Education and Language

Online Advanced Training in GFL and GSL – Flexible, practical and qualified

Online advanced training offers an anytime-anywhere additional qualification | Photo (detail) © contrastwerkstatt -

Whether trained teacher or career changer – the Goethe-Institut’s advanced training courses offer present and future teachers additional qualifications in “German as a foreign language” and “German as a second language”.

The subjects “German as a foreign language” (GFL) and “German as a second language” (GSL) are regular courses at colleges and universities worldwide. But many GFL and GSL teachers discover the desire to teach German only in the course of their professional career. Moving abroad, for example, often changes the German native speaker’s career prospects. Or there arises, as a result of immigration and high numbers of refugees, a greater need for GFL teachers.

International orientation and flexibility

For these heterogeneous target groups, online advanced training offers an anytime-anywhere additional qualification that can be acquired while working. Depending on the requirement and goal, participants can choose among courses with various focal points. Using a learning platform, they have online access to their classroom and digital materials, exercises, tests and participant forums.
The consultants Christina Trojan and Dmitri Kletschko are in charge of the advanced training courses of the Goethe-Institut. The special feature of these services is “that they enter into the life scenarios of an international clientele and have been developed in accordance with the latest findings in training teaching and action research. Equipped with many intercultural elements, they can quickly qualify both native and non-native speakers with a very good knowledge of German for purposes of teaching throughout the world.

Advanced training in cooperation with universities

The online courses DaF unterrichten (Teaching GLF) and DaF Grundlagen und Konzepte (GFL: Basics and Concepts) are aimed primarily at university graduates, with or without teaching experience, who have degrees in related disciplines such as German philology, education or modern languages. The course “GFL: Basics and Concepts” is offered in cooperation with the University of Munich and imparts central subjects in teaching practice against the background of theoretical principles. It is addressed rather to those who want to bolster their teaching experience with methodology and educational theory. “Teaching GLF”, a cooperation with the University of Jena, is strongly oriented to practice. Both courses conclude with a graded university certificate and are, thanks to ETCS points, the European credit transfer system, recognized internationally by other universities.

Independent of location and practical

The Austrian intercultural language teacher Sarah-Therese Mann (born 1988) commutes between Mallorca and Germany. She broadened her teaching skills in the individual course “Teaching GLF”. “As a phase teacher with more than one residence and work commitment, the independence of location and flexible scheduling were decisive for me”, she says. “I had to motivate myself again and again and keep at it over the study period of one to two years, but then I got a complete package and a certificate with which I can come closer to my goal of working as a GFL teacher worldwide and in different types of schools.”
Mann found the practical suggestions particularly inspiring: “I applied everything directly in my teaching. These experiences I could then bring into so-called practical exploration projects in my studies”. She thereby hit on completely new ideas; for instance, in the use of media. With her Mallorcan pupils, she spontaneously shot a soap opera. Those who, unlike Mann, do not yet have GFL teaching experience can alternatively work with filmed lessons available in the course database.

Thorough further training for career changers

Marc Feilen (born 1965) graduated from the course “DaF Methodik und Didaktik” (GFL: Methodology and Principles of Teaching), which offers career changers professional qualification. The Barcelona-based German architect began to take an interest in GFL teaching when, as a result of the economic crisis in Spain, it became more difficult to earn a livelihood in his original profession. Feilen began teaching German courses in Spanish companies. Through further training that combined theory with specific suggestions and methods, he wanted to reflect on his teaching, which he hitherto practiced “by instinct and intuition”. At the same time, it was important for him to improve his professional opportunities. “Methodology, the principles of teaching, concepts – I had no idea of the basics underlying modern foreign language teaching. It was enriching to learn so many new things.”
The course strengthened Feilen’s resolution to return to his hometown of Gladbeck to teach, to begin with, at the adult education centre and in integration courses. In the long-term he hopes to fulfil his desire to conduct special German courses for young professionals.

Networked online and individually supervised

If you take an online advanced training course, in additional to specialized knowledge you will acquire an acquaintance with a new learning culture. Feilen, for example, had never before worked with learning platforms on the internet. “You have to find an access to this multi-media type of learning”, he says. “That can be done quickly and you’re given support while learning how to do it.” The online tutors provide feedback on tasks and learning progress. They also help with technical questions. Participants can network on the online forum and carry on exchanges about general questions and individual exercises.
“The advantage of online advanced training is that I can respond individually to participants and their questions”, says the long-time GFL teacher and online tutor Daniela Serve. From her adopted home in Bangalore, India, she supervises participants in various advanced training courses for the Goethe-Institut. “Even if we communicate mainly by writing through e-mails, it’s finally like classroom teaching with international students: I serve different types of learner and learning cultures.”

Online advanced training for teachers and educators

For trained GFL / GSL teachers and other teachers and educators, the Goethe-Institut also offers online advanced training courses with various emphases. Deutsch Online Lehrkräfte (German Online Teachers), for example, is a service for non-native speaker German teachers. In the area of Mediendidaktik DaF/DaZ (Media Didactics GFL / GSL), several course treat the use of digital media in teaching. Training is also offered at Online-Tutoring. For Lehrkräfte in der Sekundarstufe and for Grundschullehrkräfte oder pädagogische Fachkräfte im Kindergarten (Teachers in secondary and primary schools and educational staff in kindergartens), who work with children with immigrant backgrounds, the Goethe-Institut offers online advanced training in German as a second language (GSL) in the corresponding field of activity. These courses too are flexible as to time. Unlike the GFL basic courses, however, they begin on fixed dates and have a fixed term so as to allow for group work.


At whom are the Goethe-Institut’s online services aimed?

The advanced training and further training services are aimed at already working future German teachers and career changers. There are courses with various emphases and goals for various target groups.

How do I find the right training?

You will find detailed descriptions of individual advanced training courses, their content, emphases and requirements here.
You can also reach us by e-mail or telephone for personal consultation.

What are the requirements for participating in the advanced training course?

The requirements vary depending on the training. Information can be found in the description of the courses on our website.
Special admissions are possible in warranted exceptional cases. In such cases, please get in touch with our customer service.

Can I, as a non-native speaker, take part in a GFL / GSL advanced training course?

You can take part in an advanced training course as a non-native speaker, but need an additional requirement certifying knowledge of German. Depending on the course, certification (for instance, a certificate of the Goethe-Institut) of language level B2 or C1 is required.

What technical requirements and what amount of time are expected and what are the costs?

To graduate from an online advanced training course you need to have regular access to a computer with an internet connection. Time and costs vary depending on the course. Information can be found in the course descriptions.

How can I register for a course?

Registration is by post. The registration form for printing out and more information can be found here.

How specifically does an online advanced training course proceed?

The courses are conducted in German on the online platform, where all homework and materials are available. You will be personally supervised by the correspondence course team or by online tutors. The exact sequence of the course differs according to the chosen service.
General information on the sequence of an advanced training course can be found here.
The exact sequence of the courses are given in the course descriptions.

What is the difference between individual and group courses?

Individual courses have a flexible course starting time and scheduling, and learning intensity can be designed flexibly by the individual participant.
Group courses have a fixed starting time and include a proportion of cooperative work done online in the course group.
Scheduling and learning intensity can nevertheless be designed flexibly.
Whether a course is offered as an individual or group course can be found in the course description.

What are the advanced training service’s standards of quality?

The correspondence course service is regularly reviewed and certified by the State Central Office for Distance Learning (ZFU).
All courses offered bear the corresponding seal of approval. Goethe-Institut diplomas enjoy the highest international reputation and generally open good career prospects.
More information about the course material and tutors can be found here.

Where are there similar GFL / GSL advanced training courses for online study?

The University of Marburg offers online GFL further training with a short classroom phase of 2 to 3 days.

Marguerite Seidel
works as a journalist, teaches GFL in a welcoming class and has herself taken part in an advanced training course at the Goethe-Institut.

Translation: Jonathan Uhlaner

Text: Goethe-Institut, Marguerite Seidel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.
Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag

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