Interview
Interview

did deutsch-institut Berlin

Stefan Schenck has worked at the did deutsch–institut Berlin as Director of Studies since May 2011. He is reporting on his first impressions and about himself.


Mr Schenck, you are the Director of Studies at did deutsch-institut in Berlin. What exactly do you do?

Mr. Schenck: "I am responsible for the content of the programs at the institute, the functioning of the classes, the satisfaction of the participants, the improvement of their German and the assurance that they travel home with many new and wonderful experiences. In order to accomplish this I organize the lesson plans, place the participants and set the teaching schedule. I am the contact person in case of problems, I advise participants and also take care of other individual questions."

What does a normal workday look like?

Mr. Schenck: "I am at the office at 8:30 a.m. so I can give teachers last minute organizational information. After 9:00 a.m. it is quieter because instruction has already begun and I can answer e-mails or take care of other administrative duties. Throughout the day, quieter phases alternate with more lively ones (lessons / breaks), until about 3:00 p.m. when everyone leaves the building, but I still have things to do until 6:00 p.m. Except when it is summer, that means it is often even later..."

What do you like most about your job?

Mr. Schenck: "The variety. I always have new tasks and always have the opportunity to meet people with different backgrounds from all parts of the world."

My first day as a student at did deutsch-institut. What does it look like?

Mr. Schenck: "The new students come to the institute at 9:00 a.m. Then there is a placement test: grammar questions and a small interview. When there arenÂ’t too many new students, they can begin their classes right away at 10:45 a.m. In the summer, when there are sometimes more than 100 new students in one day, we take a small tour of the surrounding area first: where can you eat lunch, where is the nearest post office, train station, the Brandenburg Gate..."

How is the institute organized?

Mr. Schenck: "Mrs. Radke, our secretarial director, sorts the applications, finds host families for all of the participants and forwards the data on to us, Mr. Kimmich, the director of the institute, and me. Mr. Kimmich takes care of the financial/administrative side; I handle the pedagogy. "

Which courses does the did deutsch-institut Berlin offer?

Mr. Schenck: "Mornings we offer almost exclusively Intensive Courses with 20, 24 or 28 lessons. In addition, there are evening courses with fewer lessons and before the TextDaF exams, four-week preparation courses."

Which exams are available?

Mr. Schenck: "At the end of each week in our institute, you can always take the B1, B2, C1 or C2 exams that were created cooperatively by did deutsch-institut and the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS) In addition, did deutsch-institut Berlin is a licensed TestDaF center."

Which important criteria for teaching German as a foreign language does the teaching staff meet?

Mr. Schenck: "Our teachers enjoy working with students; they are open, interested and friendly. They have either studied German language and literatures or German as a foreign language. Our teaching staff from all over Germany is quite versatile, including women and men, and young and old. This makes the lessons varied and diverse!"

Have you worked with students studying languages before?

Mr. Schenck: Directly after my linguistics and German as a foreign language studies I taught for a year at a university in Shanghai, China. Then I went to beautiful Allgäu for three years, where I worked in a residential school for foreign youth. The last two years I was in Constance and taught adults."

The institute in Berlin is very centrally located. What is there to discover in the immediate vicinity?

Mr. Schenck: "There are several important sites very close by: the Berlin Wall Memorial in Bernauer street, Tacheles (art collective) and the synagogue in Oranienburger street, as well as the world famous Museum Island (only 15 min. on foot)."

Are you originally from Berlin? How do you like it?

Mr. Schenck: "I am a Berliner! Berlin is the only true large city in Germany and you can notice that in the people here. Everything goes! And that makes for an especially free atmosphere."

What is/are your favorite place/s in Berlin? And why?

Mr. Schenck: "I like the Gendarmenmarkt, because it is beautiful, the new government quarter, because it is cosmopolitan, the Tiergarten, because it is a forest in the city, the main train station, because it fits with Berlin’s size and the intersection of Schönhauser Alle and Eberswalder Straße, because they have delicious Currywurst (Konnopke) and it is very typical for Berlin."

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