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This is mainly about English classes in German schools. I think one doesn't really learn the language. You have 6-8 years of English lessons, and most of us can't really speak English. There must be going something completely wrong.

How English is taught in German schools
In the first 4 years you mainly learn grammar and vocabulary. But the thing I observed is, that most of the students forget about the grammar, which would be needed in the later years.
Later you should learn something about America and England (Great Britain). This is combined with the attempt to teach us how the use the language ourselves (speaking and writing). But this rarely happens because most students lack the grammer and vocabulary. And the other main topic, the learning about the countries which natively speak English, doesn't really work, too, because the information the teachers have is old (as they are ,too).
So you don't really learn English or something about foreign cultures, not to speak of the really important words.

I think it is a pity that so few German can really speak English. This shouldn't be to difficult for Europeans to learn English, because English is a pretty easy language (in comparison to Chinese for example) and the main European languages are not very different. The grammar is nearly the same (if you notice any grammatic mistakes in my node, it's mainly because I used German grammar in that specific case and translated it into English).

Attempt for better English lessons
This should only be short suggestion on how one should change the English lessons in german schools, so that it is easier to really learn English.

  • Teach grammar and vocabulary throughout the whole lessons
  • This shouldn't be summed up in the first years. I know it is boring, but when you have to learn the same stuff in 8 instead of 4 years, then the stuff can be spread up.
  • Speak and write English
  • This is the most important part, speaking and writing English from the beginning. Speaking English has to become a switch in your brain. When you pull it, then you not only speak English, but think English!
  • Use up-to-date information
  • This does not only mean, that the information about America and Great Britain should be up-to-date, but also the language. I don't think the teachers should teach perfect Oxford English (though official English is useful ,too) but teach how the people really speak. When I first went to London I could rarely understand anybody because of their accent (I guess it works the other way round, too).

As I already mentioned this is a report from German schools, but I am really interested how people in other countries succeeded in learning English, or how people form America or Great Britain learned other languages.

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