Are you an expat living and Flanders and struggling to get your Dutch more fluent? Then you are perhaps familiar with this situation: attending Dutch classes is not always easy. After a long day work you have to go to class and sometimes you get the feeling all the energy you invest in these classes is not paying off because the speaking doesn’t come.
If you can recognize yourself in this situation keep on reading because we have got news for you. Dutch Language Classes is a conversation based Dutch language training project that actually makes you to speak Dutch. And our clients tell us on a regular basis that our trainings are fun and effective!
“It was the first time that I had a Dutch class less conventional, less annoying. David gave me the pleasure of learning Dutch.”
(Aline H. – see the testimonial)
“It works! From a perfectionist being afraid of making mistakes I came to the level of active use of the language. Dutch Language Classes delivered the result I wished for.”
(Sona K. – see the testimonial)
Dutch language classes are fun
We believe that whenever you want to learn something you can do this in a fun way as well. And there are many reasons for that. On the first place we do it because we are used to work with people who combine a daytime job with learning new skills. One of the most important things in learning is motivation. When you know that you’ll have to do some more productive hours today but they are pleasant whatever you will have to do will seem more like a hobby. Have you realised how much time people can spend on their hobby even when they are tired? They can still perform for hours to have it right from the first time. Second, we want to eliminate all unnecessary stress. We admit that a little stress can be useful from time to time. It helps us to get things done. But too much stress paralyses the brain. It is a survival reaction in a threatening situations, a flight reaction. That’s why we put so much effort in creating a positive, relaxed and learning friendly atmosphere.
What do you find unique in the Dutch Language Classes approach?:
“I really like the fact that the classes are many times combined with board/card games. This makes the learning process fun, easy, fast and relaxing, especially after a long day at work.”
Why should other Dutch language trainees decide to work with Dutch Language Classes?:
“Because it works and they would be surprised how fast and easy they would improve their Dutch!”
(Nina R. – See the testimonial)
The positive atmosphere is contagious. When a trainer is in a good mood he will transfer that to the students. Research shows that students will subsequently start to help each other more spontaneously and they’ll have less difficulties to execute their tasks. They’ll even do it more effectively. That’s because their creativity and the ability to think logically and to solve problems increases when they are put in a positive atmosphere.
To help you to get into this state of mind we don’t tell jokes all the time. We wouldn’t it consider it as funny either. We just use everything we have to make the learning situation more appealing. Here is an overview of some of the techniques we use to get there.
- Learning games
Games are fun. That’s why people play them. But there is more. During the game people learn a lot. Think back at the time you were a child and you will see it yourself. In the activity you want to be the best, you want to win and you’re focused. When playing a card game you constantly memorize the cards your competitors are having. When you’re playing Risk you memorize the others strategy and when it comes to a quiz people are proud they’ve memorized more facts then every other one.
This mindset can be easily transferred to a Dutch training. Within last years many language learning games were created. There are games to get familiar with words, games about grammar and proverbs and there are games in which you have to accomplish a secret mission in order to win. And to be able to execute your mission you have to solve questions in Dutch.
Imagine today’s lessons wouldn’t be about numbers and calculations but the trainer would check if you knew them and then play ‘Yathzee’ with you. How many calculations would you have made after half an hour? Hundreds or more? And how spontaneous would you do them?
We do this activity regularly with accountants or people working in finance and they do not only like the training, they get more and more skilled in talking about numbers in Dutch.
As a rehearsal we use ‘hangman’ or ‘who am I?’ quite often. Because we know you don’t always have the time to rehearse on your own we do it in the beginning of every session. Like this in just five minutes we’ve set a stimulating environment.
- Role plays
Language training is all about actively using the language. First you copy the lines from a book quite literally and gradually you start to make more and more variations on them.
This seems quite logical but sometimes people are afraid to experiment with the lines. Then role plays come in handy. You stay in the safe atmosphere of the training room but we act like you were having this situation for real. So instead of calling the manager of a company asking for an interview we pretend to do so. Like this we can rehearse what you are going to say, perfection your lines and grow self-confidence before getting it done in real life. For our brains there is no distinction between a training room scenario and really making the call. They already have lived the situation which makes it easier to perform now.
- Conversation cards and games
Our Dutch trainings are all about making you actually speak Dutch. We focus on people who already have some knowledge of Dutch to use it. And what would be better than a conversation to do so?
We agree. The conversation cannot be “just” a conversation. It has to be about the right themes and words and it has to be pleasant, not an interrogation. That’s why we’ve collected many conversation card sets throughout the years. They allow us to take a new card whenever we want to go to a new topic and the vocabulary is organised around a theme.
Cards about your interests, hobbies, your job or even about philosophy… we use all these ways to make you speak! And after the training you’ll receive a hand-out with all the vocabulary.
- Positive feedback
Off course students want to learn. And they want us to correct their mistakes and give them feedback. So that’s what we do. But we give a specific kind of feedback: positive feedback.
We probably all had teachers in the past that pointed out about every possible mistake we made. Sometimes they told us this in front of an entire classroom and we felt … well, definitely not encouraged to do it again.
We give feedback too but we always do this in a positive, constructive way mentioning what went good and what was not perfect yet. We make suggestions and help you to improve it. The most important of all: we mention it when you did it better. Because that’s the way we want to learn new things ourselves. We want to feel good, we know we’re not there yet but every step noticed on the way brings us a step closer to the goal. Because we know your goals we help you to make these steps.
- Field trips
A very special form of learning by doing are our famous field trips to Flanders. We arrange day trips to nice places in Flanders that have something interesting to offer. From going to a museum, through taking a chocolate making workshop to trying the famous Flemish “jenever”… We first check what’s the most appealing to you and what you want to learn from it.
Once on the way we’ll put you in the driver’s seat. Buying the train tickets, asking for directions on how to get there, for extra information about the event or ordering a meal in restaurant will be your thing to do. We will be your shadow. We will let you do, suggest improvements or intervene and help you out if that ever would be necessary.
We use these techniques not just to puff up our trainings. We want to offer you the best possible training we can deliver. Some people say we are the only language trainers or coaches they know use this approach but the idea itself is not new. Some experts even say that gamification will be the new trend in learning and development.
Big companies use learning games in a business context more often too. They do son to get more involvement of their staff in the company, their product or their learning.
CTG, an IT company uses it’s own version of Monopoly to introduce new people in the company. In this version you don’t buy houses or streets but service lines. They get more expensive when a consultant finds a way to improve the service. And when a bonus card says that a team is not withheld for a certain project they lose money. This way people don’t get only familiar with the company’s activity, other staff members can play along to get to know their new colleagues. Even the management says they learn more about the new recruits by observing the game then they would if would do on the job observations for a month.
FrieslandCapmina, one biggest companies of milk products in Holland and Belgium makes their new staff to play in company developed learning games. In an evaluation report people write that their approach is “nicer, different and more transparent”. They really understand the value of games, they even some of their own to get more customer involvement.
Dutch Language Classes are effective
During the training we use the mentioned techniques and many more to offer you a nice and stimulating training but it’s not only that. We are sure our trainings are effective.
It’s a little blunt to put it like this but it’s true. We use every possible way to make sure that our trainings are the most effective possible. That’s why our clients write these testimonials for us:
“De methode van Dutch Language Classes is heel praktisch en “to the point”.
Bovendien is de leraar communicatief, flexibel en is de juiste man op de juiste plek.
Voor die reden beveel ik “Dutch Language Classes” aan.”
(Roland P. – See the testimonial)
Translation: “The method of Dutch Language Classes is practical and “to the point”
On top of that, the trainer is communicative, flexible and the right man on the right spot.
This is why I recommend Dutch Language Classes to everyone”
(Roland P. – See the testimonial)
In order to guarantee the effectiveness of what we are doing we actively monitor the progress in many ways. We consider discussing your goals with you as one of the most important moments of the training. As we are not a traditional language school we can work on a tailor-made base and we don’t do big groups. That gives us the opportunity to focus on your needs, on how you want to reach them and how we can help you with that. That’s why we started to give a FREE half an hour of preliminary training for everyone who contacts us through our website. During this FREE 30 minutes we can have a first talk, check what you want to learn and discuss how to do that together. During the training we will regularly check whether everything goes according to what you were expecting from it or change whatever needs to be adjusted.
We also advice our clients to take a certain amount of trainings. That doesn’t have to be a lot, it just has to be substantial enough for you to see your evolution. Most of them tell us they see the first changes after 12 hours (8 x 1,5 hours) of training. Off course this is different for everyone.
There’s an old proverb that says: “the proof of the pudding is in eating it” and we live up to that. When you’re preparing for an exam, a presentation or a job interview in Dutch the real result is in the grades and the outcome of the presentation or an interview. That’s why we do follow up and ask our clients to write a testimonial after the training. It’s also the best way to show our care for our clients and their learning! You read them on our special testimonial page.
The limits of fun and effective Dutch Language Classes
Although Dutch Language Classes is a tailor made program developed to make you speak in the nicest and most effective way possible we know there are some limits.
To help you to activate and accelerate you Dutch you need to have a certain basic level. Since there are many high quality schools for the basic levels we’d better refer you to them to get the basics. On this website you’ll find lists of Dutch language learning schools in Leuven and Brussels.
But when it comes to make you speak Dutch we’ve got many ways to do so and we always do this in a nice constructive learning atmosphere!
If you are an expats building a life and a career in Flanders you must get your Dutch going. We wrote another article about how you will benefit from that. You’ll find that article “Improve your Dutch … and multiple your options in Flanders” here.
Dutch Language Classes can help you by turning your language learning efforts into a fun and effective activity that will eliminate a lot of effort and stress from the learning process. Contact us and discover it yourself. Just fill in the contact form on this website or send us an e-mail. We’ll offer you half an hour of preliminary training for FREE. We can use this time to have a first conversation in Dutch, to give you some feedback and to discuss how your ideal Dutch learning experience would look like or to plan our agendas together.