Making German enjoyable – this is my way of teaching
The goal of a teacher’s work is to make their students learn. Sometimes the concrete goals of a class are very clear: A certain level has to be reached within a certain time frame, a certain exam has to be passed. In this case the learning schedule is focused on preparing to reach that goal.
But if you ask me what my teaching is like as long as there is no such constraint or deadline, here is what my approach is:
It’s still the goal that students learn, of course. They should see some progress in expressing themselves in the German language. But what is my approach to reach this goal? How do people most naturally get in the state of learning and making progress? Here is where my main principle comes into play: You only learn when you enjoy what you are doing.
At first sight learning German might not seem like an enjoyable activity, some even would consider it as hard work. Unmemorable words and a complex grammatical system. I do admit that I am quite glad to have learned this language from scratch when I was a baby and wasn’t aware what difficult language system I was learning. I can really feel for my students, and I try to take this into account in my lessons. It is not obvious that learning German is enjoyable when you are an adult and fully aware of the difficulties, if you have a full time job and actually no time to learn German. But I always try to get the most enjoyable side out of it. I try to create a social and relaxed atmosphere where different people with the same goal – which is learning German – get to try out their German skills in a supportive und fun environment. And it’s about trying, there is no pressure and mistakes are of course allowed and even welcomed, because we all know that we can only learn from our mistakes.
The students are always in the centre. In our conversations it’s all about their interests and their lives, so they get to talk about the topics that are most relevant to them.
I see my role as a teacher to make suggestions that correspond to my students‘ interests. Speaking and exchange of experiences and opinions is in the focus of my lessons.
Grammar is something that of course has to be talked about from time to time. I always introduce grammar in a way that students get to use the grammatical structures immediately in practice and in conversation. The introduction of the German conditional tense for example, called Konjunktiv II, gives an opportunity to discuss life dreams or unrealistic and fantastic scenarios. That can be lots of fun!
So all in all it’s all about communicating, focusing on the students‘ interests and of course about having fun. That’s my personal way to make learning German enjoyable.