The Goethe-Institut is using a playful approach to help refugees learn German while supporting volunteers in their language teaching. The goal is to contribute to mutual understanding and integration. The "Language-learning games: German for beginners" materials can be downloaded now from goethe.de/willkommen. They were produced in collaboration with the Freudenberg Group.
"Volunteers in particular are often highly motivated to introduce refugees to the German language. We know that from our training courses for volunteer language teachers", explained Dr. Roland Meinert, Director of the Goethe-Institut in Germany. "But they are often a little uncertain. Am I doing this correctly? How can I provide meaningful support, even though I am not a trained teacher? We developed the "language-learning games" for these people and others like them who are helping refugees to learn German. They provide concrete tools that can be used by refugees to quickly and easily learn how to have their first conversations in German."
The Goethe-Institut, a leading institution for German language and culture, designed the language-learning games specifically for refugees. The language-learning cards cover 53 different everyday situations, from shopping and making appointments to finding your way around a new environment. "The advantage of the games is that people from virtually any culture will be familiar with the rules. What's more, playing a game in German reduces the fear of making mistakes while studying German and stimulates creativity as well as the ability to empathize with others", said author Judit Szklenár in explaining the concept. To ensure that the concept worked, she tested the language-learning games with refugees.
The games were created in a partnership with the Freudenberg Group. The company and its Foundation have long promoted projects for education and integration. As part of a refugee aid initiative, Freudenberg donated 150,000 Euros to the Goethe-Institut. The money was used to fund German courses for young refugees, introductory courses in language teaching for volunteers and the development of the language-learning games. "Language skills are fundamental for participation in society and professional opportunities", said Dr. Mohsen Sohi, CEO of Freudenberg Group. "We are delighted to support this significant project, which motivates not only the refugees but also the many volunteer helpers in Germany."
With immediate effect, volunteer language teachers who have successfully completed the Goethe-Institut's introductory training course can loan the language-learning games from the media libraries of the twelve Goethe-Institut locations in Germany. They can also be downloaded from goethe.de/willkommen, along with the rules of the games and other tips for language work.
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