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Old 13.06.2012, 12:28
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Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

I'm going to attend a language school in Zurich very soon but was really concerned when I found out (yes, call me naive) that they teach the German course in only German to accommodate all types of students from varying backgrounds.

For those who have experience with this, how does a beginner learn in this type of environment when they are either brand new or very shaky at listening skills in German? It must work somehow or else they wouldn't be doing it and have successful classes! I'm just really nervous about not understanding anything and wasting a lot of time and money.

Please share your experience, I would love to hear about your success/hardships with this topc

Thank youuuuu
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Old 13.06.2012, 12:45
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

Hi

I will be honest with you it is very difficult to do. I brought a German dictionary into class with me and I must admit I did look up words (much to the annoyance of the teacher!). The teacher will try to put everything into a context (yes in German!) and then ask people in the class the same questions, if you sit in a good seat you wont be asked first! There will be people in the class that have more knowledge than you but just use their knowledge and try not to get annoyed if they seem like a teachers pet

On your first day you will probably be given the course materials, I spent the night before going over what was coming up in the next few pages. I would look up the vocabulary to see what things meant, that way I would feel a little more confident when the time came to look at in class.

You will need to listen to the CDs if they give you any at night time and do the homework they issue. Keep going over at home what they do in class.

Goodluck, I have completed two courses so far this way.

Nichola
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Old 13.06.2012, 12:54
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

1st foreign language, huh?

Was mine too.

You can't rely on translations, or you'll never grasp the "feel" of the language, and will be plagued with terrible grammar/syntax forever.

What you're effectively doing, is creating an alternate "map" in your mind for the new language - for that to work, you need to immerse in the language. That, and there are many things that just don't translate directly.

Of course, a good dictionary for quick clarification of a single word is always helpful.
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Old 13.06.2012, 12:56
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

I've been doing this for about six months of German classes now - everything is in German. Some teachers are a little more strict than others at my school at staying in German, but at least 95% of the classes are fully in German. In the beginning, it's all very basic vocabulary - things you can pick up from context (whats your name, where are you from) or from pictures (food, directions). As we've gone on, some words are a little more difficult to describe (things like, "otherwise" and "by the way" and other expressions that you use commonly but are more difficult to describe). In those cases, the teacher has either said it in English (as almost all the students in my classes have been able to speak English) or looked the other way while we look at our iPhone dictionaries

I'd suggest looking over a basic grammar book before you start - perhaps the first few pages so you at least know the pronouns and basic greetings.

Good luck!
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I'm going to attend a language school in Zurich very soon but was really concerned when I found out (yes, call me naive) that they teach the German course in only German to accommodate all types of students from varying backgrounds.

For those who have experience with this, how does a beginner learn in this type of environment when they are either brand new or very shaky at listening skills in German? It must work somehow or else they wouldn't be doing it and have successful classes! I'm just really nervous about not understanding anything and wasting a lot of time and money.

Please share your experience, I would love to hear about your success/hardships with this topc

Thank youuuuu
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Old 13.06.2012, 12:58
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

Totally agree, it is so hard though!!

But worth it in the end, you will come on so fast
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Old 13.06.2012, 13:27
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

Learning vocabulary by this method is generally easy to grasp as the teacher will use pictures or point at things... However, the grammar is a whole different ball game, but you will get there in the end.

Most native English speakers will struggle with understanding the German grammar as they don't actually understand English grammar, never having been taught it in school.

I can highly recommend this book:

http://www.amazon.com/English-Gramma.../dp/0934034230
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Old 13.06.2012, 13:47
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

My husband was very nervous about taking his first class too, because of the same issue. So, you are not alone !

His teacher was very nice, though. She did offer to speak a LITTLE bit of english during class if he just absolutely didn't understand. She also offered to explain things after class.

In the first class (A1) they played a lot of games, word association, used photos, and the teacher used a lot of hand motions to make things more clear.

However, I will not lie . You may have difficulty following and understanding. You may get frustrated or sad or embarrassed, and your teacher may pick on you a lot in class, but only because she/he knows that the only way to learn is through repetition. Know that many, many, many people go through this.

Just try to have fun and make some friends, and by the end of the course you will be surprised how much you picked up.

Edit** Oh yes, and study of course ! Very important
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Old 13.06.2012, 14:18
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

That's exactly how I learnt German. Bit daunting at first, but I believe I made far faster progress than if explanations were given to me in English.

Just make sure you have a good German/English dictionary and you'll be fine.
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Old 13.06.2012, 14:41
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

I did a 3-month intensive course where the student background was mixed and the teacher taught in German. I don't think it will be a problem as long as most of the students are at the same level. You figure out what is going on and soon learn the basics. The most difficult bit for me was the letter I was sent when I was assigned a course. I had to type almost the whole letter into Google to understand what I had to do and what I had to bring with me.
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Old 13.06.2012, 14:59
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

I've been in intensive German classes in Zurich for about 6 months... all German. I believe that this is the only way to really learn the language. I've tried to learn 1 other language before (I even lived in the country for 5 years!).. needless to say, I still cannot speak that language. After 6 months of German classes, I feel comfortable in the language. I walked in the first day only knowing "Hallo", and now I can have simple, everyday conversations with people. If you're willing to put in the work (studying, going over vocabulary, SPEAKING and doing homework) you'll be fine.

Teachers are fine usually with dictionaries, but I recommend either an electronic dictionary or if you have a smartphone, download the LEO application - very good dictionary for German... don't stress, don't worry about making mistakes, and just try to enjoy the experience. This type of environment also gives you the opportunity to speak with others at your level without feeling inadequate. ALSO - as others in the thread said, there WILL be teacher's pets, or people who feel the need to share their "better" knowledge of German with the class, but trust me, soon everyone will be at exactly the same level. Try it out!
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Old 13.06.2012, 15:16
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

This is great advice from EVERYONE, I wasn't expecting such great answers . I know that this type of total immersion is the most efficient way to learn but it's just so scary at first. Thank you all so much. I am going to call my school to ask about bringing in my own dictionary to verify it is okay with the establishment because I think it would be great to have that resource for emergency 'duh' moments or if I'm totally lost. Also it's really great to hear that all of you have successfully gone through this type of course and overcame the initial shock of it. I think once you get past that it is an effective way of learning after all.
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Old 13.06.2012, 16:22
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

ONLY way to learn a language as an adult... Probably difficult and unnerving if you have never studied a foreign language, but really does work.
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Old 13.06.2012, 16:31
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

Agree, definitely the best way and if your teacher knows what they're doing it will be fine.

My teacher slips in a bit of English now and then and to be honest I actually wish he wouldn't. With the full German version you get away from trying to translate words one by one and actually begin to understand the structure of the German language, which is very useful.

Have fun!
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Old 13.06.2012, 16:37
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Re: Learning German with German-Only Instruction... does this work?

Hi,

Don't stress. My German course was the same and it was fine. I think you learn a bit faster that way. Good luck!
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I'm going to attend a language school in Zurich very soon but was really concerned when I found out (yes, call me naive) that they teach the German course in only German to accommodate all types of students from varying backgrounds.

For those who have experience with this, how does a beginner learn in this type of environment when they are either brand new or very shaky at listening skills in German? It must work somehow or else they wouldn't be doing it and have successful classes! I'm just really nervous about not understanding anything and wasting a lot of time and money.

Please share your experience, I would love to hear about your success/hardships with this topc

Thank youuuuu
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