An interview with Diana
Can you tell us a little bit about the work you do at Linden?
I facilitate Du bist so wunderbar, Berlin – the German language day camp at Linden. It is a German language immersion program that combines applied German lessons with excursions in and around Berlin. Learning languages through speaking and positive associations is the best way to learn! I love to animate the sessions through fun and games in order to raise interest in German language and culture.
What is your approach with children? Do you have a particular technique to help them open up?
My approach is to just be natural. I am not a teacher who dictates, I’m more of a helping hand. I much prefer using pictures and crafting, along with group and role-playing games to explain concepts. I believe that you always have to show interest in the life of the student. It is important that children feel understood and valued.
Could you tell us a little more about the German day camp? Can children with all levels of German apply?
Our popular day camp will be held for the third time this year! During the summer vacation, we really explore and discover Berlin. Summertime in Berlin is the ideal time for many beautiful outdoor activities with children. If it rains, we may go to a museum, depending on the interests of the group. We kick off with German lessons in the morning and after our lunch break, the excursion starts. This is the time when vocabulary and grammar learnt in the classroom is repeated and used in real life.
The program is open to all children from the age of 7 who want to deepen their knowledge of German. Lessons are designed in such a way that any child can attend, regardless of language level and background.
Why do you like facilitating this program? Do you have a favorite excursion?
I like the concept of interactive learning and I’m fond of small learning groups. The way the program is designed makes it possible for the teachers to respond to the individual needs of the child, and to motivate them and push them to reach their full potential. This way, we have fun in the learning process! Personally, I prefer trips to nature. Berlin is a wonderful, green city, with great playgrounds in parks and childrens’ farms. My favorite trips are to places where kids can experience the outside world, join in, and try out something new. For example, I love to take them to places like the MACHmit Museum in Prenzlauer Berg or the petting zoo in Hasenheide in Neukölln. There is a lot to discover for children everywhere in Berlin. With the Linden summer camp, Berlin becomes a German-learning playground. It’s simply wonderful.
Do you have any favorite apps, books, videos, or resources to support children that want to improve their German, but don’t know where to start?
Generally, I recommend reading age-appropriate books to improve grammar. An up-to-date overview of age-appropriate reading books in German is available on the Internet at http://www.kinderbuch-couch.de. It is also important to work on listening comprehension. The German public television broadcasts age-appropriate content via the children’s channel KiKa. The children’s channel can be also found online at: https://www.kika.de. German learning apps are an ideal way to build up vocabulary. Most apps use the association learning method, whereby the vocabulary is linked to pictures.