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Old 13.09.2017, 13:33
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Anyone else dropped out of German class?

I am currently in between jobs, and I finally decided to enroll myself in an intensive German A1 course. Through my time already spent living here, I have a rather good understanding of the basic German needed for daily use (i.e. for shopping, hi how are you, my name is etc.), but thought it would be vital to learn it properly in order to fully integrate.

However, I find myself no longer attending class as I was not learning anything due to the coursebook and entire class being conducted in German. I know this may eventually be a good way to learn, but when you start from the very beginning - how can you learn anything through this method? How am I supposed to know what Nominativ, Dativ and Akkusativ cases to use if no one has taken the time to explain to me what these cases actually mean in a language I fully comprehend? Past the initial rather easy first week, I find my classes to be an absolute waste of time and I have just downloaded a German grammar book for English native speakers that makes so much more sense than any of my classes do. I am full of self-loathing for wasting money and not going back to my classes, but I don't know what else to do.

The students in my class are from around the world, and most of us do not speak each other's native languages - therefore during our exercises, we do not know how to communicate or help each other and just end up staring at each other with confused expressions.

Anyone else have the same experience? Is there a better school out there that explains the complexities of the German language in a way that English speakers can understand? Or are you better off learning on your own at home? I cannot afford these extremely expensive schools and am hesitant to invest if I have to because I am concerned that the learning method would be the same way.

Thanks so much for your feedback!
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:39
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

Can't you join an online program from an institute in your native country? My wife is doing the courses online in a program on a Swedish university (heck, the Swedish government even pays for it..)

In Zürich there's German classes with English as native language.
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:40
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

You bailed too early. Simplez.

Go back and this time stick at it.
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:45
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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You bailed too early. Simplez.

Go back and this time stick at it.
I can see that expats learning A1 are wondering what on earth they are doing in a class where the teacher explains it all in German. He'd be much better of in a class in his native language.
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:48
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

Have you tried youtube? there is one german by jenny I think and she does skype lessons too.
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Old 13.09.2017, 14:02
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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I can see that expats learning A1 are wondering what on earth they are doing in a class where the teacher explains it all in German. He'd be much better of in a class in his native language.
Whilst I can see how the finer details of grammar are best taught in the native language, I've no doubt that A1 is best taught in German.

For me the biggest incentive to stick at it way back when I did German courses was the price I'd paid for it. I deliberately chose expensive courses for this reason.
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Old 13.09.2017, 14:06
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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I can see that expats learning A1 are wondering what on earth they are doing in a class where the teacher explains it all in German. He'd be much better of in a class in his native language.
Lots of beginners think this would be the case, but such classes don't really exist here. There is a myriad of information available for free online though. E.g. http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/ (or just Google for german language resources in english).

I'd recommend a compete novice to spend some time reading up on the basics in this way before starting an A1 course. It should really be thought of as a pre-requisite, rather like accepting that an A1 course is NOT suitable for a complete newbie to German. And don't expect it to be taught to you - read and study, practice can come later, but it will be much simpler if you've already got half a clue how the language works.
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Old 13.09.2017, 14:13
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

Some of the responses in this thread might be interesting reading for you.

https://www.englishforum.ch/language...ml#post2713810

Short version: language learning by full immersion is possible and in fact very effective - but it takes extra perseverance on both sides. Visual support is everything, so it helps if you (teacher AND learner) come to class armed with a sketchpad and a lively imagination.
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Old 13.09.2017, 14:17
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

I hate to say this, but if you believe A1 is about the complexities of the German language you're going to have a bit of a shock later!

Most likely you need to just relax - many of these courses rattle through the course book at a pace nobody is really going to keep up with.

Don't worry - you won't learn it on one pass through anyway; but if you give it a go and interact with other students, it's surprising how much has gone in when you look back.

It's also about repetetion - so don't avoid that course, but find something to complement it. One-to-one sessions e.g. over Skype may help - you can cover things you didn't understand, and it's not too expensive.
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Old 13.09.2017, 14:31
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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Visual support is everything, so it helps if you (teacher AND learner) come to class armed with a sketchpad and a lively imagination.
Sounds like a nightmare. Some people, myself incuded, do not react well to visual approaches to learning (and other aspects of life). If I thought I'd have to sketch things in a language class I simply would not sign up. I do recall some teachers trying to use visualisation techniques, like imagining print a new noun on a table or a chair to help remember its gender, and wondering why anyone would want to make it so complicated. Not only does it not work for me, but it puts up lots of barriers which can actually hinder the learning process.

Thinking more about this, it seems likely that it's the same people who want to learn the basics in their own language who would fit into this non-visual category. A more intellectual approach to learning wants an understanding of 'why' almost before 'what' - no, scratch the 'almost'. I hate learning by example - explain the rule first please, then let's start on examples of how it works later.
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:06
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

I learned French, in France, being taught solely in French, and never having studied French before.

My kids learned Italian here in school, being taught solely in Italian, never having spoken Italian before.

I fail to see the problem, rather I think that it's the best way to learn.

Tom
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:15
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

I think that the main problem is wanting to learn a lenguage "from" your own mother language.
You stop thinking on your own language, and if you just know to say 4 things, when you have to do the exercises in class with other colleagues you repeat the same 4 things. That's the point. You repeat it so much it sticks and you will be able to use it in the future.
I have learnt all the languages with this methode, and I just leave my mind in blank, I just think the few words I am tought.


Yes, then you can go home and try to learn to understand some things that are different in your own language but don't fight it too much. Just go, follow the lessons, it's Ok if you are lost. do the exercises at home (this is vital), and don't give up. Just keep going.
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:16
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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However, I find myself no longer attending class as I was not learning anything due to the coursebook and entire class being conducted in German. I know this may eventually be a good way to learn, but when you start from the very beginning - how can you learn anything through this method? How am I supposed to know what Nominativ, Dativ and Akkusativ cases to use if no one has taken the time to explain to me what these cases actually mean in a language I fully comprehend? Past the initial rather easy first week, I find my classes to be an absolute waste of time and I have just downloaded a German grammar book for English native speakers that makes so much more sense than any of my classes do. I am full of self-loathing for wasting money and not going back to my classes, but I don't know what else to do.
It can work out very well (It is btw. how you learned your native language). But it also depends on what kind of learner you are and what knowledge and interest you have in Grammar, sentence structure etc. And it also depends on the teacher. Not everyone is a (good) teacher. And not every teaching style suits everyone. For some approach X is much better than approach Y.

If you are in an A1 course thought in German only you should not worry about the cases too much at the moment and just talk and use the words you know. If you need another word, look it up in a dictionary. This approach goes from practice to theory to proficiency. You may can even leave out the theory part.

Do I know all the Grammar and Syntax rules of Zurich German? Which are btw. different than those of Standard German. No. The hell not. Not even close. But I am still able to transcribe Standard German or Bernese German (which again has other rules) into Zurich German. I would say Billions can not explain the Grammar rules of their native language. Knowing Grammar is not inherently necessary for learning a language.

The other approach is, which seems to be more suited to you, is to start with the theory and then go to practice. Problem with that? The full deal is over 1344 pages! https://www.orellfuessli.ch/shop/hom...rovID=10917751
Means you may have to start with some basic stuff. And as you do not understand German yet you have to read it in your own language.

A problem with that approach is that you might not begin to use and naturally understand German but you are translating between your Language and German. A huge difference which may be bound to fail as some concept, rules, and idioms do not exist in your native language. Some of the stuff has to be known by heart. (I am not talking how you learned it and what method you used). When you read "Das Mond, der Auto, die Sonne" you must feel what is right and cringe on what is wrong (Auto and Mond btw.). Just by impulse. If you learn a language only using the language itself, people argue that this feeling of right and wrong is sooner ingrained and less translation between the native language occurs.

I am far from arguing you should to a certain approach. As I said it all depends on you and the ability of the teacher what might be best in your situation. What you can do is to find a course which better suits you or make best of both: Learn all the stuff you are interested in in self study and use the course to practice what you have learned and get input what you could learn next. Attending any language course alone is never good enough. It must be accompanied with either practice (the more the better) and home study (as soon as possible in the target language only, which means it becomes practice too ).
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:26
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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Thinking more about this, it seems likely that it's the same people who want to learn the basics in their own language who would fit into this non-visual category. A more intellectual approach to learning wants an understanding of 'why' almost before 'what' - no, scratch the 'almost'. I hate learning by example - explain the rule first please, then let's start on examples of how it works later.
Everyone is different. I rather have an example problem first, then shown how to solve it, derive the rule, and the apply it to other examples. Not sure if this the case because I am an engineering person or because of that I became one.
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:26
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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And it also depends on the teacher. Not everyone is a (good) teacher.
Agreed. A good teacher is 90% of the learning experience.
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:50
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

It is painfully inefficient, no question there.
To get started, I found duolingo.com a much much better use of time.
Once one is far enough along the learning curve, the 100% High German becomes tolerably inefficient. Often, the instructor seemed relieved when another student answered the question in English as the instructor was not allowed to use English. :-)
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Old 13.09.2017, 17:03
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

It is possible to go from zero to C1 all by yourself if you are prepared to put in the effort and not concerned about f'ing up (which will happen a lot to start with). I did an A2 class when I first got here, I got to C1/2 with no more classes, just a bit of self discipline and a couple of years.

If speaking German is a problem, try Pimsleur German and/or Michel Thomas - I can link downloads for these if you want.

For writing and grammar Herr Professor and/or EasyDeutsch

http://www.herrprofessor.com/en/
https://easy-deutsch.de/

And watch lots of shit TV with subtitles but not the dubbed stuff.

Babies can learn German, so so can you. Good luck, you'll make it.
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Old 13.09.2017, 17:12
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I can see that expats learning A1 are wondering what on earth they are doing in a class where the teacher explains it all in German. He'd be much better of in a class in his native language.
Thanks for your understanding - we all have our own way of learning I think I would work better with a private tutor rather than a large class room filled with a variety of comprehensions.

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And watch lots of shit TV with subtitles but not the dubbed stuff.
.
Thanks for the tips! I've heard the above from several people...I promise to be dedicated.

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Everyone is different. I rather have an example problem first, then shown how to solve it, derive the rule, and the apply it to other examples. Not sure if this the case because I am an engineering person or because of that I became one.
Exactly my way of thinking!

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I learned French, in France, being taught solely in French, and never having studied French before.

My kids learned Italian here in school, being taught solely in Italian, never having spoken Italian before.

I fail to see the problem, rather I think that it's the best way to learn.

Tom
What works for you does not work for everyone - but I'm happy you've been successful using this method.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 13.09.2017 at 23:34. Reason: merging consecutive replies, try the multi-quote button, to the right of quote :)
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Old 13.09.2017, 17:58
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

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Everyone is different. I rather have an example problem first, then shown how to solve it, derive the rule, and the apply it to other examples. Not sure if this the case because I am an engineering person or because of that I became one.
A little simplistic, perhaps, but in essence I agree. For languages, however, and German in particular, I just don't think it works. The rules, and particularly the fundamentally-flawed shortcut rules they often teach in language classes, tend not to follow a logical pattern, so trying to work out the rule from the corrected example (without external input as to why) is seldom going to succeed.
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Old 19.09.2017, 15:59
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Re: Anyone else dropped out of German class?

I was sort of learning German using duolingo, but was really bumping along the bottom. Duolingo possibly works for some people, but you need to devote an hour or two to it each day and be in a place where you can practise speaking out loud. This ain't gonna work on the bus or the train. Well you could, but I would feel like too much of an idiot badly speaking/practising German to my Swiss-German fellow passengers....

This didn't really change until I suddenly got made redundant over here. It was the wrong time to lose my job (is there ever a right time?), my saving were low and so I had no choice but to sign on to the Swiss RAV unemployment service.

3 fruitless months later and I get a letter. To continue receiving the unemployment benefit I have to take a compulsory, 5 days a week, 4.5 hours a day German course at the local language centre. Starting each day at 08.30 sharp. Be 10 minutes late without a valid doctor's note and a 25% monthly penalty. Eeek...

The German course is great in theory, concentrated German course, 20+ per week and free. What they didn't mention was the that tutor would from day 1 of this A1 course be speaking fluent Swiss-German and that unless you had at least an A1 understanding, that progress was going to be extremely limited aka nigh impossible.

I did the course for 6 weeks (its a 12 week course) until I found a new job, some of it actually sunk in, but it was so badly structured, (the tutor actually spoke excellent English, so did most of the class who were mixed European) it was really, really tough going. They vaguely followed a syllabus, but because this was just a box ticking exercise on behalf of the Swiss RAV, homework was never followed through properly, the tutor wasn't really bothered if you completely misunderstood the whole lesson, so in the end I was glad I never finished and was quite disappointed by the whole experience.

My contract was a 10 hrs a day+ thing, so all thoughts of learning German disappeared out of the window.

I know that I would have liked to have learnt German, but what with bi-weekly commuting back to the UK and a busy timetable, it proved to be too difficult to come to grips with. If only that German tutor had been a bit more motivated to actually teach us....
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