Learn in three languages

We innovate in German and English learning methods


Every day, kindergarteners start their morning with a game. Beyond a playful moment, the little ones have contact by immersion with two different languages: Spanish and German. "This is the beginning of a day in which they will have classes in both languages," explains Anne Krüger, Head of Section.

A little less than five years ago the Colegio Alemán Medellín started working with the Tandem System for the teaching of foreign languages. This is a methodology with which, in addition to teaching a language, you are immersed in the culture. "Learning takes place from listening and this system is a way of exchanging languages in a natural environment. We could say that children are learning while they listen", says Lina Calvo, Head of the Spanish Department./p>

In our school, the beginning of learning German is done through games, songs, and some repeated activities. For the Kindergarten Director, "this intensive work has made the children face the language in a different way. At first, they learn to listen and then, when they feel confident, they start to speak, to say words and even to invent new words," she adds. In this way, they progressively dominate the vocabulary and some very basic grammatical structures. By assimilating this as a matter of course, when students reach Klasse 1 at the age of 6, they take a genuine interest in German classes.

This has permeated the English classes as well. Victor Hernandez, Head of the English Department, tells how the classes have become much more interactive spaces, where the use of this language becomes an everyday occurrence. "We have seen that in the last few years the level of English has improved a lot, and this has to do with the way in which they are confronted with German since childhood," he adds.

According to Sven Rolfs, Head of the German Department, the fact that the Tandem System has been applied since early childhood has had a positive impact on the students' level of German and English: "It is already a fact that when they arrive at history or mathematics classes in German they are much more prepared and do not get so scared".

This is how the experience of three languages simultaneously has been oriented. "For example, when students are asked to write a text, whether in Spanish, English or German, they know that beyond the language, the most important thing is the messages and arguments they express," says the Head of the Spanish Department.

The Head of the English Department summarizes by saying that "all this is possible, thanks to the Tandem System. Today, when they arrive at Klasse 5 and have their first contact with English, they are more willing and do not feel intimidated".

4 advantages of children learning three languages

  1. Learning foreign languages promotes the social, cultural, and cognitive development of children. "It is the opportunity to learn not only a language, but to enter a culture," says the Head of the German Department.
  2. Learning other languages from a young age encourages respect for differences, improves the ability to interact and allows them to become aware of their learning process. In fact, the Kindergarten Director emphasizes that this methodology makes children more flexible and autonomous.
  3. Bilingualism improves attention, serves as mental training, and enhances memory, logical-verbal thinking, and awareness. The Head of the Spanish Department makes an analysis of the current situation: "we have seen how the discourse of our students has changed, they are able to interact in three different languages at the same time".
  4. Children who speak several languages have great critical thinking skills, which is reflected in their academic performance, as they are better at solving problems. "In addition, they have the possibility to access much more knowledge, through consulting bibliography in English, German and Spanish", adds the Head of the German Department.
  • A dialogue that builds bridges
  • The School gave me the opportunity of growing up without frontiers