Teaching Method: Speaking comes first
The most important thing when studying a new language is to enjoy the process of learning. Our motto, “Erst lachen, dann machen,” literally means “first laugh, then do.” Because if it’s not fun, you won’t learn! Hence, this philosophy underpins everything we do in our quest for being the best language school we can be. In essence, the language teaching method of DAS Akademie is functional. That is to say, our language school sees language as a means of expressing a need or fulfilling a purpose. Thus, we design convivial situations which create the need to communicate and spark the motivation to speak, because speaking comes first.
Languages are dynamic and always changing. As children, we learn through a process of observation and osmosis. We absorb the sounds and phrases we hear being uttered by the world around us, attaching meaning to the sounds and creating our own utterances. Not everyone knows why we place a certain word before another and not all of us have the capacity to explain what grammatical structure we use and why. People just talk and interact with the world. So why should it be any different when we learn a foreign language? Of course, grammar is important; but knowing just grammar is of little use if you cannot use it in a conversation. Our credo is “talk talk talk” because our experience has shown that students learn a new language, or improve existing skills, most effectively by speaking as much as possible. Consequently, you will do the majority of the talking at DAS Akademie, not your teacher. This is an essential part of exercising the best language teaching method.
Step into a classroom at DAS Akademie and you will immediately notice something different from almost every other language school in Berlin – no desks! DAS Akademie has a very creative and hands-on teaching method, focusing predominantly on speaking. Much of the lesson is spent moving around the room and communicating in pairs or in small groups. Because we keep our classes small and personal, it allows our teachers to cater their lesson plans directly to students’ interests and needs. Although we have structures and approaches that are tried and tested, we believe there is no generic one-size-fits-all model to apply to language learning. We carefully observe the progress of our students and make sure to adapt and adjust the lessons based on their individual needs.
A holistic approach to learning
Our teaching methods emphasize verbal communication and the development of your speaking skills. However, your listening, reading and writing skills will also develop simultaneously. You’re absorbing grammatical structures organically, and expanding your vocabulary by immediately applying these structures. Moreover, we combine dialogues, role-plays that simulate everyday life, games, group activities and multimedia to provide you with interactive lessons and an intensive learning environment. As a result, your vocabulary and confidence will grow quickly, and you will soon feel like a native speaker in your chosen language. For example, if you start learning German ‘from scratch’ in an intensive course at DAS Akademie, you will be able to move to the next language level every four weeks. In six months, you will be able to speak German with ease.
Cherry Picked Teachers and Small Classes
Our experienced teachers are motivated and committed to your learning. Small classes with an average of six and a maximum of twelve students per class guarantee not only an intensive and efficient learning process, but also great group dynamics. No matter where you’re from, what language you’re learning or how long you study with us – your learning and enjoyment take the forefront in our Berlin language school. Most importantly, we are always open to your feedback.
When do classes begin?
If you already speak some–or a lot!–of your chosen language, you can join one of our courses any day of the week. That is why we need to assess your current language level. Every language school has slightly different standards, and we want to make sure that you are placed in the correct level. There are three elements that help us determine your language level.
Assessment tests mirroring the language teaching method
A written assessment indicates the level of your writing and reading skills. Therefore, this test usually only shows the tip of the iceberg as in most cases the result of the written test does not match the real command of spoken language. You can take a written test at our school in Berlin–or if you live abroad–we can send you the link to our online assessment test.
An oral test, conducted by one of our teaching staff, indicates the level of your listening and speaking skills. Combined with the result of your written test, this allows us to define your level of your chosen language more accurately. This test usually takes the form of a conversation and can be done at our school, via phone or per Skype. Last but not least, through our interaction with you, we will get an idea of the kind of student you are, that is: your learner type. This helps us to choose the best language teaching method for you.
Our language courses and certificates are structured in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This means that the language skills you acquire at DAS Akademie will be recognised throughout Europe.
Innovation and quality control
Besides developing our language teaching method day by day, we are constantly looking for new and innovative teaching materials. Therefore, our teachers work with the most recent books on the market as well as DAS Akademie’s own materials, games, music and multimedia materials. New teachers can start only after a trial lesson. Furthermore, our Head of Languages monitors the quality of their instruction regularly.
Flexibility and attention to students’ individual needs
Walk into our language school in Berlin Mitte and you will feel at home with our personal, friendly and welcoming approach to language learning. Our cosy school is located right in the heart of Rosenthaler Platz, where there is always something going on. Despite the busy nature of the area, our language school offers respite and familiarity, just a few steps above the city chaos. We treat our school like a family. Although there is constant ebb and flow with each new participant, and students finishing their studies, every new face is warmly welcomed, and we are always sad to see our graduates go. We maintain close connections with our students, and follow their journeys after their time here at DAS Akademie, if they choose to keep us informed. It is always exciting for us to see the future successes of previous participants, whether they go on to study at a German university, work in their designated field in German, or just to see how their confidence in daily speaking has improved to the point where they no longer hesitate.
Our primary concern is to make you speak the language you want. Since human beings are not machines, we acknowledge your individual needs and strive to find the best solution for you–be it changing your course, offering private lesson to “fix gaps”, providing inside information on German life, bureaucracy or the education system, or just listening to what’s going on in your life outside of class. We are here to help.
Because we care.