What level is expected in German schools?

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I've been asked to do Nachhilfe for some school children who want/need to improve their English for school. They are using a series of textbooks at school called "Camden Town", but I am not really sure what level I should expect from them, and what level of English they are expected to have.

 

Can anyone who either teaches or has children in German schools shed some light on this for me?

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Bascially I think that they expect more from German pupils than they do from British pupils.

 

What I do with Nachhilfe is to invite the child and at least one parent to a talk before we make any date for a lesson.

 

I ask them to come and bring the course books and the books that they write in. Then I look at their work, see what kind of problems they have. I look at the course book and make a note of the recent grammar they have done and what is coming up (normally noted in the list of contents at the front).

 

Then I talk to the pupil and ask where they think the problem lies - how they feel and what they would like to have in the lessons.

 

Then I say that I am willing to help but that they must also be willing to learn and do their part.

 

And all this in front of a parent, too.

 

Then we make an appointment and I know what to prepare for the lesson.

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Thanks nina_glyndwr - ever a source of extremely useful advice.

 

I actually did this, and met the children and parent to talk. Despite me having asked, though, they didn't bring their schoolwork with them. They had their textbooks, which is how I know what textbooks they use, but the short look through them I had didn't really help that much.

 

Sadly, possibly due to Karneval, the place we met closed early, and so we got kicked out before I would have liked. I am hoping somebody will have specific knowledge of what the children at this age/school year will be doing.

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What I used to do was find out which coursebook the kids were using and then buy a different one to plan lessons with, so that the goals were the same but the material we used was different and they weren't covering the same work content with me as they were in school. For instance, if they were using English G 2000, I used to use "Green Line". I remember that 9. Klasse was big on learning how to summarise a text but the grammar goals they had to aim towards I can't remember (well, it was 10 years ago almost). You can also search online for 9. and 10. Klasse Englisch and see what they cover.

 

It is important, however, to make sure that you cover the vocab and grammatical constructions that they are expected to learn as if they don't use these in Klassenarbeit they will be marked down, even if you, as a native speaker, think they are not quite right. So, as Nina says, talk to the parents and kids about what they need and where their problems lie first and base the teaching and learning on that. Encourage them to do this as it is really important that you tailor to their specific needs. Don't be tempted to write in their books in pencil where you think the teacher has got it wrong though (like I did ;-) ).

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Just done a quick search and found these and it brought it all back to me:

 

http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/exercises_list/klasse9.htm

 

http://www.ego4u.de/de/teach-in/lessons?07

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If they're using Camden Town, then Green Line is still a fairly solid bet if you're looking for a second textbook to work from.

 

More generally, certain other requirements for what school children need to know will be state-dependent (including issues like whether writing is assessed holistically or on a "content + number of errors" basis etc.). The publisher's website has state-specific curriculum materials for each level book to download, so you can actually work out what they should know at the end of the chapter and plan accordingly. Here's a link for volume 1. Example for Lower Saxony: (translations are my own and done in a hurry, since I don't know what your German skills are like.)

 

Topic 1, Chapter 1: Friends.

 

Language Skills:

 

Hörverstehen: einen chant und ein Telefongespräch verstehen (Zahlen); einen vorgelesenen Brief verstehen (Namen)

Listening comprehension: understanding a chant and a telephone conversation (involving numbers); understanding a letter read a loud (including names)

Leseverstehen: Handlungsaufträge verstehen; einem Brief mithilfe eines switchboard wesentliche Informationen entnehmen

Reading comprehension: understanding instructions for carrying out certain tasks; getting central information from a letter with the help of a switchboard (OK, that's weird.)

Sprechen: sich und andere vorstellen; sich begrüßen; einen chant vortragen (lesen oder auswendig)

Speaking: introduce yourself and others; greetings; recite a chant (either reading a loud or learnt by heart)

Schreiben: einfache Notizen machen (Telefonnummern); nach Vorlage einen Brief schreiben (die neue Schule und die Klasse zusammenhängend beschreiben)

Writing: take simple notes (eg telephone numbers); write a letter based on a template (coherently describe the new school and school class)

Lernstrategien: How to listen (Mach mit)

Learning strategies: how to listen (Join in!)

 

Language Structures:

 

– this/that

– Verb to be

– Verneinung von to be (negation of...)

– Fragen mit who/where/ what (Questions with...)

– Personalpronomen als Subjekt (Subject personal pronouns)

– Wortschatz: numbers (Vocabulary:...)

 

Activities and Text production:

 

– Spiele und Lieder (games and songs)

– Text und einen chant schreiben (write a text and a chant)

– Rap:Countdown

– Kettenspiel: Ask your friends (chain game)

– Ein Telefonat führen (have a telephone conversation)

– Einen Brief schreiben (write a letter)

 

And so on. Just pick the correct state and level. The language structures and vocab should be accessible without too much German (or with Google translate). A lot of school English textbooks are basically designed so the course teaches itself (for better or for worse), so it's not that hard to follow.

 

Here's a link to the 9th grade Gymnasium material, for another example. Look under the tab "Planungshilfen." (You didn't say what level you were tutoring; the previous extract is from a volume intended for Realschulen.)

 

I can put more specific stuff in a PM if you're interested.

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It will depend on what school the children are visiting. At a Hauptschule the level will be lower than at a gymnasium. You will also find the curriculum on the website of the departement of education of the respective state.

Also, why not contact the school teacher and discuss with him/her what needs to be done?

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Thank you all.

Flavia, what you have posted is particularly helpful. The children are in a Gymnasium, in NRW. One of them is reading a book in school, "Slam" by Nick Hornby, which I bought to read so that I understand what his work is about (I'm actually enjoying it - it reminds me of being a teenager).

 

Anything else you can say that would help, either here or in a P.M., is very welcome. This is the first time that I am teaching school children, so I am feeling simultaneously pleased and terrified at not being completely free to come up with the course.

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It is quite likely there are weaknesses in stuff they have previously learned. Ask them again to bring their work along, and ask to see their previous Klassenarbeits. If you look through these you can find out where they are losing marks making mistakes in grammar which was taught a while ago. It is also likely there are gaps in vocabulary which has been taught previously and then not used. Most kids can learn material for a Klassenarbeit, but whether they still know it a year on is a different matter.

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You'll be fine Plantwhisperer. I too was thrown in at the deep end when I started and learnt as I went along but if I, who scraped a C at English Lit O level, can get Abitur kids through Macbeth successfully, you'll surely do just as well.

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Thank you all.

Flavia, what you have posted is particularly helpful. The children are in a Gymnasium, in NRW. One of them is reading a book in school, "Slam" by Nick Hornby, which I bought to read so that I understand what his work is about (I'm actually enjoying it - it reminds me of being a teenager).

 

Anything else you can say that would help, either here or in a P.M., is very welcome. This is the first time that I am teaching school children, so I am feeling simultaneously pleased and terrified at not being completely free to come up with the course.

 

As another poster said, if they are in Nachhilfe in the 9th and 10th grade in Gymnasium, it usually indicates that they have grammar and/or vocabulary issues. In the 9th year, they should have understanding of most grammar points and in 10th they don't do anymore new grammar. So the grammar bits of the Nachhilfe will probably have to come from you. If they don't have old Klassenarbeiten around, I would suggest doing a grammar test with them to see where there might lack. I usually took questions in the test bit from "English Grammar in Use" by Raymond Murphy, language wise it ought to be fine for 9th year and up.

 

What I usually did ask what they did in class, then guide them with their homeework and end by doing some grammar review.

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Thank you. I've done the first sessions with them now, which went smoothly thanks to all of the advice I've had.

PLS, it is very interesting to know that by this point they will either be pretty much done with grammar. I think there is a lot I will have to do in that area.

If anyone has anything to add, keep it coming, because there are more sessions to come.

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