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for German teachers
More about DLL

You can find further information about Deutsch Lehren Lernen here: what teaching principles are taught in DLL? What does action research involve? What research findings do we use as a basis for our methods?

Teaching Principles

Unterrichtsprinzipien ©GettyImages DLL advanced training familiarises teachers with the following guidelines and didactic methodology:

Teaching Principles

Every lesson is based on the development of specific language skills. This means that lessons are planned backwards, starting with the skill(s) we wish to develop. These skills are formulated with the help of descriptive learning targets and “can-statements.”  An emphasis on skills also means that we always assess whether or not students are able to practice the target skill within the time planned. Of course, as language teachers, we aren’t able to formally assess every skill necessary for language learning (e.g. soft skills such as social and communication skills), which is why in general we focus on formally assessing language-specific skills such as listening comprehension, speaking, etc.
Student-centered instruction means that we take into consideration the diverse backgrounds, interests, talents, and needs of our individual students when planning and teaching. This means, among other things, that many different kinds of materials and strategies are implemented, and that students are given a voice in the learning process to positively influence participation and motivation.  
Student engagement is the principle that students who are actively involved with the subject matter are better able to learn. Engaged students participate by asking questions and making conclusions about course work, interacting with others, and discovering for themselves different language structures, patterns, and rules. Students are also encouraged to take leading roles in all aspects of the learning process, from procedural and logistical tasks, to teaching themselves. This keeps students focused and motivated, and helps them become more conscious of their own abilities and learning styles.
An emphasis on interaction means that learning activities offer students many opportunities to engage and cooperate with one another. As one example, students are often encouraged not just to share their own experience or viewpoint on a topic, but to react and build off of the contributions of others. Activities are designed to require interaction, such as in role-plays or conversations in which students report previously unknown information on someone else, come to an agreement, convince someone of something, etc.  
Promoting autonomous learning means that we help students become conscious of and reflect on their own learning process. Decisions about instruction and lesson planning should, from the very beginning, be made with the intention of using the languages and experiences students bring with them, and of preparing them to learn other languages in the future.
Communication is always embedded in a culturally-influenced social context, and it is therefore important that students learn the ways in which language is influenced by culture. Students do this by comparing and contrasting German language and culture to their own, and ideally develop their own communicative skills and strategies for orienting themselves to the cultural realities of the German-speaking world.
Task-oriented learning is closely related to  active learning, which is the principle that instruction should focus on concepts and topics relevant to the learner (i.e. students learn to communicate about things they experience in their everyday lives). Students should be confronted with real-life situations and problems, which they are able to talk about and solve in the target language. New vocabulary and grammar rules have a role to play, but it is not a central one (such as in isolated grammar exercises or vocabulary drills). 
Many students of German have past experiences learning other languages. Teachers should build off these experiences to speed up the learning process, for example by teaching cognates or comparing structures in different languages. 

Advanced Training Principles

Fortbildungsdidaktik ©GettyImages

Aktionsforschung ©Goethe-Institut

Action Research

DLL uses action research methods to provide teachers with practically oriented advanced training:

  • DLL continually encourages course participants to observe their own lessons and lessons delivered by others
  • identifying alternative teaching strategies and trying them out
  • with the DLL approach, the acquisition of theoretical knowledge is supplemented by learning through experiences involving research and reflection.

Praxiserkundungsprojekte (PEPs) ©Goethe-Institut

Practical Exploration Projects

Practical Exploration Projects (PEPs) are the most important action research tool:

  • with these, participants focus on their own teaching
  • PEPs allow teachers to observe, evaluate and possibly change their own teaching using a question-led, structured approach
  • dialogue with other course participants allows them to gain fresh insight into different situations

Lesson documentation

Another key element of DLL is lesson documentation (known as UDOs):

  • these are recordings of authentic German teaching with a variety of target groups
  • they are meant for observation and are not intended to serve as best-practice models,
  • they allow teachers to reflect on lessons within the broader context
DLL offers sample lessons from face-to-face and online teaching contexts.

Competence orientation

In this interview at didactica 2012, Prof Dr Michael Legutke sums up the idea of competence orientation in DLL. DLL envisages the classroom as a starting point for teaching.

Specialist Articles and Research

Fachbeiträge und Forschung ©GettyImages

DLL-Konferenz: Die Ergebnisse Foto: pixabay / Olena Kychygina

Documentation from the DLL Conference 2020

A virtual conference was held for the 10th anniversary in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in September 2020 entitled: 10 Jahre DLL - Kompetente Lehrkräfte weltweit (10 Years of DLL – Competent Teachers Worldwide).
You can find the keynote speeches and outcomes organised by theme here.

Action Research in Teacher Training Programs: What Do Teachers Learn? ©Goethe-Institut

Action Research in Teacher Training Programs: What Do Teachers Learn? (PDF)

In this English-language article, Katrin Niewalda presents her research project. Her work investigates if and how action research projects in the context of DLL contribute to teachers’ professional development.

DLL Gremium

Seit 2022 unterstützt uns bei der Weiterentwicklung und Qualitätssicherung des Fortbildungsprogramm ein Gremium, dass sich aus externen Vertreter*innen aus Wissenschaft und Praxis zusammensetzt. Mindestens einmal im Jahr kommt das Gremium mit dem Fachbereich zusammen und diskutiert aktuelle Fragestellungen und Trends der Fortbildungsdidaktik und inwiefern diese ihren Niederschlag in DLL finden sollten. 

Wir bedanken uns herzlich bei allen Teilnehmenden des DLL-Gremiums.