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24 oktober 2016

German lessons in the Virtual Classroom


He works for BIB (Dreumex) in Roermond, the Netherlands. Over half of his clients and suppliers are German. Product manager Ton Lagarde would like to speak German too, and decides to take German lessons at STE Languages. “We were able to communicate in English, but I can tell that my clients appreciate it when they can speak German to me.” He opted for the Virtual Classroom because of the travelling distance.

Living in Zaltbommel and working in the office in Oss in the Netherlands, Ton Lagarde (29) spends enough time in his car as it is. He did not really want to travel to Sittard or Eindhoven to take German lessons at STE Languages. That’s why he opted for the Virtual Classroom. “Every Thursday at 4.30 pm I am all set with my lap top – ready for my German lesson,” Ton explains. “I log into STE’s digital learning environment and I get in contact with Elisabeth Zijlstra, my language trainer. First we talk about the previous week, and how I am doing. Then we discuss the homework and we have a discussion about articles in German newspapers or German magazines and often a work-related journal in my field. We only speak German of course. Sometimes I show Elisabeth one of my Emails in German so she can give me tips on how to improve my written German.”


Initially, Ton was assessed at beginner’s level by STE. “I studied German for a few years at secondary school, but my German language skills had practically disappeared. When we started at level A1 it all came back. We finished that book very quickly. Towards the end I started doing exercises at level B1. I made lots of progress in 20



Overcoming the hurdle
Ton says that he learns most from speaking German. To Elisabeth, but also to his sales manager who speaks German fluently. “I write German Emails every day and I have a meeting in German about twice a week,’ he adds. “I’m still asking very often: ‘Wie sagt man das?’ but that’s OK. My German clients really appreciate it that I speak German. I can tell that they really enjoy it.” He admits that it is still a big step to speak German. “But there is only one way to learn: just do it. Just try it.”


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“My German clients really appreciate it that I speak German .”


“There is only one way to learn: just do it.” 

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