''The students see the training course as a social event"
10 september 2020
Tailor-made courses are a given at STE Languages. Trainers constantly assess students in order to help them progress and this also allows trainers to attend to students needs during their course. If students require a different type of course to what is currently being offered however, then perhaps it's time for something new. This was the idea that led to the "Dutch at MBO level" training course which was specially developed for a specific target group. The following chat with language trainer Eelko Stel explains more.
Which type of students has the 'Dutch at MBO level' training course been developed for?
"Dutch is a daily reality for our students. They already have a certain basis of the language but that's often a kind of "survival Dutch" which is understandable because we tend to build sentences as we would in our own language. The longer you keep doing that of course, the harder it is change the habits you have formed. The "Dutch at MBO level" training course lays a good foundation and students gain more language comprehension and learn to use their vocabulary properly."
How is the training course structured?
"The course is practice-oriented and ties in well with a job or studies at MBO level. I am always interested in the context in which people use language. That's why I want to know what they are doing, what kinds of conversations they are having and what they encounter in their daily lives. We then work with that knowledge and input and the teaching material can therefore provide insights which are directly and immediately applicable. The emphasis is on learning to speak correctly but writing and reading are also discussed."
Students can enrol through their employer. Why do employers choose to invest in their people in this way?
"Students increase their vocabulary and improve their grammar and sentence structure. Reading and writing skills are also put into practice, for example, by learning how to fill in a form correctly. In short, students become more proficient in languages and that pays off in the workplace and thanks to the focus on daily practice, you see quick results."
Unlike regular Open Enrolments, this training course takes place on a Saturday. What are the students' experiences of this?
"Students do indeed attend this course outside of working hours, at the weekend. Attending on a Saturday can seem a little off-putting but once students are there, they are very enthusiastic. Students express the desire to improve their Dutch language skills and that is good for motivation. What also helps is the atmosphere, which is very much a positive one."
"Students are mostly informal in the way they express themselves and often talk about themselves openly. It's a lot of fun from the outset. This is also due to the student's own approach, it is less business-like, they see it as a social event. They enjoy connecting and hearing the experiences of others. As a teacher, I really enjoy that focus on interaction and ultimately you need it in order to practice."
This training course is known for its good preparation for the Civic Integration Exam (inburgering). Could you explain that a bit more?
"The integration exam is all about interaction. Putting a verb in the wrong place or conjugating it incorrectly is not a problem. It is mainly about understanding other people and being able to respond appropriately. You will learn exactly that during this course and it is therefore indeed good preparation for the Civic Integration Exam and this is also the case for those who would also like to prepare for the NT2 I State Exam."
Reactions from students about the "Dutch at MBO level" course
"The benefit for me in doing this is my integration in the Netherlands. I have a son who studies here and speaks Dutch. So it's important for me to learn the language and to have better communication with my son."
"I had already learned a little bit of Dutch before the course. My goal is to be able to speak Dutch well in every situation."
"The course is great! I learned how to speak Dutch and how to build the sentences correctly. I also improved my pronunciation. I now can use Dutch at work and at the shops."