Human beings instinctively need to communicate with other human beings. This need starts, probably before we’re born and continues throughout our lives. The human voice is one of the most powerful sounds we can hear. Even infants can distinguish voices from other sounds and can recognize their mother’s voice from other voices. The point is communication with other human beings is a part of our makeup. For this reason, one of the most effective ways to learn German is through a technique called immersion.
While not practical for most people, the immersion technique means that you pack up and move to Germany, communicate only in German, watch only German language television etc… Essentially what you’re doing is taking away your method of communication (the English language) and replacing it with a language that you haven’t learned yet. Using this technique, an average adult can become fluent in conversational German in an astonishingly short amount of time. You see, our instincts kick in and tell our brain to figure out this new language so that we can start communicating once again.
While effective, the immersion technique is obviously a pretty extreme way to learn the German language. So when someone asks me how to learn German I always recommend what I consider to be the next best thing to the immersion technique. That is of course the new breed of German language online classes.
These computer based language learning classes can rival that of the immersion technique and are superior to old fashioned classroom learning for several important reasons.
First, in the classroom setting, the instructor has to divide his or her time among all the students in the class. Some students will learn quickly while other will struggle with even the most basic concepts. Your time is important, it’s frustrating to have to wait while someone else struggles to grasp a concept that you figured out fifteen minutes earlier.
Next, your German class will probably only meet once or twice per week and only for a few hours in total, meaning you probably won’t get to hear that much of the German language. Learning from a book and flashcards is important, but the most effective strategy for learning the German language is to hear and speak it as much as possible (immersion). That class that meets once a week really won’t cut it. Also, what will happen once the class ends? You need to keep using the language or you’ll simply forget what you learned.
Finally, a factor that many people fail to consider is that fact that your class will be held at a certain facility at a certain time every week. That means that you’ll have to rearrange your schedule, plus you’ll have to fight traffic to get there (don’t even get me started about the cost of gas today!). Then, what happens if you’re sick, or have to work late? You’ll miss your class, or you’ll be stressed out when you get there, meaning you simply won’t be in a learning frame of mind.
No, the computer based learning systems that are available today have proven to be effective for thousands of students. The better systems offer extensive audio recordings, learning games, flashcard exercises plus ongoing support in the form of member’s only chat rooms.
What is great about these systems is that they’re available to you when you’re ready to learn and for as often as you feel like using them. Plus, you’re learning in the comfort of your own home —not some classroom that’s forty-five minutes from your house. So if you want to know how to learn German, then look no further then your computer.
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