Thursday, August 22, 2013

Product Review: Pronunciation Video

PRODUCT REVIEW: A PRONUNCIATION DVD MADE ESPECIALLY FOR GERMAN CLASS!  (Teacher's Discovery)
Product Description:  Snappy, funny and effective! Features pronunciation by native speakers, repetitions on the screen and by your students, and hardly anything else. Excellent introduction to and reinforcement of German sounds. What a great way to speak German! ©2004. 15 minutes. German. Middle School, High School level. Also available on VHS. 
Cost: $21.94 DVD or $9.99 Download

I purchased this video during either my first year of teaching as a way to go over pronunciation with my German 1 students.  To be honest, I showed it to my students once that year and haven't bothered to use it since.

Despite being a pronunciation video, it ONLY covers vowels.  They go over vowels, umlauts, and diphthongs, but there is NO discussion of consonants.  This somehow never made it into the product description, so be advised if you were hoping for something more comprehensive.

The video is only 15 minutes long, but with the *repetition* that it advertises in the product description, that is too long.  Each letter is introduced with a few examples of words with that sound.  As each word is pronounced, there is a short video clip playing that shows a visual for the item in question (for example, there's a clip of a cat as they repeatedly say "die Katze").  

Throughout the video, there are cheesy video effects and unrelated music playing in the background.  Some of the video clips are amusing and the pronunciation is helpful, but the effects and music are more distracting than helpful.  Even my students grew bored by the end of it - I teach high school, so maybe it would be better using this video with middle school.  There's a video clip available on the Teacher's Discovery page - you'll see what I mean.

Practicality: 2/5 
Only useful as a study of vowels, but the video is too long for what it is.

Accuracy: 4.5/5 
Only taking off for the accuracy of the product description - the pronunciation itself is fine.

Fun: 2.5/5 
Some of the video clips are funny or cute, but by the end of the 15 minutes you've had enough.  

Overall: 9 / 15 (60%)
I don't think I would recommend this product.  You could probably get your upper level students to produce something more engaging and useful.  

- Frau Leonard

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog tonight! I am also a foreign language teacher and have spent MUCH money at Teacher's Discovery over the years. I have come to realize that I don't use about 3/4 of the items I buy more than once or twice. I teach middle school and while some of the kids find the cheesy parts of the videos and stories (just about everything is cheesy!) funny, many do not. I am going to have to do a closet clean-out this year and get rid of so much of that TD stuff. :( As you probably know, classroom storage space is at a premium.
    BTW...it is really cool that you review those products here on your blog! That would have never occurred to me.
    Amy @ http://giftedgabber.blogspot.com/

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  2. Same - they have some great stuff that I love... And then there's this pile of things I've gotten from them that I just don't know what to do with. Figured product reviews might be a good way to warn off other teachers or point out the good stuff :)

    Cheesy is cute... For about 2 minutes, then there has to be more if you want it to hold the kids' attention. Glad to know that's not just my experience.

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