What a remarkable city is Birmingham... as if you didn’t know.
Renowned as the UK’s Second City, Birmingham is an important international commercial centre.
It acts as a hub for transport – linking various cities in our country, and its central location makes it ideal for businesses and interest groups to hold conferences there.
How much would you bet that the German language and culture sees its share of play in Birmingham?
The German cities of Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main have twinned with our Brum. Frankfurt especially mirrors our city’s profile: it too is a hub for commerce and culture, transportation and tourism.
Did you know that Birmingham is the fourth most visited city in the UK?
Plenty of visitors will come for the Commonwealth Games next year, but in the meantime, tourists from all over the world come to hear our symphony and enjoy the performances of our Royal Ballet corps.
And who wouldn’t want to sample fare from our vibrant culinary scene, known the world over?
Indeed, it is great to be a Brummie, especially one that travels.
How are your holiday plans shaping up this summer? Will you tour one of our sister-cities or maybe go to other German-speaking countries, like Liechtenstein or Austria?
If so, you might need to polish up your German language skills. As usual, your Superprof in on the job, finding the best places and ways for you to do so.
Learn German at the Language Gallery
If you have never spoken a word of German in your life – if you don’t know ‘Danke Schön’ from ‘Bitte Schön’ (‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’, respectively), the lively, interactive classes at the Language Gallery will start you off right.
They embrace the communicative approach to language teaching, meaning that using the language is both the means and the goal of teaching.
With this learning method, there is little to no emphasis on learning grammatical cases or verb conjugation.
Imagine you are planning to attend the Oktoberfest in Munich this autumn; could you see yourself ambling around, conjugating verbs instead of speaking German phrases, in an attempt to talk with native speakers there?
Instead, these classes use activities like role play and games to provide you with the opportunity to speak German as soon as possible.
How would that work if you speak absolutely no German?
For starters, the teacher will address the class in German, all the time. It sounds bewildering but it is actually a very effective teaching technique because it gives you immediate exposure to the language.
S/he might instruct you to:
- ‘Look over there!’ by pointing first to her eyes and then pointing in the direction you should look.
- ‘Stand up!’ by motioning with his hands, palms up, in an upwards direction.
- ‘Listen!’ by pointing to her ears
- ‘Speak!’ by gesturing from his mouth outwards.
- ‘Open your books...’ by opening her book or miming an open book
- ‘... to page 52’: holding up the corresponding fingers or by writing the number on the board
Using this type of sign language in conjunction with spoken language to make basic instructions clear helps you to associate the sounds of words with their meaning; a very clever way for you to get the jump on your language studies.
Currently, the Language Gallery is enrolling for their autumn course; an 8-week session for absolute beginners that starts on September 3rd.
If you are not sure whether you could be considered beginner or elementary, you may check their page for what qualifies you for one or the other.
You can also enrol for the German course that best suits your needs using their conveniently built-in application form!
As great as this language program is, you may be surprised that it is not offered across the country; only London has a similar German language programme!
Language Courses at Brasshouse
Another language instruction venture unique to Birmingham is Brasshouse, whose teachers are all native speakers of the language they teach.
What an expansive catalogue they have!
You have the choice of several tongues, from Mandarin Chinese to the perennial favourites such as Spanish courses and standard French.
As our interest lies in the language of Goethe, you will be overjoyed to find that they have several German courses on offer; from absolute beginners to Advanced German.
These are all evening courses targeted to adult learners and they take into consideration why you choose to learn German – for professional reasons, for a promotion or the chance to work and live abroad?
Or do you simply wish to better appreciate the culture and the people you will see on your next trip to a German-speaking country?
If you need intensive language training because of a business opportunity, Brasshouse can make a private tutor of German available to you.
There are other ways to find the best German tutors...
Brasshouse is unique to Birmingham but these next outlets are franchised throughout the UK.
Take a German Language Course in a Language Training Centre
If, at first, you succeed, try, try again – Thomas H. Palmer, American educator
We've paraphrased this old saying... have you noticed? By doing so we mean to illustrate that a successful venture should be replicated, an idea these language learning agencies have run away with: they are so successful that they have proliferated across the country.
From beautiful Belfast to legendary London, you may find...
Listen and Learn
Did you know that there are bread museums in Germany?
If you can learn amazing facts about German culture just by visiting this language venture’s website, imagine what you could learn by taking a foreign language course with them!
The German teachers at Listen and Learn take an individual approach to teaching language; their concern is that you meet your learning goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
To that end, they offer one-to-one courses – either online or in their classroom, or two-to-one, should you and your partner wish to learn German together.
Also, you may join their open group, provided you are on the same learning level as the rest of the class, or you may focus exclusively on German for Business if your next career move calls for such.
This company’s courses are structured in much the same way as the one above and they too offer a free placement test to help you determine your level of German before taking your place in class (or at the computer, for their online course).
If you are interested in learning German online but wonder how it would work, you may appreciate their free trial lesson on Skype.
Neither of these companies could be considered a tutoring agency even though they would happily tutor you in German.
However, the extent of their tutelage is limited.
You may learn in their office or online unless you are a business that has contracted with them, in which case they will come to your office... but they won’t come to your home to teach German to you or your children.
For that, you need a Superprof...
Learn German with a Superprof Tutor
If you are like most people, your life is fairly hectic.
Between work and family, friends and downtime – when you get to recharge your batteries, there is little time leftover for chasing yourself out of the house for lessons.
Isn’t that a good reason to seek out a Superprof German tutor?
Whether you want a crash course in Conversational German ahead of your holidays or school support for your child ahead of exams, Superprof German tutors will adapt to your unique situation.
Many Superprof tutors are native German speakers who have long experience teaching their language to adults and young learners alike.
Others have earned their degree in languages and are ready to share their knowledge, one hour and one student at a time.
In Birmingham, Superprof has 18 German tutors scattered throughout the region and countless more online, all of whom are waiting for you to tell them what type of lessons you need and when/where/how you would like to learn.
Whether you are an A-Level candidate stressing over your exams or interested in learning German for the sake of learning, Superprof is here for you.
Even if you’re a university student...
Learn German at the University of Birmingham
You might think that, since we are now talking about our city’s venerable institute of higher learning, the German courses in question are meant for secondary school students getting ready to sit their German GCSEs or A-Levels.
Here again, Birmingham shines bright in contrast to other UK cities such as Cardiff, that are otherwise famed for their international connections; not many universities in the country have a ‘Courses for All’ programme.
One exception would be the University of Glasgow, which also offers open courses for German language study.
So, what type of German courses can you take at the University of Birmingham?
Here again, it all depends on your level. If you’ve never spoken a word of German, their Beginner (Level 1) course would suit you perfectly.
If you have sat your GCSEs but need a bit of a refresher, you may find Level 3 more to your liking.
Conversely, if you intend to prove your mastery of the German language through the Common European Framework exam, Level 6-8 would serve you perfectly.
Should you be unsure of where, exactly, you fit in, you may take their placement test.
In spite of these being university courses, class size is limited to 16 students.
You should know that enrolment is competitive so, if these German lessons sound like they would advance your interests the best, you should sign up quickly for the classes that start in October.
It should never be said that Birmingham is unremarkable.
While Leeds is considered ‘the second London’, few cities in the UK rival ours in culture, art or international outreach.
Well, there’s always London - the pinnacle of acclaim and diversity, and Edinburgh comes pretty close... why not see what that city has to offer German learners?