Deutsch im Park (German in the Park) is an innovative project initiated by the Volkshochschule Meidling (Adult Education Centre) in 2008.
A park with a children’s playground, a few benches and some tables near the building of the adult education center in Meidling, the 12th district of Vienna, is the location of a multicultural get-together.
Two German language courses on different levels and an alphabetisation course take place there three times a week in July. The trainers are young, qualified and enthusiastic people. The courses are addressed to visitors of the park who can’t speak German very well. These persons are often migrants or asylum seekers. The aim of the project Deutsch im Park is to reach people who are not able to visit a regular German language course.
At the beginning the teachers went around the park and distributed flyers and information on Deutsch im Park. Gradually, between eight and fifteen people came to visit the course regularly. Participants were predominantly female between 30 and 40 years old. They originated from different countries, cultures and social classes. Many women came from Afghanistan, other participants from Serbia, Iraq, India and Uzbekistan. The women always brought their children with them. They could play in the park while their mothers were concentrated on learning.
Motivation and encouragement to speak German are the focal points of Deutsch im Park. The classes are characterised by a casual and familiar atmosphere. The subject matter is adjusted to the requirement of course attendants.
Informality, spontaneity, improvisation, enjoyment to learn and intercultural relations are the formula for success of Deutsch im Park. Visitors of the park, students and trainers could realise and experience that learning processes can be fulfilled in an unforced and playful way.