by Mardiana Manik
I am an Indonesian Teacher teaching German language and in my class (Senior 1 and 2) I only have beginners, they cannot speak Germany language at all. My students know that I can understand their mother thong, so they always insist and tell me that they don’t understand what I am saying. But I never give in and I always consequently just use German language in class.
The very first time we start with introducing each other, I wrote the main new word at the white board and then I used the role play methodology.
I shook their hands and said my name and with this very simple practical instrument they understood. I instruct them to the same with the neighbor, they understood and done the same. Even they didn’t speak one word German before, this role play was a lot of fun for them and in the end of the lesson they understood what is: Vorstellung.
I also recognized if I speak with my normal speaking habit and my higher standard of vocabulary, they cannot follow me, but if I use a very simple language, they understand. I also realized that the speaking speed is very important, if I speak with my normal habit; this will be too fast for them, so I changed my habits and now I speak very slowly and my students can follow much better than before.
Also after I started to use the white board more often in writing the main words as reminder and the translations or better with translations with pictures or different materials, students can follow much better my advises as well they show more interest to find out the meaning of the words and sentences.
Don’t present everything to the students, let them search as well, I suggested to every student to buy a dictionary, after they have this I have had a great instrument to let students to find out by self what is the meaning of new words and I involve that in my lessons all the time. Nothing is better than if students find out by self and act as a teacher to their classmates.
I also made agreements with my class, every week everyone has to introduce 2 – 4 new words, so we try to increase vocabulary without pressure to memorizing words, because every student has to explain the new word.
The main conclusion for me is: Don’t give in, just use the language you want to teach very consequently, speak slow and start to understand their language level to increase their language skills together, use as much material and photos or very practical connections.