So you have found Deutsch Gym - but how does it work exactly? We don’t do lessons, we don’t do courses. You won’t find a grammar teacher giving you homework in our Discord chat.
What we do do is speak. Our meetups are focused on talking - and lots of it. Sometimes you’ll be with a moderator, most of the time you’ll be talking to other motivated members. In short, we are a bunch of German learners at various levels - from A2 to C1, who have already taken some German classes, or a lot of German classes, and we need somewhere to put into practice what we’ve learned.
When learning a language, there is always that annoying gap between what you have learned and understand, and what you can say. Deutsch Gym focuses on the saying part 100%. Learn first, or take lessons and do Deutsch Gym in the evenings, as many do, and your German speaking will be boosted massively.
It’s a pretty tried and tested approach to learning a language - speaking it as often as possible!
So now that you know what it’s all about, let’s run through what a typical meetup looks like.
Start Time: 19:30 CET
Duration: 1 Hour
Sometime that day: You join Deutsch Gym! Follow the instructions by downloading Discord and connect your accounts with our onboarding process on the website. That is all you need to do - you’re in! From now on if you want to join a meetup, just open Discord and join the main voice channel- you don’t need to confirm attendance ahead of time. You can join an unlimited number of meetups per month.
19:27 CET - Join the main voice channel. We meet in the main channel here and say hello to one another. The new members are asked to introduce themselves briefly to the group. You don’t need to give personal information. Some members end up becoming friends so it’s nice to say hello at the beginning.
19:33 CET- we split up into the smaller speaking groups based on different speaking levels. We provide new and interesting themes to talk about every single day. These groups are 3 people per group, so you get plenty of time to speak German. It’s really fun once you get going, and the members are friendly. We only use audio, no video. We think it’s more relaxed, less stressful, less distracting, and you will have more energy for speaking.
For the next 57 minutes - Speak about the theme (above) with your partners. Everyone in the group answers every question, and then you move on to the next question. The conversations can flow to other topics naturally, as long as it is in German. The themes ensure that there are no awkward silences - there is always something to talk about. They are designed to push your vocabulary and grammar so you can work those linguistic muscles every meetup.
20:30 CET- the meetup is done! You can simply say goodbye to your partners now and log off.
Let’s talk about how the groups are broken up first. The groups are split up according to CEFRL levels. We have 3 main groups: A2, B1/B2, and C1.
Within these groups, they are split up even further into the sub-levels: A2.1 and A2.2 in the A2 group, B1.1, B1.2 in the B1 group.
The goal is to make sure you are within a certain range of your speaking level so you are challenged but not too out of your depth.
In terms of trying to find the right group for you: my advice is to enter a level just below where you think you are. It’s a lot easier on the ego to move up levels than to move down - you can build up your confidence level that way. So if you’re unsure, start down a level and move up, as opposed to the other way around.
If you want to move between the sub-groups, (e.g. from A2.1 to A2.2) you can do that yourself at the next meeting after the introduction. If you want to move between the main groups (from A2 to B1, B2 to C1), please ask Rónán first, and you will get an invite link.
It won’t take long to find your level, members find the sweet spot quickly.
Above is a graph of the CEFR levels, and below they are explained. It is still hard to judge what level you are at going off these descriptions, but it might guide you a bit. The only way to know though is to just try.
Bear in mind A2 is the absolute minimum level we require - you have to be able to hold a basic conversation about everyday activities in German.
Fortunately if you meet that condition, we can definitely find a group for you.
-Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
-Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
-Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
-Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
-Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
-Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
-Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
-Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
That's it! I hope that helped in understanding what we do a bit. We have meetups every single day, so feel free to try it out anytime.