How to identify a good German course

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To be able to work in Germany, you often have to provide evidence of German proficiency even at the point of visa application. For you as a skilled worker this means that you have to learn German to a really high standard in a relatively short time. How can you identify which language schools have good-quality teaching?
Your personal motivation and discipline, as well as your previous knowledge and experience in learning a language, will influence your learning outcome. Other key factors include the type of teaching, the learning resources and your teacher’s qualification.

How to identify a language school with good German teaching:

1. Qualified teachers

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The teacher is in control of the teaching and is therefore responsible for your learning progress. Their qualification as a specialist is important, but so is their language proficiency.
  • The teacher has evidence of German proficiency to a very high level or is a native speaker. (Foreign language proficiency is stated using the European scale (GER/CEFR) from A1, basic knowledge, to C2, knowledge of German to almost native speaker level.)
  • The teacher has a university degree in German.
  • The teacher has experience in teaching German as a foreign language.
  • The teacher is familiar with the German-speaking countries, for example having spent some time living there.

2. High-quality teaching

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The objective of the teaching is to prepare you optimally for life and work in Germany.
  • There is lesson planning with clear learning goals, and you can be involved in deciding these.
  • Modern textbooks and up-to-date resources are used.
  • The work instructions given by the teacher are clear and understandable to you.
  • The teaching language is primarily German.
  • All language competences are practised. These are: listening, reading, speaking, writing.
  • Teaching is communication-oriented, i.e. you do practical exercises that prepare you for life and work in Germany.
  • Grammar is not practised in isolation, but in a useful context.
  • You learn a lot about Germany during lessons.
  • Teaching is varied; you work in groups, with a partner, or in a whole-class scenario.
  • When setting tasks, the teacher takes into consideration the varying learning speeds, previous experience and interest levels of the students on the course.
  • Pronunciation training is a key element of teaching.
  • The atmosphere is friendly, open and conducive to your learning process.

3. Basic conditions

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The language school fulfils all legal requirements. The equipment and general course organisation provide good conditions for an optimal learning process.
  • The language school facilitates full participation in lessons, even if you have hearing, sight or mobility impairments. All courses are open to you, regardless of your cultural and social origins, age, religion, gender, ideology or sexual identity.
  • The language school is officially licensed to teach by the authority. You can identify this for example from information provided on the website, or certificates displayed at the premises.
  • There are clearly-stated conditions of business, which are made accessible to all interested parties.
  • The language school’s information and advertising material conveys a current and accurate picture of the course programme.
  • The premises provide an environment that is conducive to learning. This also applies to virtual learning spaces!
  • Classrooms are adequately and appropriately equipped.
  • The sanitary facilities are clean and easily accessible to all.
  • There is a placement test before enrolment on the course, to make sure you are enrolled on a suitable course.
  • The language school conducts regular surveys of course students to monitor the suitability of courses offered and customer satisfaction.
  • There is a transparent complaints procedure. You know who to approach with questions, complaints and change requests.
  • If you don’t feel happy with a course, the language school gives you the option of switching onto a different course.
For workers in the care and health sectors: you can also find this checklist in the information resources provided by the quality seal Faire Anwerbung Pflege Deutschland (Fair Recruitment Healthcare Germany).

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