Is It Learning German or German Learning?
Today I stepped into a classroom for the first time in 2 1/2 or so years. Well, it was a little less like a classroom and more like a building site. It fact, it was a building site. No kidding! I turned up to my new German class this morning and it turned out that where the classes are being held (in Schöneberg)isn't quite finished yet so we walked down a corridor filled with doors leaning against walls, no flooring, cables sticking out of walls and a handful of builders hanging from various objects. Not quite what I was expecting. I guess this is what happens when you study whilst on benefits?!!!
We were actually lucky to have one of the classrooms that was in the least state of disrepair (we were only shown three spots in the room of which we were warned not to touch!) and so we settled down to the usual long, slow process of delving head first into German bureaucracy. It went on....and on...and on and it didn't help matters that the teacher for some reason decided to repeat everything 3 times. She did mention at one point tha,t before our class, she was teaching an A1 group which is absolute beginners German so I think it was taking her a chance to adjust to the fact that we could all actually speak the language! She did mention this half a dozen times or so!
Bureaucracy over, we started on the good ol' 'getting to know you' exercise and so we went round the room introducing ourselves and encourage by our overzealous teacher, our entire backstories! Really! I am not exagerating here! I like the teacher. She's really sweet. One of those people who is so incredibly bubbly and cheerful it almost makes you throw up and she clearly was genuinely interested in knowing a lot about us and our backgrounds but she encouraged people to discuss their entire school history, the politics of their Country and more. It was a bit much, especially as it took an hour and a half.
I was also shocked to discover that I have been put into a C1 class! For those of you who don't know the system here is how it is explained from the 'Common European Framework of Reference for Languages'
- A Basic Speaker
- A1 Breakthrough or beginner
- A2 Waystage or elementary
- B Independent Speaker
- B1 Threshold or intermediate
- B2 Vantage or upper intermediate
- C Proficient Speaker
- C1 Effective Operational Proficiency or advanced
- C2 Mastery or proficiency
Back when I did my 'Integration Course', I started at level A2 because I had been around enough German by that point to develop an ok understanding even though I couldn't really talk it and they thought I would catch up quickly which I did. I then studied through to B1 which is the basic level for general conversational, reading and writing skills..
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