Although this post is called “5 tips to help you become a more effective German learner” it does cover any language.
Before you start learning German, you want to have a good reason for learning. If you’re reading this post, you most likely have a very good reason for learning German. You might want to live and work in Germany or go visit it for a holiday. You might like German music or literature, or you have friends or family in Germany. Whatever reason you have to learn German, don’t learn it because somebody suggested it. Make sure you have your own reasons. This is even more important when you are learning on your own without the regular lessons.
So, forget what language learning was like at school – things have changed – and explore the new and exciting ways of learning!
- Goal setting
Use different techniques to re-enforce your learning. Make sure you cover all four skills. Unless you have a very specific reason for learning German (like reading German classics) you will need to be able to read, write, listen and speak in German. If you’re teaching yourself, you can find lots of resources to help you listen, read and write. But make sure you practise your speaking as well. If you can’t find anybody to speak to, then use one of my 5 ideas to practise your German speaking
Set realistic goals. You won’t learn German over night, but also don’t expect to learn it quickly by just spending a few minutes a week to learn something.
- Putting it into practice
Making the effort in someone else’s language is very rewarding. So, have a stock of phrases which are useful to you. That way you can, even as a beginner, talk to Germans. Also make sure you learn all the words and phrases at hand concerning any allergies or other illnesses.
If you are teaching yourself, have a bank of extra resources, like YouTube videos, interesting websites or books and games. If things get tough, take time out and use one of your extra activities for fun.
- Sticking at it
Be disciplined and make time. Put it in your diary. If possible, allow time every day, even if on certain days you only manage 5 minutes. 5 minutes learning German is better than 0 minutes learning! Be organised and keep to a routine. Get yourself a suitable notebook for your writing. There are so many nice books available now, you can even buy one of mine ☺
If you can’t decide have a look at my planners and notebooks.
- Enjoy the rewards
Instead of worrying about the things you can say yet or don’t understand, enjoy the things you DO understand. If you’ve been learning German for a while, go back to a beginners’ exercise which you found really hard at the time. Look at it now and have a little laugh remembering how worried you were.
Enjoy the rewards when you made yourself understood, even if your German wasn’t perfect or grammatically correct.
Enjoy what you have learned and celebrate your German knowledge!
Have I missed anything? What do you do to be an effective German learner?