Department of Germanic Studies

Nick Henry

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., German Applied Linguistics and Language Sciences, Penn State University

Nick Henry



Second Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics, Applied Linguistics / Language Pedagogy, Morphosyntax, Phonology / Prosody, Popular Music in German Culture


Nick Henry joined the Department of Germanic Studies in 2018 as Assistant Professor of Second Language Studies. His primary research focus is the interaction between second language pedagogy and sentence processing. This research centers on understanding the effectiveness of psycholinguistically motivated instructional techniques and describing how learners process input. He has conducted studies on a range of issues, including the acquisition of the accusative case in German, the effects of prosody in the development of a second language grammar, the acquisition of grammatical gender, and use of explicit information in Processing Instruction. In addition to his research in second language acquisition, Nick is also interested in East German culture and reflections of German culture in popular music. He has published research on the representation of “homelessness” in popular music by East German musicians who were affected by the reunification of Germany.

Please visit Nick’s home page ( and the SLAB (Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism) Lab ( website for more information.

Representative Publications:

Dracos, M. & Henry, N. (2021). Task essential training and L2 Spanish verbal morphology: An investigation of online processing and working memory capacity. Languages, 6(1), 24.

Henry, N. (2021). The use of blocking and inhibition training in processing instruction. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching. Advance Online Publication.

Henry, N., Jackson, C., & Hopp, H. (2020). Cue coalitions and additivity in predictive processing: the use of case and prosody in L2 German. Second Language Research. Advance Online Publication.

Henry, N., Hopp, H., & Jackson, C. N. (2017). Cue adaptivity and additivity in L1 predictive processing. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, 32, 1229-1249.

Henry, N., Jackson, C. N., DiMidio, J. (2017). The role of explicit instruction and prosodic cues in Processing Instruction. The Modern Language Journal, 101, 294-314.

Henry, N., Culman, H. & VanPatten, B. (2009). More on the effects of explicit information in instructed SLA. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 31, 559-575.

Schicker, J. & Henry, N. (2021). Beyond Heimatsehnsucht: Rammstein’s approach to Vergangenheitsbewältigung and German identity. Popular Music and Society, 44, 397-415.



GER 369 • Structure Of German Language

37425 • Spring 2022
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 103

This course will provide upper-division students possessing a basic knowledge of the interest in German with a thorough overview of the structure of the language from the theoretical linguistic point of view. The focus will not be limited to standard language, but will include data from non-standard varieties as well. The implicit approach will be contrastive, viewing the German data against the background of English. Previous coursework in linguistics is desireable through not required. 

GER 398T • Supervised Teaching In German

38470 • Fall 2021
Meets M 4:00PM-7:00PM BUR 228

The purpose of this course is to introduce approaches to teaching a foreign language (L2) and their theoretical backgrounds.  This course will help successful participants you develop an understanding of underlying principles of learning and teaching, as well as practical skills to use in everyday L2 teaching. It will also help you to develop a critical understanding of the professional debates and career opportunities that relate to language teaching in the United States. We will discuss topics such as

-teaching L2 speaking, listening, reading and writing, 

-communicative L2 teaching and learning,

-the role(s) of grammar in a communicative L2 classroom,

-teaching L2 pragmatics

-vocabulary acquisition

-traditional and alternative ways of language assessment,

-ways of teaching culture, including intercultural competence and cultural analysis,

-the role of technology and online-teaching materials in L2 pedagogy,

-professional debates and controversies regarding the teaching of foreign languages at American universities,

-career opportunities for foreign language educators.

Course Structure:

The course is structured in three phases:

Phase 1: During the summer, participants will work with eight modules of the website “Foreign Language Teaching Methods” ( that introduces learners to the following topics: Speaking, Writing, Listening, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar, Pragmatics, Assessment.

Phase 2: During the pre-semester orientation, students will further discuss the content of the eight modules and design and critic teaching materials the articulate the principles introduced.

Phase 3: During the fall semester, the class will meet every two weeks for 3 hours to develop a critical understanding of the professional debates and career opportunities that relate to language teaching in the United States. Students will prepare for the meets by reading articles, reports, and chapters. In addition, students will work towards a teaching portfolio that will articulate ideas and content from all three phases.


In order to get the most out of this course, it is essential that learners complete the online modules, prepare for each class meeting by reading the texts carefully, and participate actively during in-class discussions. My role in the classroom is limited to that of a moderator and facilitator. I neither can nor want to dominate the classroom by assuming an expert status. My goal is to foster a group dynamic where we collectively construct insights based on the readings, on our personal experiences as teachers and learners, and on our critical thinking skills. You will quickly realize that like most of my colleagues in the humanities I am intrigued by open-ended reflective questions that we as a group can debate. In contrast, I often remain unsatisfied by quick consensuses, final answers, and cookie-cutter solutions to pedagogical problems.



(1) “Foreign Language Teaching Methods” (

(2) Articles and chapters are identified on the syllabus and will be made available throughout the semester.



  • 40% Informed and active class participation                                          
  • 20% Quiz                                                                
  • 10% Group presentations, facilitation of class discussions, and discussion questions          
  • 30% Teaching portfolio (teaching materials & philosophy of teaching statement)          

Informed and active class participation  (40%)

Attendance in German 398T is mandatory. In a graduate course much of the information is contributed by the students themselves and generated through interaction of the course participants. Please come prepared each day to discuss the material from the textbook, apply the information to your own teaching and share with your peers what works in the classroom and what does not. You are expected to have read the assigned material prior to coming to class; while you do not have to turn in written assignments, take careful notes on the tasks listed in the syllabus to facilitate a meaningful in-class discussion.    


Quiz (20%)

On the first day of the orientation (Phase 2), students will take a quiz that relates to the content of the online materials.

Group presentations, facilitation of class discussions, and discussion questions (10%)

At the beginning of most class periods, you will present in groups the essence of the readings and facilitate the class discussion. To this end, you will generate discussion questions and/or a “Thesenpapier” (statements the stimulate discussions). It is not necessary the purpose of the discussion to generate final answers to these questions, but they will help us to approach the issues at stake. Groups have to electronically hand in their discussion questions and/or the “Thesenpapier” the night before the class meeting.

Teaching portfolio (40%) (Final project)

The teaching portfolio consists of materials that serve practical purposes.  The components of the portfolio are 1) teaching materials, 2)  a philosophy of teaching statement.  By submitting these items, you will get feedback from me and you will develop the skills necessary for reflective teaching. The materials (both teaching and assessment) you include must be tasks that you yourself design, try out in class and can describe in a reflective paragraph on why it worked or did not work.  In the long run, having a complete teaching portfolio -- which you will have to revise and over the span of your teaching career -- serves a practical purpose: such portfolios are not only commonly asked of job candidates, they also help faculty at many institutions to document their teaching excellence for tenure and promotion.  

Teaching materials

You have to design activities (activity sets) that teach reading, writing, speaking, listening, pragmatics, grammar and culture (one activity for each skill/area). You need to include all relevant materials, such as handouts, warm-up and review activities, etc. and a reflective paragraph describing the choices you made in your design (e.g., explain WHY you designed the activity that you did – refer to theories we discuss or you read in the chapters or give rationales you learned from the modules).

Statement of Teaching Philosophy                                                                                                  

In 1-2 pages (max.) describe your beliefs about language learning and teaching, about your roles as instructor, about your views on teaching culture, the four skills, authentic materials, etc. (you do not have to mention all of these items, just what you consider important). Hint:  If you only have 1-2 pages to “make a case for yourself” (persuade the hiring department that they should choose you), what do you really want them to read? 


There are no ‘incompletes’ given in this course, unless in the case of documented medical emergencies.

GER 328 • Advanced German Grammar

37450 • Spring 2020
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BIO 301

Course Description:

German 328 provides students with the opportunity to develop their understanding of and ability to use German grammar. The course reviews basic grammatical structures in German that students likely encountered in earlier coursework (e.g., past tense forms, adjective endings), as well as introduces them to new grammatical concepts (e.g., extended attributes, nominalizations).

The course uses a content-based instructional approach to language learning. Through engaging with content material in German, students will be able to observe language in use and, importantly, have opportunities to practice grammatical structures in real, meaningful contexts. Three interconnected topics related to contemporary youth in German society (e.g., protest culture, military and civil service, and changes in the university structure) serve as the backdrop for class discussions and writing assignments. Additionally, students will have the chance to explore aspects of German grammar specific to their own individual interests and needs through a semester-long learning portfolio. 

The course prepares students for advanced coursework in German literature and culture, as well as study in a German-speaking country. With this goal in mind, students are expected to take greater initiative in actively participating in class discussions than at the beginning or intermediate levels of language instruction.

Prerequisites: Students must have completed second-year German at UT (GER 612) or have earned credit for second-year German through a placement exam, AP exam, or transfer credit in order to enroll in German 328.



Rankins & Wells, Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik. Wiederholen und Anwenden, 6th edition (2016), available at the campus bookstore. Additional texts and handouts will be distributed in class or posted on the course management site.


Requirements & Assessment:

Class Participation (10%)              

Exploratory Practice Project (20%)

Daily Homework (20%)                

3 Writing Tasks (20%)

3 Tests (30%)

GER 398T • Supervised Teaching In German

37070 • Fall 2019
Meets M 4:00PM-7:00PM BUR 232

This course is designed for both new and experienced teachers. The course will (1) introduce approaches to teaching a foreign language and discuss their theoretical backgrounds, and (2) socialize students as language professionals. Knowledge of German is not necessary, nor is it necessary that students hold a teaching position during the course.

During the summer, students will complete the online foreign language teaching methods course offered by UT’s Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL). This course covers many different aspects of language teaching, including teaching L2 speaking, listening, reading, and writing, communicative L2 teaching, the role of grammar in the classroom, vocabulary acquisition, etc.

One week before the beginning of classes, students will take part in a teaching workshop, which coincides with and supplements the pre-semester language teaching orientation. This workshop will reinforce and expand on issues covered in the online component of the course.

During the semester, students will meet approximately every two weeks. Class meetings will focus on (1) topics related to second language acquisition and teaching: (2) the design of common / effective teaching materials, and (3) critically professional debates and issues that relate to college teaching in foreign language departments in the United States.

Throughout the course students will observe experienced teachers and (provided they are teaching that semester) will be observed in the classroom. They will be given an opportunity to reflect on their experiences as a teacher and as an observer. Students will begin to develop a competitive professional profile as future college teacher of foreign languages and cultures.

GER 397P • 2nd Lang Sentence Compr/Proc

37715 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 232

This graduate seminar explores how second language (L2) learners process language and construct meaning during sentence comprehension. In this course, students will discuss fundamental issues in this field, including questions such as:

(1) How do L2 learners connect linguistic form to meaning, and how does this process relate broadly to the process of acquisition?

(2) How do L1 and L2 sentence processing mechanisms differ, and can L2 learners process sentences like native speakers?

(3) Which internal and external factors influence L2 learners’ processing behavior?

Throughout this course, we will discuss the theoretical constructs and research methods necessary to answer such questions. Further, we will consider practical applications of sentence processing research, including instructional techniques that are motivated by it. Students will also gain hands-on experience by designing research related to the course topics.

GER 506 • First-Year German I

37755 • Fall 2018
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM JES A305A

Course Description

German 506, a first semester German course, assumes no prior knowledge of German. (Note: If you have prior knowledge of German, you must take a placement test before taking classes at UT.) German 506 introduces students to the language and culture of the modern German-speaking world. Every effort is made to present opportunities to use the language: for self-expression in everyday situations, for basic survival needs in German-speaking language communities, and for personal enjoyment. To this aim, lessons center on linguistic, communicative, and cultural goals.

The functional communicative approach that we take in this course—and in the larger German program at UT—focuses on learning to use basic German language forms, i.e., grammar and vocabulary, in meaningful contexts in a variety of real-life situations and across spoken and written genres. To help students develop their ability to communicate effectively in German, they are expected to come prepared for class, use German, and actively participate in pair and group activities. Students should expect to spend two hours studying for each class period in order to keep up with the pace of the class. 


Required Texts:

  1. Course textbook: Christine Anton, Tobias Barske, Jane Grabowski, & Megan McKinstry (2016). Sag mal. An Introduction to German Language and Culture. Second Edition. Vista Higher Learning.
  2. Sag mal Basic Supersite
  3. Sag mal WebSAM (Student Activities Manual)


Grading Policy

Students’ progress in the class will be assessed during the semester across the following categories:

1  Class participation assessed weekly (10%)

2  Homework (15%)

3  Short writing tasks with multiple drafts (15%)

4  Chapter tests (25%)

5  Structured reflections on learning experiences (5%)

6  Regular quizzes (10%)

7  Short collaborative video project (10%)

8  Final oral exam done in pairs (10%)


Opportunities for extra credit are available. There are no incompletes given in German 506. A grade of C or better is required to enroll in German 507 (i.e., a C- is not a passing grade).

Curriculum Vitae

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