My methods for effective German lessons
Your level and my approach
With beginner students, I start by looking at various ways of expressing simple phrases in German, such as how to introduce yourself and talk about your pastimes. We will then move on to the conjugation of regular verbs, key rules regarding word order and the differences in pronunciation between the German and English alphabet. While building your vocabulary on a range of topics, our main focus will be to keep your sentences simple but correct, before gradually adding complexity as we move along.
One of the difficulties of learning any foreign language, and especially one as challenging as German, is to resist the constant temptation to translate from your mother tongue into German. Not only do literal translations rarely make sense, they also increase the likelihood of mistakes. My solution to this problem is to help students simplify their ideas, by keeping their focus on German grammar and by checking which words they have at their disposal. The advantages of this approach are grammatical accuracy and confidence in writing and speaking. As soon as my students have developed the flexibility to simplify with ease, we work towards increasing nuance and complexity of their sentences through text work, grammar training and discussions in class.
Intermediate-level as well as advanced students also benefit from my method simple but correct, yet here the focus lies in mastering word order and the cases - nominative, accusative, dative and genitive - the building blocs of German grammar. Understanding word order rules will help you to accurately structure your sentences during speaking, and will tell you where to find certain key elements - subject, verb, objects, time, place - when reading. Mastering the cases will determine not only your handling of nouns but also shape your usage of prepositions and adjectives. At intermediate and especially advanced level, students face the challenge of having to apply several grammatical rules at the same time, and so the focus on the building blocks of German grammar will allow you to converse, write and read with the confidence of knowing that you understand how the language works.
Adopting simple but correct also assists students who have to unlearn certain mistakes that they weren’t aware of in the past; for the method forces you to reconsider your approach to the language from bottom up.
Progress and estimated timeline
My tuition is designed to ensure that students make rapid progress. It takes on average five to eight months of weekly two-hour lessons to bring absolute beginners to intermediate level. However, regular revision and completion of homework are essential. One of my most recent students who took the B1 exam at the Goethe Institut after five months of tuition passed with flying colours, achieving an average score of over 90%. Four months later, she also passed the C1 exam with 77%. C1 is the second highest level and enables you to study and work in Germany. In other words, she went from knowing just a few German words to fluency in nine months. Whilst this is exceptional, getting to advanced level German in less than a year is a feasible goal for really committed students.
For our younger students studying toward GCSE and A-Levels, most have achieved A* or the equivalent with an average preparation time of four to eight months of weekly two-hour tuition. Success is of course dependant on the student’s commitment to revision between lessons.
For further information about my methods, please do not hestitate to contact me.
My rules for your success
Simple but correct: master the basics first before adding complexity to your sentences.
Three repetitions for every new word: make new words stick by using them in different contexts
Grammar is the basis: grammatical accuracy gives you confidence
Your motivation is key: I make the classes as interesting as possible by referring to topics of your choice