DaF - German as an Additional Language

In addition to being exposed to the German language and culture throughout the day and events for the broader community such as the Christmas market, German learning students coming to GISS experience a rich and diverse German as an additional language program.

The main entry for students joining GISS in the secondary school is in year 7. In years 7-8, students have 5+4 periods of German per week. 4 of these 9 periods are dedicated to support students’ participation in the CLIL subjects taught in German: Art, Music and Physical Education.

In years 9-10, these 4 periods are replaced with Spanish as an additional language.

The other 5 periods are designed like a typical language course and cover topics ranging from the basics in the beginner courses (e.g introducing oneself, hobbies and family) to more complex topics in the more advanced courses such as environmental issues or media. 

GISS has a communicative focus in teaching and learning German as an additional language, which means that grammar and accuracy in the language are means to support communication, rather than goals in themselves. Students are encouraged to use German both inside and outside of the classroom from day one, according to their current language proficiency.

DSD Exam

Typically, in year 10, students sit the DSD I exam, a globally recognised language exam. Students passing the DSD I undertake the DSD II exam in year 11 or 12. This covers the language requirements for many Universities in the German speaking world. 

In addition to being engaged with the language and cultures of German speaking countries at school, the German as an additional language teachers arrange a variety of excursions for the students. 

For example, in year 7 students attend an overnight Language Camp close to the school where they can participate in fun activities.

In year 9 or 10, students are given the opportunity to participate in an exchange with Germany. 

Students who choose to participate host their German partners the following year (i.e. in year 10/11). 

Other extracurricular activities in the past have been for example going to the cinema to watch German movies or excursions to our partner the Goethe Institute.


DaF: Deutsch als Fremdsprache - German as an additional language

DaF Foe/ DaFö: Refers to the additional 4 periods of German as an additional language that students have in years 7 and 8 

DaM: Deutsch als Muttersprache - German as a native tounge

DSD: Das Deutsche Sprachdiplom: German Language Certificate (DSD I by the Central Agency for Schools Abroad)

CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning - an approach to including language teaching and learning in other subjects


We have decided to join the school. What can my child do to get a head start with German?

There is a variety of apps and websites that can be useful for practising German. Students often use duolingo or quizlet but these are only two of many. Furthermore, the Goethe Institute offers classes for both children and adults. Other than that, any exposure to the language, such as listening to music, watching subtitled movies or series in German will help getting use to the sound of German, and so prepares students. 
How many percentages of students in a class are German native speakers/ My child doesn’t speak German, will they be able to make friends?

The percentage of German speaking students varies from year to year, but usually it is balanced almost 50%/50%. Our student (and staff) population is diverse with members from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and there will be students of various German proficiency levels in a class. 
How quickly will my child learn German?

This question is difficult to answer as there are so many factors such as motivation, exposure to and aptitude for the language involved. This being said, students starting in year 7 typically reach B1 level in year 10. 

What do the language levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 mean?

The Common European Framework for reference of languages is a tool that describes language proficiency on different levels. A1 and A2 describes Basic Users (A1 being absolute beginners), B1 and B2 describes Independent Users and C1 and C2 Proficient users with C2 being equivalent to native tongue speakers.

How much does the exchange program cost?

The cost of the exchange varies from time to time and mainly depends on the exchange rates of the AU dollar. Most recently the cost has been around $5000 per child, including flights, food, accommodation and entries to museums, etc. Since the participation in the exchange is voluntary, this cost is not covered in the school fees. 
How much does the DSD exam cost?

The DSD exam is free of cost.

What kind of material or course books will my child need, and do I have to order it myself?

For German as an additional language, the school provides students with the course books, the fees for these are invoiced to the families. We use monolingual course books from German publishers and currently we are using “Deutsch echt einfach” from the publisher Klett. Students will also use additional material, but unless otherwise communicated, families do not have to order any material for this subject.