During my TEFL-course I was taught:
- Do a needs analysis with your students, so as to you find out (yes, really) what their language learning needs are;
- Find appropriate and relevant goals and fit them into themes that match your students’ interests;
- Accommodate for different types of learners by doing different types of activities (reading, listening, speaking, games, video, tactile stuff, etc.);
- Make sure that your students get lots of free practice in which they can use the target language in a free way. Discussion slots are awesome for this;
- Course books can be used, but following them from A-Z is generally not recommended.
None of this has reached the world of Teaching German as a Foreign Language yet, it seems
Before I start my semi-rant: my school is well organized. The group is small, and the learning environment is pleasant. All kudos to that.
We follow a course book. From A-Z. This means that we do what the course book thinks we should do, and that we don’t spend any extra time on things that turn out to be difficult for the group. It also means that we do the exercises in the course book (i.e. reading, listening, fill-the-gap exercises), and have no real discussions, no games, etc. The themes in the book are not necessarily relevant or interesting, and discussing “how is this in your country?” gets incredibly annoying after 5 minutes. I did not come here as a representative of the Netherlands, I do not know what my fellow countrymen have for breakfast or what they spend on wedding gifts, nor do I care.
The first days in class were spent talking about Heiraten, followed by – FFS – Bindungsangst….
So what about Tischtennis then?
Ach ja, Tischtennis… What my German needs, is (at some points serious) revision of grammar points, and more vocab. Most of all, I need practice. And I have found out that I get more of that practice at St. Pauli Tischtennis matches (even though table tennis is extremely boring to watch, possible the most boring thing to watch EVER, especially if you’re the only one in the room who doesn’t understand the game at all and doesn’t give a f*ck either) and in der Kneipe drinking beer (yes, me!), singing songs like Ich bin so heiss wie ein Vulkan and Ti Amo (but that’s a different story altogether).
So my advice: get yourself a good grammar book, skip the course and hit the night life. Or any other kind of Real Life, really…