Frequently Asked Questions
We’re excited to let you know what makes Expath’s language classes different. Here are our answers to some frequently asked questions.
1. What makes Expath’s classes different?
We’ve heard the typical complaints about learning German in Berlin: ‘My class has 25 people in it,’ ‘The pace is really slow,’ ‘We never get a chance to speak,’ ‘My teacher focuses too much on grammar.’ Our students share certain commonalities – similar interests and concerns, education background, prior language learning experience, and English fluency – which means that we can create a curriculum and pacing designed specifically for you.
– Small, affordable classes
– Student-based (not book-based) teaching
– Realistic materials and topics from everyday life
– Communicative and interactive methods
– Maximum student-speaking time
– Quick progression from one level to the next
– Outgoing, motivated and enthusiastic native-speaker teachers
– A comfortable setting in the heart of Kreuzberg, Berlin
2. How much does it cost?
Price matters when selecting the right language learning program – so do group size, frequency and intensity. Expath optimizes those factors for you to reach the best deal possible.
We use the standard lesson unit (‘Unterrichtseinheit’ or UE) of 45 minutes, including a short break. No hidden charges or materials fees.
– 5 Euros per unit per person in Expath’s in-center group classes (avg. 8 students)
– Between 22,50 to 35 Euros per unit for in-center one-to-one lessons (see here for packages)
– 31,25 to 40 Euros per unit for external lessons (one-to-one or groups of max. 10 students), plus VAT. This Includes all materials and their delivery, placement testing, grouping, feedback, scheduling, and quality control.
Contracts are issued per half-CEF-level (i.e. A1.1, A1.2, B1.1, B1.2, etc.). This means that A1.1 in our center would cost 150 Euros because it is only 30 units long. A1.2, however, would cost 240 Euros because it is 48 units long. One-to-one courses are about 2/3 the amount of units compared to group courses to reach the same goal.
To ensure that a group can take place and that your spot in the group is guaranteed, courses must be paid for in full before the course starts.
If you join a course already in progress, naturally you will only be charged the remaining units until the end of the course.
3. What kinds of materials are used in class?
Our classes focus on your individual interests and current topics, which means that many of the discussions, role plays, practice and simulations take place without a traditional course book. Expath teachers are specially trained to work with ‘realia’, everyday media such as supermarket handouts, menus, the subway timetable, job advertisements, etc. This is the best way to ensure that what you learn in class is also useful for everyday life.
There are, of course, set grammar and vocabulary elements in our curriculum that go along with level A1, A2, etc. – that means that occasionally the classic material (course book, workbook, grammar book, etc.) may be used in class for specific exercises. When course books are used in class, they will be provided by Expath free of charge. Of course, if you want a book or workbook for self-study you can find the books we use at any large bookstore in Berlin.
4. What kind of method do the teachers use?
All classes are taught exclusively in the target language – German (although of course the teachers can speak English in case you really get stuck). Expath teachers use a communicative and interactive approach, where language elements are presented within communicative contexts, role plays, simulations, games, discussions, brainstorming exercises, etc. We don’t believe that language is an abstract concept to be explained and memorized – we want you to play with the language, try new things out, and learn to speak without fear of making mistakes.
At lower levels (A1 and A2) repetition and drills are key in mastering the basics. At higher, more conversational levels, discussions and creative activities serve to help you apply what you’ve learned in a relevant context. Language elements are introduced, practiced and performed. Expath teachers will give you homework that uses your immersive environment outside of class to practice and apply your new skills.
5. What is the CEFR (i.e. A1, A2, B1, etc.)?
The “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages” (A1 or B2 is one ‘CEF level’) was created by the Council of Europe and has been the standard scale for measuring language proficiency since the early 2000s in Europe and beyond.
Having a unified system of analyzing one’s level allows for more transparent progression and comparison between language courses, even when offered at different schools. The CEF is based on communicative competencies, the focus being on what you can do with the language.
To find out more about each level and to see what contents are covered in Expath classes at each level, click below (links open in a new tab):
6. Are there tests or certificates?
Expath focuses on language learning for people who are self-motivated to improve their communication in the German language – as opposed to learning in order to pass a test. This way we can focus on communicative skills, emphasize fluency (as opposed to grammar), speaking and listening (as opposed to writing and reading) and real-life interaction.
This means that Expath does not currently offer official level tests or issue certificates. We can, however, provide a letter of attendance, provided that the student attended over 50% of the lessons.
7. How do I sign up for a group course?
You can use this form to sign up for any group German course in our Neukölln center. You can select as many courses as you wish and plot your progress throughout the year. Select your course(s) from the drop-downs and fill out the contact info, then submit to reserve your spot. See you in class!
(If you are an absolute beginner, please click here.)
GREAT NEWS: We’re opening a new school right on the border of Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte in June! Sign up for brand-new classes at U-Rosenthaler Platz here.
8. What happened to Expath’s German Word of the Day series?
In 2012 and 2013 we posted a daily German Word of the Day, accompanied by one of our stick-figure drawings on facebook. For the time being, we’ve had to focus on other projects, but all of our old posts can still be seen here on our page, in all their glory. Enjoy!
More questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org !