What the students say...
“I absolutely love Mara's course. For the first time in my life, I have truly enjoyed language learning, and been motivated to keep trying. That's because instead of the usual 'conversation' practice you may have experienced in other courses, like 'what do you have in your pencil case today?', in Mara's class you are posed questions such as 'Do you see the picture of the naked woman differently knowing that it was painted by a man?' I had things I wanted to say to that, and interesting classmates I wanted to discuss with... and so my german improved. I surprised myself that I could (more or less) express my ideas in German, and also my personality – that was a great feeling!
Mara creates an encouraging environment where only German is spoken (even on the breaks). Her teaching methods are very creative and varied, and there is a good balance between grammar, discussion, reading, and writing. After five years in Berlin and who knows how much time spent in a pandemic, I needed a new outlet to rediscover the joys of the city. This course was perfect for that. Every week we went to a new exhibition or play – all very thought-provoking. The course also attracts very kind and enigmatic people... being a freelance writer who spends a lot of time working at home, it was wonderful to feel part of such a sparky community again. Every week someone has the opportunity to share their work / artistic passions with the group. It was very inspiring to get to know all the interesting things people are up to in this city, and also to have such warm and encouraging feedback when I shared my book with the group. I also loved the creative writing exercises we were given – as well as language learning this course very much nourishes your creativity. I will be back for sure!“
"Mara’s B2 Kunst & Kultur course is easily the most interesting and fulfilling German course I have taken. In fact it was so good that at first I didn’t want to recommend it to people because I didn’t want to risk there not being a place for me!
What did I learn from it? Well, the best thing was probably that I learnt how to negotiate and interact with culture in German. I learnt to think about deep, hard but exciting concepts in a foreign language. On a more pragmatic note, I also learnt – because of Mara’s focus on speaking and conversation in class – to integrate complex grammar into my everyday German.
Mara’s teaching is genuinely interactive, incorporating language games and conversation, and, in the best way possible, sprawling. If she thinks that the class’s learning will be better served by her facilitating a wide-ranging discussion in German about art or politics than by going through that day’s grammar in the book, then that’s what she’ll do. And it works like a dream.
I also can’t overstate the importance of Mara’s ability to bring the best out of people: she makes sure that people bring their best, most inspiring, and contributory selves to the class. That means that you don’t just learn German there, but make friends and learn to see the world in new ways.“
“After having taken two modules of Mara's B2 Kunst & Kultur course I would absolutely recommend it to anyone interested even a tiny bit in art, culture or creativity who also wants to strengthen their German. I found her classes well-structured and clear which helped me with grammar and sentence construction. But they are also engaging and fun because Mara is present, responsive to our needs as a class and full of good humor. Through the experience in Maras' courses, my grasp of the language has deepened through her process of teaching grammar in the context of topics and subjects that I am actually interested in (not just talking about Wurst and Wetter). This is a great way to learn German, that feels relevant and connected to current events and one's own life as well as a lovely chance to meet other interesting and diverse people.“ – Victoria, dancer
“The B2 Kunst und Kultur course with Mara is so special that it is difficult to describe. Mara challenges the existing systems all the time, that's why she invented her own method of teaching German, and with it she teaches us in each class to look at the world with different eyes, to reflect on the experience of being citizens of this world, to use German as a tool. The course has a hybrid format: not only conversation and grammar classes in German, but also tours to museums and galleries, walks and bike rides through the city, games, discussions about art, politics, philosophy, architecture, history. I studied German for a long time, in many schools, with different methods, books, teachers. In a few weeks, this course gave me the confidence to be able to speak and communicate, to express ideas, to have conversations about complex topics. What I liked most about this experience is that thanks to Mara's teaching method and the creativity with which she approaches each proposal, we usually forgot that we were in a German course, because the objective did not seem to be the language itself, but to use the language as a means to think about the world in a different way.“
“I started learning German a year and a half ago, 6 months before I moved to Berlin. I thought that knowing the language might help me reduce the anxiety of moving to a new country, and bypassing the experience of feeling misunderstood, misplaced and so on...
The truth was, I could not simply skip this step. Learning a new language in a way even emphasizes how much you do not know and raises all the anxiety of struggling to communicate. It is no wonder so many people living in Berlin seem to avoid learning German.
After struggling in finding the right way and format for me to learn German, and with the will of learning the language through an interesting and joyful experience, I joined the B2 German course - Art and Culture, which proposed learning German aside to being exposed to Berlin's art scenes.
The course was divided into indoor (or online in the period of lockout), and visiting galleries, monuments, watching films and theater pieces. We touched themes such as Trust, Time and Space, Migration, and foreigner experience. During brakes, we gave in turns movement, yoga or short meditation sessions using the language we have.
This allowed me not only to take my German out of the classroom and get to know the area I just moved to, but also to observe my own experience as a foreigner, creating the space in class to discuss, understand and broaden the view of one's foreign experience. Bringing my own interests to the group. Slowly giving words to my present experience in a new language. As opposed to forcing myself to learn it. Not ignoring this otherness of being a foreigner, making it present with others enabled some of the fear of speaking to go away.
But more importantly it gave me a sense of belonging, something that I have been longing for.
It takes time to learn a language, a lot, it can also be meaningful, joyful, and expanding.
Having Mara as my teacher is a pure joy and an inspiration.“
“Mara's concept is wonderful for everyone who wants to engage with the German language on a deeper level. Beyond boring grammar and wordlist, pronouns, and how to write formal letters, I have learned how everything connects to each other in the German language. The atmosphere in the class is very friendly and family-like. Now after the class we are still connected and friends with the other students and we continue our learning path together.
Mara's teaching style is need-oriented. She adopts the course to what the students need and has a good eye on what is missing for each person. Communication sits at the heart of the concept – in order to learn German you are invited to talk, think, write and listen actively with the German language. This helped me convert my passive German knowledge to an active one. After this course, I can talk and write much better in the German language, which I didn't learn in any other class.
During the class, we visited weekly different art exhibitions. I am not an artist (anymore), but this is not a must for this class. The art exhibitions offered material for us to discuss and develop ideas from the real world rather than boring textbooks. What was also special for me, was that I could freely express it in the class and also feel accepted with my negativity. I could say that I find the artwork meaningless sometimes and it was just accepted. This helped me to develop connection to the class and hence get more engaged in the discussions and learning process.
I recommend this course to everyone who wants to learn German for living in Germany and with the German society.”
ULYA, art historian
„Kunst und Kultur B2 war ein neuer Schritt auf meiner Reise Deutsch zu lernen. Ich habe schon eineinhalb Jahre Deutsch gelernt und hatte viel Widerstand weiter zu lernen.
Dieser Kurs gab mir einen Neuen Blick und half mir meinen Widerstand zu überwinden.
In diesem Kurs lernte ich nicht nur Deutsch sondern auch die Stadt und die Gesellschaft, in der ich lebe kennen. Es gab mir ein Verständnis für die Menschen in diesem Land.
Maras Leidenschaft zu Kultur und gesellschaftlichen Fragen inspiriert mich sehr. Ihr Humor und Enthusiasmus waren ansteckend. Ich hatte viel Spaß in den Kursen.
Und ja, ich shreibe auf Deutsch! Vor einem halben Jahr dachte ich es ist unmöglich.”
ALVARO, visual artist
„Im Kurs habe ich gelernt, Ideen zu philosophischen, ästhetischen und politischen Themen zu entwickeln. Außerdem habe ich natürlich meine Grammatik vertieft. Ich hatte auch die Möglichkeit, mehr über die Kulturszene in Berlin zu erfahren. Während des Kurses habe ich gelernt, Deutsch ohne Komplexe zu sprechen und Ideen auszudrücken.
Einerseits hat die Lehrerin ein tiefes Wissen über die deutsche Grammatik und das kulturelle Leben Berlins. Die Lehrmethode ist außergewöhnlich, dynamisch und partizipativ. Andererseits waren die vorgeschlagenen kulturellen Veranstaltungen vielfältig und von großer Qualität, was die Diskussion von Ideen in der Klasse gefördert hat, an der wir alle teilgenommen haben.
Sowohl die Studenten als auch die Lehrerin haben eine große Sensibilität für philosophische und ästhetische Themen bewiesen und damit einen Club geschaffen, den ich vermisse. Ich empfehle diesen Kurs all jenen, die diese Sensibilität teilen und Deutsch lernen oder verbessern wollen.“
ALEXIS, fermentation expert
„Bist du bereit, dein Deutsch endlich zu verbessern? Willst du alltägliches Vokabular lernen und es in echten Szenarien benutzen? Dieser B2 Kunst- und Kulturkurs mit Mara Klein tut genau das und mehr. Wir kombinieren unser neues Wissen mit realen Situationen in Form von Kunstinstallationen, Museen, gesellschaftspolitischen Gesprächen und ähnlichem. Der Kurs aktiviert nicht nur dein Deutsch, sondern auch verschiedene Gespräche über die Welt und das Leben allgemein. Der Kurs eröffnet neue Gespräche, die dein Deutsch auf ein neues Niveau bringen. Es ist eine großartige Mischung aus Theorie und Praxis. Mara ist sehr aufmerksam und sieht, wo sich jeder Schüler verbessern kann und häufige Fehler in allen Bereichen ausbügeln kann: im Sprechen, Hören, Lesen und Schreiben. Dieser Kurs ist höchst empfehlenswert!“