Topical teaching ideas

If you want authentic materials for your lesson but don’t have time to search the net, here’s something for you. Topical, engaging news articles and video clips with suggested teaching ideas.



by Teachit
29th January 2015


German | Pronunciation | Vocabulary

If your students are struggling with German pronunciation, challenge them to improve by using this web page: 10 German words non-Germans can't pronounce. They may be reassured to know that they can in fact learn to pronounce these words and that Germans also find certain English words difficult to say.

Apparently 'squirrel' is particularly tricky, as a short extract from this entertaining YouTube video (10 Germans try to say the word 'squirrel') will demonstrate. You could play this clip at the start of the lesson and ask students to guess the lesson objective. Equally, most native English speakers have trouble with the German word for 'squirrel': Eichhörnchen. Pesky things, squirrels …

Teaching ideas

Copy the following 10 words into a Word document and cut them up, making enough copies for each student to have one word card:

Streichholzschächtelchen, Brötchen, Eichhörnchen, Zwanzig, Frucht, Regisseur, Schlittschuhlaufen, Rechtschreibung, Happy, Röntgen. 

Ask them to find out what their word means using a dictionary, app or site like

Students should try saying their word out loud to a partner. Get some feedback on how confident they feel about their pronunciation – or not!

Project the web page 10 German words non-Germans can't pronounce and explain that they are going to do some concentrated pronunciation work.

For each of the 10 words given on the site, ask the students who looked up that word to explain its meaning to the class and how they think it may be pronounced. Then click on the word on the site to hear the correct pronunciation by a native speaker. The class can listen and repeat each word until they feel more confident.

As a plenary, ask all students to circulate with their word card from the start of the lesson to play 'quiz, quiz, trade'. They should hold up their word card to another student and ask for the meaning of the word and its pronunciation. They can correct or help as needed. They then do the same for the card held by their partner before swapping cards and finding new partners to quiz and trade cards with.

For a creative homework activity, students could record a video or make an animation of themselves saying tricky German words with their best accents.

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