The other day a student of my B2 class came to the lesson and made me and the other students in the group a gift: Dice. On the sides of the dice were written the German articles der, die and das.
Well, I admit that I had been torturing them previously with always asking if nouns were der, die or das, i.e. of masculine, feminine or neutral gender. Unfortunately, not using the correct article is the source of many mistakes in German. So yes, I might have insisted quite annoyingly on my students to memorize the article of nouns. And these funny dice were the bill for it 🙂
After thinking a moment about this seemingly vicious gift from my student, I realized that he was so right! We have to take it with humour. All German learners have to face this annoying three gender system with no precise rules for which noun belongs to which gender. For many German learners to answer the question if a noun has the article der, die or das feels like gambling.
We use the dice in almost every lesson now, just to have a laugh, it has become a kind of ritual. And it actually turned out not to be harmful to the learning process (because obviously the dice are very unlikely to give you the correct article, but sometimes they even do!) On the contrary: The little toy allows the students to turn their attention to the question about the article in a playful and fun way.
But always remember: This toy is only to be used under your teacher’s supervision 🙂