Teaching Languages to Refugees

Due to the increasing number of refugees and migrants (e.g. over 1 million refugees in Europe in 2015), there is a higher need for people who can teach their language to migrants with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. For this reason, researchers and policy makers are dealing with questions such as the following:

“Lay Teachers” (Council of Europe)

Refugees need language skills, not only in the language of the country of destination, but also in the languages of countries they are passing through. However, refugee centres are not the kind of place that provides proper language courses. Volunteers and NGOs that try to teach some language basics often don't have language teaching skills that professional teachers have. According to Hans-Jürgen Krumm (2016), they should not be required to teach as if they had gone through teacher training. Krumm gives the following advice:

Hans-Jürgen Krumm also gives advice on what to do when you are expected to give a more course-like type of language support.

Hermann Funk's Tips

Hermann Funk (professor for Deutsch als Fremdsprache at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena's Institut für Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache und Interkulturelle Studien) gives the following tips (on YouTube):

In another YouTube video, Hermann Funk gives a few more tips. (The list below is a selection from the 10 tips in the video, since some were already covered in the previous video and some others apply to teaching in general.)


table with books for learning German, especially vocabulary
Books for learning German in Stuttgart's city library, September 2016. The books were funded by the Freundeskreis der Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart.