How to Teach German to Adult Beginners

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German is one of the world’s most widely used languages. Learning German can open the door to new opportunities in many fields such as science, industry, technology, teaching, art, tourism and literature. Ideally, any second language should be learned while still a child; however, it is entirely possible to learn a second language as an adult. German has many similarities with English and can be one of the easier second languages to pick up. There are many ways to make this process flow more smoothly.

1 Emphasize similarities

Emphasize similarities. German is part of the Germanic language field and one of the languages most closely related to English. With the exception of the Eszett, or sharp "s," and three vowels with umlats, written German employs the standard Roman alphabet. Thus students need not learn a new alphabet to write German. German also has many cognates with English such as haus (house) and schiff (ship).

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2 Listen to German language tapes

Listen to German language tapes. Listening to a language directly can help speakers get a feel for it. Use songs whenever possible to help increase student enjoyment. Adult learners will often find spoken language more accessible in this manner.

3 Visit Germany

Visit Germany. Spending time in Germany is an ideal way to learn the language directly. While English is widely spoken in Germany, many Germans greet those who attempt their language gladly. Studying in Germany is an ideal way to practice their knowledge.

4 Take field trips to local German communities

Take field trips to local German communities. Many cities are still home to thriving German populations. Visit a local municipality where German is still used. Visit a restaurant and order items. Making lessons concrete is a way for adult learners to enhance their skills.

5 Use group work

Use group work. Some adults may be shy about practicing a language they may not have studied before. Have students work in small groups rather than speak in front of an entire classroom. This can give them the chance to help feel comfortable with others who may also be struggling initially.

6 Set realistic goals

Set realistic goals. An adult language learner may not be able to achieve native fluency or read every single word Goethe ever wrote. Once past a certain age, second language acquisition can be increasingly difficult. However the adult language learner may have other goals. She may want to simply travel to a beloved grandmother’s home town and say a few words to the natives. He may want to compose emails with distant friends or explore new business opportunities. Be patient and work to have your students achieve their goals.