Frohes Neues Jahr – Happy New Year

The new Year came with a few resolutions – one of which is to blog more often about my German language class. One reason why I have been slacking in the past year or two was the feeling that I kept repeating myself. The situations seemed so similar to what I had written about in the first years of this blog that writing about it seemed redundant.

And then I got this new class in May. And I have been struggling ever since. The students are more disruptive than any I have ever had. The students keep talking amongst themselves in their own languages, they keep interrupting each other, interrupting me and in a strange way are slow on the uptake. It’s difficult to describe, they are not stupid but they often answer without waiting for me to finish the question. They do exercises before I have explained them fully or do them at home in advance and without any idea what they are supposed to do. I find it tremendously frustrating and I often come home and vent to my husband. And after that I have little need and nor any desire to write about it.

I’ve already attempted to change the dynamics in the group. I am finally back in my old classroom with the cupboard with all my teaching material. Now I can again be more spontaneous with using visual aids and the like. And I have once again arranged the tables and chairs in the shape of in the shape of a horseshoe. The students can look at each other, and I have easier access to them and their exercise books. I find the atmosphere generally much better than with restrictive front-of-class teaching.

I also hoped to break up some of the more disruptive pairs by doing this only to find that I now have two very disruptive corners of four talkers each. I have to think of something else, I still have a few tricks in up my sleeve after all.

Das neue Jahr kam mit guten Vorsätzen – einer davon ist, dass ich wieder öfter über meine Deutschklasse bloggen will. Ein Grund, warum ich in den letzten beiden Jahren etwas nachlässig geworden bin, ist, dass ich das Gefühl hatte, mich nur noch zu wiederholen. Die Situationen ähnelten so sehr denen aus den ersten Jahren, dass ich das Schreiben darüber überflüssig empfand.

Und dann kam im Mai dieser neue Kurs. Und seither habe ich Schwierigkeiten. Die Klasse ist viel unruhiger als alle, die ich bisher gehabt habe. Die Schüler reden untereinander in ihren Sprachen, unterbrechen sich gegenseitig, unterbrechen mich und sind auf eine seltsame Weise schwer von Begriff. Es fällt mir schwer, das zu beschreiben, sie sind nicht dumm, aber sie antworten oft bevor ich die Frage zu Ende gestellt habe. Sie beginnen mit Übungen, ohne meine Erklärungen dazu abzuwarten oder machen sie im Voraus zu Hause, ohne zu verstehen, was von ihnen verlangt wird. Für mich ist das extrem frustrierend und ich komme oft nach Hause und lasse bei meinem Mann Dampf ab. Danach habe ich dann weder das Bedürfnis noch die Lust, auch noch darüber zu schreiben.

Ein Versuch, die Gruppendynamik zu ändern, habe ich schon gemacht. Ich bin endlich wieder in meinem alten Klassenzimmer, dort, wo mein Schrank mit meinem Unterrichtsmaterial steht. Jetzt kann ich wieder viel spontaner auf Hilfsmittel zurückgreifen. Und ich bin wieder dazu zurückgekehrt, die Tische und Stühle in Hufeisenform zu stellen. Die Kursteilnehmer können sich ansehen und ich komme besser an die einzelnen Teilnehmer und ihre Hefte heran. Überhaupt ist die ganze Atmosphäre besser als beim traditionellen Frontalunterricht.

Ich habe auch gehofft, damit die störenderen Paare auseinanderzubekommen, nur um festzustellen, dass ich jetzt zwei Ecken mit je vier störenden Rednern habe. Da muss ich mir was anderes einfallen lassen, ich hab ja noch ein paar Tricks in petto.


8 thoughts on “Frohes Neues Jahr – Happy New Year

  1. How old are your students? Are they kids or adults? Sometimes you have separate the students that want to learn from those who don’t. In the past I’ve had classes where one student is the ring leader. One day when one particular student was away I asked them if they liked his behaviour and why they laughed at his antics. Turns out they weren’t happy and we came up with a solution. When he returned and started to act up no one responded and he felt foolish. Things improved from then on. Not sure of your circumstances so this might not be helpful.


    1. The youngest is 22, the oldest 63. Not the best mix. They all want to learn but they all have issues. One of my students improved tremendously around October – turns out, his family (wife, three daughters and a son) had finally come to Germany, he’d been working to get them out of a refugee camp all this time but never told me about. A big problem is that in this course I have 16 students – amongst them 3 couples and 2 siblings. Particularly the couples are very different in abilities, the better spouse tries to be helpful (also because there are disabilities in the mix: bad eyesight and bad hearing) but … as you can see, it’s not easy. But thanks for reading and commenting. I will keep trying.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This all sounds tremendously difficult, but please keep blogging about your classes – it’s fascinating stuff since it’s not me that has to keep at it, week after week. Good luck with sorting this class out!


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