How to select the best German language class for you
German has become one of the most popular choices among foreign language learners in India. In an official study from 2015, about 1,50,000 Indians were learning German. With the increased interest in studying and working in Germany, this number is likely to have significantly grown till today.
Against this backdrop, it’s not surprising that a growing number of language course providers have entered the market, each one promising to teach you German in the best, fastest and most effective way. Language schools, online classes, gamified apps, on-demand courses, YouTube channels, private tutors… the choices are endless and can be overwhelming at times. So how do you find the right German language class for you?
Of course, each of us has different preferences when it comes to learning. However, there are a few aspects that can give you an idea about the quality of the class. Here are our top 5 things to look at when choosing a German language course.
1. Ease of access
Speaking a language is a skill, and to acquire a new skill, you need to learn consistently. Thus, you should make sure that you can attend the class on a frequent basis. For online classes, that is relatively easy, provided you have a stable internet connection and a quiet place to actually focus on the class while it’s going on. If you prefer an offline class, check where and when the class takes place. You should be able to accommodate the commute and class time comfortably in your schedule. Inconvenient class timings may lead to you being tempted to skip a class every now and then. It can also lead to you being too rushed or tired – not a great condition for effective learning.
2. Course content
Once you’ve shortlisted a few realistic options, have a closer look at what you are actually learning in the course. If you are planning to appear for a German language certification, such as the Goethe Zertifikat or the Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch (ÖSD), compare the course contents with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Does the course curriculum correspond to the CEFR? This includes looking out for a healthy balance of vocabulary and grammar. Many language apps are great for improving your vocab, but they may lack in teaching you the grammatical foundation in a structured manner. Finally, check on the number of hours of the course and ensure that it’s a realistic time frame for the stated learning objectives.
3. Student engagement
To learn German efficiently, practice is important. Therefore, besides the question of what you are going to learn, how you are going to learn can make a big difference with regard to your communication capabilities at the end of the course. Look at how interactive the course is designed:
- Are there exercises and games to directly apply the learning?
- Will you get feedback on speaking and writing?
- Will you be able to interact with other learners?
- Is the group size small enough to give you plenty of in-class practice time?
Remember: Only if you have a chance to make mistakes and be corrected, will you be able to improve.
4. Teacher qualification
German isn’t the easiest language – especially the pronunciation. When you are only starting out learning German, you want to make sure that your teacher has well-rounded knowledge of the language. It’s a red flag if your teacher himself (or herself) has only completed an intermediate level of German or may not have official certifications. But knowing the language is only half the job. A good German teacher also knows how to teach the language well. You can check the instructor’s teaching qualification through specialised teaching certificates, such as a German degree specialised on didactics or the Grünes Diplom, the German teacher certification by the Goethe-Institut.
4. Additional practice opportunities
There’s only one way to master German: Practice, practice, practice – even outside of the classroom! Check which additional exposure the course provider gives to students, which is not only restricted to the curriculum. These may be facilities such as self-learning content, a library with German material, or events such as excursions, meetups or contests etc.
Nothing gives you better insight about the quality of a class like the people who experienced it. Ask people who completed the course to give you their reviews: How well do they speak German now? If they appeared for an examination, did they feel well prepared? And most importantly: Did they have fun while learning?
If your course ticks all these boxes, the chances are high that they will enable you to learn German in no time.
Learning German for your job search in Germany? Consult ProRecognition to advise you on the level you need.