours per week. Pupils’ verbal and written skills meet the needs for what awaits them at the university.  Alumni and universities have confirmed that ISR students are prepared, with regards to their German language skills, for their university courses.

The students learn how to approach fictional and non-fictional texts using academic methods that will help them succeed and have a smoother start when they leave school after passing their IB exams.

German as a Foreign Language

The German as a foreign language program is for students whose mother tongue is not German. ISR offers four levels of competence per grade.

A student who does not have any knowledge of the German language starts with the so called German Foreign 1 course. The courses are paced so that a student requires one school year per level of competence.  
The first three levels are dedicated to language acquisition. The Foreign 4 level has a pragmatic approach.

German Classes by Level of Proficiency

German as a Foreign Language

  • Beginner (1)
  • Intermediate (2)        
  • Advanced [grades 1–10] (3)
  • Proficiency (4)
  • German B            
  • German ab initio [grades 11/12]

German as a First Language

  • German Regular [grades 1–8]
  • German Literature
  • German Language and Literature [grades 9–12]

Special German Classes

  • Transitional German Classes
  • NEW: Special Reading & Writing Booster Class (part of academic support and takes place during student life hours, period 6 or 9)

Reading Lists

  • Class readers [grades 5–10]
  • Recommended reading list (by grade level)