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Tonya's blog: Three Essential Attitudes To Get The Most Out Of Your Dutch Class

25 augustus 2022

Three Essential Attitudes To Get The Most Out Of Your Dutch Class

"Everyone knows more than you do in your group," I told myself at the beginning of my first Dutch class. It seemed like other students were managing just fine, and only I was confused.

We started to do an exercise; my palms got sweaty, my tongue froze, and then I saw a tweeklank (diphthong) in a word. "How do I read it out loud?" It was scary. 

By the end of the class, I had worked out three essential attitudes for myself. I am sure they will help all learners to master the language and get the most out of Dutch lessons. 

Hoi, ik ben Tonya! I am taking an Intensive Course for those who don't know anything in Dutch at STE Languages. I am on a mission to reach a confident A1 level in six months, and I will share my experience. Stay tuned and follow STE Languages on Linkedin or Facebook. 

Attitude #1: It's Okay To Make Mistakes 

Wij wonen / woon nu in Nederland. 
My turn to choose the correct answer, and that is my sentence. I give our teacher Karien an insecure look and say, "woon." She shakes her head and corrects me; it's "wonen." 

"Such a silly mistake! Why couldn't I look at the table with the grammar and try harder?" my inner perfectionist is mad, and those thoughts are all over my head. 

"There are no mistakes in this classroom," says Karien. That's what I need to hear precisely. 
The next time I choose an incorrect answer, I don't feel bad about it, and this attitude helps me to keep my head clear and fix it right away by myself.  

It's okay to make mistakes when learning a new language, and I am thankful to Karien for creating a safe environment in the classroom. 

Attitude #2: The Only Silly Question Is The One You Don't Ask

Can I say "alles goed?" in a formal conversation? How do I pronounce "we," "wij," and "wie"? 
Questions pop up in my head, and I am afraid to ask them because I don't want to take time from the lesson. Also, I think my questions are silly, and everyone in the classroom understands everything except me. 

When I finally take the courage to ask something, I feel the group's support. "Yeah, I had the same question," says my neighbor. 

Karien assures us that she is happy to answer any questions we have about language and culture, and I understand that proactivity enriches the lesson and my knowledge. Next time, I won't be shy. 

Attitude #3: Practice Makes Perfect 

I leave the first lesson with a head full of Dutch. While riding my bike home, I repeat tweeklanken. Definitely, they are my new favorite thing! 

I know that to get the most out of my Dutch class and feel more confident, I must practice at home on my own. And I have everything I need. 

There's a plan for our course from STE Languages in my backpack with homework for the next lesson. Also, Karien shared some handy online tools with us, and I plan to tell you about them next time.