German Courses in London
Frequently Asked Questions


How much homework am I expected to do?

For every 2 hours of tuition 1 hour of revision is recommended.

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Should I take individual lessons or learn in a group?

One-to-one tuition is intellectually more demanding, but you cover more ground. Your speaking quickly becomes more confident and adroit as you will have the entire lesson to yourself, practising this skill. As you can book lessons at your preferred times, you are certain not to miss any. You may also ask the tutor to modify his teaching style or the contents of a lesson to suit your preference.

On the other hand, group classes are considerably cheaper per head and its more natural setting is often found to be more enjoyable. The additional students allow for more realistic role plays and since it is a joint enterprise, it can radiate out positively into the workplace bringing colleagues closer. The difficulty often is finding staff of equal aptitude, level and motivation to make the course progress smoothly.

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How frequently should I take my lessons?

Particularly beginners benefit from regular lessons. They need to build up momentum. It is recommended they take twice-weekly sessions. At the other extreme, advanced students who aim to maintain their skill level will succeed with only one lesson per week. Frequency will also depend on individual target dates and whether sufficient time can be found for revision between tutorials.

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How long should each lesson last?

It will largely depend on your stamina and how long you can absent yourself from your desk. 1½ or 2 hour lessons are taken by most students and found to be satisfactory from the teaching point of view. If the language is to be learned more quickly, sessions may extend to 3 hours to be taught by 2 tutors for 1½ hours each. Also, see below Intensive courses.

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What are your views on intensive courses?

They appeal to many students because one can lock oneself away and is able to concentrate exclusively on learning the language. Some see them as a once-and-for-all solution to the seemingly tortuous learning process.

However, they are best suited for executives who have been told they must take up a management post overseas within weeks. The intensive course requires, on the part of the student, single-mindedness, first-rate intellectual abilities and extraordinary stamina. Students on the course might feel the daily round of lessons becoming a chore and a bore or, if they are beginners, simply feel overwhelmed.

It is not the best value for money. Consolidation exercises, for which students do not need teacher assistance, will have to be done during formal lessons as the evenings are too short and energy is lacking. Typically, concentration flags after about 3 hours of tuition and retention thereafter will be diminished.

In summary, intensive training does have a place when needs arise due to sudden transfers or an extended course program of one or two sessions per week cannot be followed due to unpredictable pressures at work. They may also be necessary to prepare a manager with reasonable language skills for specific work assignments, such as presentations. However, intensive training should not be seen as a panacea and, although it will provide beginners with "a shot in the arm", it can shorten the overall learning process only marginally.

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How important is grammar in your teaching?

We would like you to persevere in your struggle with grammar. Knowing the rules will give you a sense of certainty and a sound basis to develop more advanced language skills later. However, this does not mean you will be ground down by tedious exercises detached from any discernible communicative purpose.

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What do you mean by a "business course"?

It is for us two things. On the one hand, it is the in-depth knowledge gained from many years of teaching executives in an in-company setting that has taught us what to do to achieve the best outcomes from individuals who are frequently time-starved.

On the other hand, it is our "Auf Kurs"-manual, a collection of materials that zeros in on vocabulary and situational dialogues relevant to business executives. It is the attempt to make them "operational" in the shortest possible time by spot-lighting work situations.

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Why do you think the course you have produced is superior?

For two reasons: firstly, it was written with an English mother-tongue speaker in mind and tries to anticipate and deal with the problems that this particular language background presents.

Secondly, it is the result of over 20 years of work with English speaking executives seeing them at work and fighting their battles. Even during the early stages of the course, it goes beyond the standard everyday topics of booking a table or making a telephone call overseas. It includes dialogues dealing with issues such as work/life balance, the value of leadership seminars, rivalries among colleagues, challenges involved in "cold calling", working with management consultants, etc.

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Honing your German language skills