How my laser listening workouts will blitz distractions and get you ready for confident German conversations in a matter of weeks
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"An enjoyable and useful course. Would recommend."
"The main thing that attracted me to this course was the emphasis on listening, often neglected and something I find difficult. I also liked the idea of a 'weekly routine' to help keep me focused."
Ready at last to transform your German?
Yes, you've got the basics in German.
But are you fed up of still feeling like a beginner?
Are still struggling to understand everyday conversations and hesitant when you try to speak?
Would you like to be able to express yourself well enough to feel confident dealing with daily situations in German, maybe at work, with friends or family, out and about?
Do you want to feel on top when you're making plans in German, getting things done and dealing with an unexpected turn of events?
Would you love to be able to share your opinions, experiences, ambitions to connect with others....in German?
In short, would you love to turn yourself into a confident, independent German user?
The big risk for the "advanced beginner" in German
When you're an "advanced beginner", it's exciting to move into intermediate German, for sure.
You've come a long way and there are still big, quick wins to be scored...
But there's still a long way to go.
You know all too well that you need loads more vocab....
....and a whole lot more grammar....
It's so frustrating at this stage.
You can't always recall vocab that you thought you'd learned already.
Will all those cases and that strange word order ever come naturally?
As the "known unknowns" crowd in, you risk feeling paralysed by a as a sense of overwhelm.
You start to search the net for help and materials.
"If only I could find another tutor or course - reach language learning Nirvana!"
But the fake fluency promises out there really seem too good to be true.
All the contradictory internet advice just makes it harder to focus.
There's a real risk of overwhelm.
You could easily give up on your dreams in frustration.
Or succumb to one distraction after another.
Before you know it, you could find yourself messing around at the edges for years on end.
It feels like you're dabbling, taking a scattergun approach.
What you need is clear, effective study routine, that'll keep you focussed on the essentials and prevent overwhelm.
I'm Dr Gareth Popkins and here's how I can help you
I've been living and breathing language learning for over thirty years.
But I'm far from being a gifted "natural" when it comes to language learning.
I've got fluent in my languages as an adult, primarily not through attending classes but thanks to independent self-study, work one-to-one with teachers and exchange partners and lots of practice.
In 2014 I set up the popular Howtogetfluent.com blog, where I share my enthusiasm for language learning (I do the same on YouTube, too).
I teach languages and am a regular a speaker in leading language forums like the Polyglot Gathering, the Polyglot Conference and the Language Event Edinburgh.
Now I've partnered with native-speaker teacher Sabrina to produce my step-by-step Weekly German Workouts.
The Workouts give you a clear five-day study routine, with user-friendly, conversational materials released in stages during each week.
Each day, you'll have specific tasks that make sure you'll be interacting with the material in ways that will really get you learning.
That'll beat distractions and prevent overwhelm.
We've designed the Workouts to move you forward with a clear pace so that you'll see real progress over ten weeks on the road to becoming that confident, independent user of German.
A hard German learning truth
Before I tell you a bit more about how the Weekly German Workouts can help, we need to get one thing clear: despite all the promises out there, there's no magic solution that will make you a fluent speaker overnight and with ease.
After all, when did any skill really worth having not take a bit of effort?
Quite a bit of effort?
If you want to get into physical shape, you know that it takes solid, regular commitment.
You've got to work out.
In the same way, you can achieve more than you ever imagine with your German but...
....it takes time...
....it takes effort.
So, what you really need to know is that you're putting in the work in an effective and sustainable way.
Not wasting your valuable energy - and time - on the wrong things.
Not putting in a burst of activity that fizzles out and leaves you searching for yet another miracle solution.
Time to get serious and cut distractions with a simple but powerful weekly routine
This is for you've if seen through the fake fluency fixes, the oh-so-"easy" language learning miracle cures.
This is for you when you're done with dabbling.
This is for you when you're ready to get serious about climbing a few more rungs up the long ladder to fluent German conversations.
Dr P's "Weekly German Workouts" are aimed at you if you're ready to move from "upper beginner" up and on "into intermediate" and well on your way to confident, independent user status.
It's the move up from what's called "A2" on the scale of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to "B1".
The Workouts could also be for you if you're already an intermediate learner but want to revise and consolidate what you've learned.
Are re you ready to get serious and you want clear interactive steps to pace your progress and keep you focussed?
The key is to break down the task.
Then put in relevant, effective effort...
...sustained over time...
...and combined with lots of practice, listening, reading and speaking German.
In my thirty years of learning languages, this has been what's worked for me.
It's how I got fluent not only in German....but in Russian, Welsh and French a well.
"Super knowledgable about languages" "Quite simply a huge language learning inspiration"
Richard Simcott, founder of the Polyglot Conference
"Reading the articles on Howtogetfluent.com, I was amazed at Dr P's expertise and systematic approach to language learning".
What's the Weekly German Workout routine?
Step One: Listen intently
On Day One each week you get an MP3 recording of a conversation in real, colloquial German goes live on the course website.
This is your weekly blast of the everyday language you need, from native speakers.
Your task for the day?
To listen like you've never listened before.
Central to each Workout is a high-power dictation exercise or, as I call it, "laser listening".
I'll train you how to do it.
Step Two: Understand from the inside
On Day Two, you get a German transcript and a parallel translation in English.
To work out what you've understood....what you haven't...and why.
By Day Three you're already into the material and will still have your own burning questions about the unknown words and structures that you've identified.
It's time to unlock the week's "Wortlabor" or "word laboratory".
That's new vocabulary explained (in German) in a ways that will transform your ability to remember.
On Day Four you enter the "Musterwerkstatt" (or pattern workshop) where you'll get light-touch explanations of the week's new grammar.
Step Three: Make it stick
Next the memory work.
Believe it or not, your brain is designed to learn languages.
Yes, the old grey matter will "pick up" repeated patterns that it thinks are important.
You'll start to find words and phrases sticking naturally, if, that is, you're exposed to them in contexts where they make sense.
The catch, though: you need far more exposure to German than most learners ever realise.
Now, here's the thing: focussed, interactive effort can really help the natural "acquisition" process along.
So you'll get training in two other amazing techniques that will help you turbo-charge your learning (if you want): high power flashcarding and two-way translation.
In the first week, try out flashcarding and two-way translation and the exercises. Then go with what you like best for the rest of the course.
Plus, as part of the Musterwerkstatt you'll get lots of (optional) self-correct exercises.
Then, on Day Five there'll be some time to do some rather more relaxed listening to the audio once again.
This time, you'll be amazed how much more you understand.
After the first week's workout, you'll already be on top of this simple, but powerful system and ready to give it another go on Monday.
The weekend, though, is for a well-earned breather (or catch up)...
...and that's it.
There are nine weekly workouts in all (but there's a revision week between Workout Five and Workout Six.
"My clear weakness was making sense of “normal speed” German and this course has helped immeasurably."
"The best things the course did for me were a tangible improvement in understanding the German I hear, and some good ideas for future learning."
"As a stand alone course I found it very good. What I really found useful was the process. Not the quick fix. If you are in it for the long haul, it gives you a transferable method".
"The story scenarios were up-to-date and the topics would suit all ages. I liked the voices of the narrators...
...The Wortlabor was extremely helpful with giving more information about certain words and phrases in the texts.
"The course was wonderfully well-organized. The vocabulary was useful, the grammar explanations and exercises were carefully presented, and the audio quality was excellent. The ideas for going forward after the course were extremely helpful."
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Why does it work?
So far, so simple....and that's the point.
Dr P's Weekly German Workouts are designed to be simple....but effective.....
They'll help you take your German conversation to the next level.
They work not because this is some fancy new innovative magic method.....
No! It's the combination of applying solid brain-savvy, interactive language learning principle into an effective routine that will set you the path to progress, week after week.
Sound is central: listening skills
It's no accident that great audio and listening skills are central to the Weekly Workouts.
Speaking is sexy but there's a tendency for language learners to ignore the importance of getting really good at listening.
If you don't understanding what people are saying to you, you'll never become a confident, independent German speaker.
You'll never have a proper conversation.
Lots of passive listening is good...
....but even better if, now and again, you can really focus and interact actively with what you're hearing.
So, with "laser listening" you listen to write.
There's no more powerful way to make you listen than trying to try to capture on paper what you think you can hear.
From just listening to "laser listening"
Dictation may sound "old-fashioned".
But it's tried and tested.
It's powerful, too: "laser listening" as I like to say.
When you correct what you've written (or recorded) against the week's German transcript, it'll be brutally clear where you're falling down.
It creates a sense of what's wrong and primes your brain for further discovery.
The contrastive power of parallel texts helps you work out new words and patterns for yourself and really throw the German way of thinking into clear relief.
"Trying dictation was the best thing to come out of the course for me. It really helped me to listen intently rather than just being happy with the gist."
"I was certainly disconcerted at first to be asked to do a dictation exercise, as I had not done that since schooldays, but I am now thoroughly convinced of the value of that on this course. There was, as promised, some occasional hilarity when I saw the transcript the next day! But the story was topical, entertaining and a very useful springboard for the grammatical exercises."
"The first time it took me ages to do the dictation and correct all the sentences, I was such an accomplishment to see what I got."
A clever approach to vocab
In the Day Three "Wortlabor", we'll pull out some individual words in the traditional way, sure.
But we'll also put a lot of emphasis on common combinations of words or short phrases, so-called "chunks" of language.
It turns out that learning chunks a really powerful way to help you remember vocab and to boost both your understanding and speaking skills.
First, learning in context makes vocabulary easier to remember.
Second, learning in context makes it easier to recall your German when you need it (in real conversations).
Think of chunks as prepacked language, ready to use, straight out of the box.
One reason natives can speak so fast is that deploy whole phrases or chunks as they go. They're not trying to build sentences word-by-word and neither should you. There just isn't time and you probably won't sound natural, even if your grammar's technically correct.
As a language learner always, think imitation, not innovation!
I'll train you from the start to listen for chunks; to stack the memory odds in your favour from the very beginning of each Weekly Workout.
Patterns you can apply (not abstract "grammar")
In the Day Four "Musterwerkstatt" you'll get short, no-jargon explanations of the new grammar.
We don't focus on abstract theory.
You don't have time to apply that when you're trying to speak.
What chunks are to vocab learning, patterns are to grammar.
In the Musterwerkstatt, the stress is on new, repeatable patterns that you can use to generate correct phrases as you go.
"I thought the dictation would be a doddle. It was much more difficult."
It was amazing the number of times I found new phrases that would then turn up in a podcast. Without the push and prompt it would have sailed over my head. It's the reinforcement".
"I find the dictation excellent and also the translation from English to German is a great idea for me. This is one of the things I find most difficult".
The best interactive techniques
You won't remember what you don't understand....but often just understanding something isn't enough to make it stick.
As we've just seen, context really helps.
Lots of lots of real-life practice is essential, too.
But deliberate, focussed interaction with the language really helps to move you on towards fluency.
One keys to interactive learning is elaboration - working with the material and making it your own.
That began on Day One and Day Two with your laser listening exercise, where you become aware of your personal understanding gaps.
On Day Two when you looked at the transcript. You see in black and white what you were unsure about just from listening...
On Day Three and Day Four, you came to the "Wortlabor" (word laboratory) and "Musterwerkstatt" (patterns workshop) with your head full of your own questions.
In these first four days, there's also a strong element of learning by discovery (another brain-savvy learning principle).
Testing yourself on the week's chunks and patterns is also a great way to consolidate your learning.
So, the Musterwerkstatt comes with extensive self-correct exercises.
One super-powerful way to embed what you've learned is spaced recall.
That's to say, actively trying to remember new chunks and patterns at intervals. You can do this by going back to two-way translation, doing flashcarding at intervals or returning to some of the exercises from the Musterwerkstatt.
Dr P's Weekly German Workouts includes three method training vids where I'll train you in all these techniques.
The power of habit
This is simple, but powerful stuff.
It's your pathway to progress....week after week.
But hold on a minute!
I said it's simple....
...but that doesn't mean it's easy!
You've got to put in that effort consistently.
What really moves the needle is the regular use of these brain-savvy interactive methods with the engaging materials you'll get in each Workout.
It's the power of habit and I'm here to help you do that too.
Guided self-study: designed for success, with Dr P as your coach
I've designed the course to help you keep on track from beginning to end.
Day by day. Week by week.
There are nine Workouts. With Week Six set aside for consolidation and revision, you'll have ten focussed weeks in all.
That's enough time to make a real difference to your German.....
....but short enough to keep you motivated all along the way.
The materials are released day-by-day, to avoid distraction.
On each day of the week, you have just one main task to focus on.
"I like the pace. It's interesting each day to see what else has been released".
"It's good that the course has been drip-fed during the week. Had it all come at the beginning of the week, there would have been the temptation to skimp on the listening, dictation and reading".
Ready to put in the time?
Each day it's very clear how you need to interact with the materials, what you have to do.
You need to be ready to commit 30 mins to an hour a day, five days a week
You won't always do your daily, focussed workout, of course.
Life sometimes gets in the way and that's fine.
The materials aren't going to go away (you'll have lifetime access).
But, if you want to see results...and I want to justify spending time helping you....your workout has to happen much more often than not.
I'll give you some video training on habit forming and effective time management, to help you along.
The very design of the course, with its clear "Weekly Workout" rhythm helps you harness the power of habit in your language learning.
We'll hold you to it!
Plus, I'll be holding you accountable, in person.
First, you'll get a simple accountability tracking sheet that I can see too (and I'll be swinging by regularly to see what you've done :) )
Second, throughout the ten weeks of your Weekly German Workouts (Into Intermediate), I'll also be on hand by email to answer your own, personal questions.
Third, there's an exclusive Facebook Group, just for course members where you can ask questions and share thoughts and ideas. I'll be in there a lot, too.
We've spent a lot of time and effort designing crafting the materials and I want to make sure in person that you're getting the best value out of the them.
Where will you be with your German in ten weeks' time?
Think for a moment.
If you click away now where will you be in ten weeks' time?
Still prey to one distraction after another, feeling that you're dabbling with your German and taking a scattergun approach?
Still searching for a miracle solution that will transform your German without effort?
At risk of giving up on your German fluency dreams?
That's one vision of the future, for sure!
But imagine this: in ten weeks' time you've completed your "laser listening" weekly German workouts.
You're tired yes and you had to skip the occasional day when life got in the way but, looking back on your Workouts overall, you feel very satisfied.
You made the most of inspiring materials and effective methods of the course.
You're now much better placed to dealing confidently in German with daily situations at work, with friends or family, out and about.
You've got new German patterns phrases to hand to help you making plans, getting things done and dealing with an unexpected turns of events.
You're eager to have a go sharing your opinions, experiences, ambitions to connect with others....in German.
In short, with my help, you're turning yourself into a confident, independent German speaker....ready to go out again and use the language.
Are you ready for action?
Remember, if you haven't done dabbling, this isn't for you....
If you're still looking for a quick and easy fix....please click away.
If, though, you're done with all that...and ready for action to transform your German join the action with me in the Weekly Workouts now!
Brace yourself for a change of gear....
Get ready to take your German listening, vocab and grammar skills up a level.
Get ready to expand your powers of conversation. Enrol for your "laser listening" Weekly German Workouts now!
The offer in a nutshell
- Real everyday conversational German in engaging, quality MP3 native audio recordings. One for each of the nine "Workout" units, delivered at the beginning of each week, to get you straight into action.
- German only transcripts of each conversation (pdf) to help nail your listening skills. These and rest of the units delivered in stages each week to prevent overwhelm and keep you FOCUSSED.
- German/English parallel translation to check your comprehension.
- Clear guide in simple German to new phrases and vocab in each unit (pdf).
- No-nonsense explanations of the essential new intermediate (B1) grammar patterns in each unit (pdf).
- Extensive exercise worksheets with self-correct answers (pdfs) covering the new patterns.
- On-boarding and wrap up vids from Dr P.
- Two further language learner pro skills training vids where Dr P shares his key language learning advice.
- An exclusive course member Facebook discussion group, moderated by Dr P.
- Personal email mentoring (learner skills) from Dr P throughout the course.
- Goal-setting and logging sheet (Google docs) for clarity and accountability. No place to hide!
- "No questions asked" money-back guarantee (for 25 days after enrolment).
"I greatly appreciated how much thought Dr. Popkins put into this course, and how everything fit together to move learners forward. This is an excellent course."
"I've really enjoyed the course and I'm sorry it is over!"
"All in all an enjoyable and useful course. Would recommend."
"I would like to recommend this course to anyone looking for something beyond their current learning style. Each day had a focus to pursue and I found satisfaction in completing the daily task."
"This is an extremely impressive German course."
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Dr Gareth Popkins, an enthusiastic language learner and teacher and the man behind the popular "How to get fluent" blog and YouTube channel is your mentor during the course. He designed everything in close co-operation with Sabrina a native German language teacher. No stranger to the ups and downs of learning German himself, Dr P most recently passed the Goethe Institut C1 (advanced) exam. He aced the speaking but finds writing accurately much more of a challenge. In addition to his training as a language teacher, Dr P has a doctorate in Russian history from the University of Oxford and has practised as an international finance lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have further questions, drop me (Dr P) an email gareth [at] howtogetfluent.com and I'll get back to you soonest.
Don't write off all the hard work you've done in German so far.
Don't tell yourself that you just don't have what it takes - whether the memory for words, grasp of grammar or motivation or time to get fluent.