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Frequently Asked Questions.
How does the level test work?
We test a range of language skills. The content of the test is based on two decades of teaching experience.
Our courses have a high pace, since we believe that using a language is the best way to learn the new language.
If you do not succeed for the first test it means that we need to work on the foundations of your knowledge of the language. This is also to prevent weak spots that will strike up later and will stop you to fully participate in the group process (= talking Dutch). It will be more fun and more effective and it will give you the confidence needed to start speaking Dutch. Constantly trying to catch up with your fellow students is not very stimulating. That is why it is important to start your Dutch adventure on the appropriate level.
If you succeed the first test, but not the second test, it’s better to start with the 'small talk' course for the reasons outlined above.
If you succeed for the first two tests, we will contact you for a short telephone conversation in Dutch. After that, we will decide what the most appropriate course is.
Do I have to pay extra for books and other materials?
No, everything is included in the course fee.
We use our own books and course material because communication skills, confidence in speaking and ‘trying out/doing’ Dutch are essential. Besides using these books, we developed a system of online exercises to drill and reinforce grammar concepts, and to develop listening skills and vocabulary.
What happens if I miss a lesson ?
Our students usually have busy jobs and social lives. This means that from time to time they miss a lesson, due to work or social obligations.
Learning a language is like dancing a tango; two steps forward and one step back. Repetition is part of this process.
Every week the trainer sends each student a short report about the previous lesson and a summary of what should be done for the next lesson. Don’t forget that every week a new set of online exercises will cover the lesson of that particular week. And besides that students can, and actually do, contact each other for help. This is stimulating and fun for everyone involved.
In the case the an absence, longer than 1 or 2 weeks, the trainer will offer assistance and coaching to catch up with the group.
If however you would miss more than half the lessons, you can join the same kind of course in the next rou
What happens if I have to leave the course for personal reasons?
If for some reason you need to quit a course, you can always join a same level course in the next round or another round during the whole year after the canceled course. It is also possible to let somebody else participate in a same priced course instead of the registered student.
Because our groups are small we can't return the course fee (similar to breaking off a package tour for instance).
What is the right course for me?
If you haven't been in the Netherlands for too long and you haven't had the opportunity to take Dutch lessons then the survival course (level 1) will probably be the right course for you.
Do realize that although the survival course is a beginners course, it is not an elementary course at all.
The pacing is high and encouraging; you'll start ‘trying’ to speak Dutch from the very first moment.
Maybe you've been here a little longer.
Perhaps you started a course but never finished it.
Maybe Dutch has already become familiar; you might not speak it, but you do understand a lot.
Do the test !
The test is not about spelling. It will however give you and us good insight in your language skills (the present tense, the negation, the question words, the past tense etc).
If you succeed the test we will have a short conversation by telephone to hear what your active level is. After this conversation you get an advice from your trainer and you can register for a course on the appropriate level.
How are the courses structured?
Survival, Small talk, Conversation, Discussion and Views & Opinions are consecutive courses.
Although students will get all the grammar they need, it is not the main focus, on the contrary:
We believe that the best way to learn Dutch is to start using the language as soon as possible. Doing Dutch is learning Dutch! Our courses have a fast pace and focus on pronunciation, rhythm and flow of the language. You will start talking Dutch right from the start and build up your vocabulary by 'doing'. From level 3 and onwards conversation, reading and discussion topics change with every new round. So in case it is necessary to do a level twice, the lesson content will be new and inspirational.
Do you teach children?
Yes, we enjoy teaching children!
And quite often it's then the children and their parents, sometimes as part of a regular group, sometimes as a group on their own.
Of course the lessons will be tailor-made (more singing, more talking, more games)
We think learning Dutch can be a fun experience (and not just for children). We try to base our methods on children's own perceptions. It is our experience that children are fast learners because they're less frightened to 'do' the language or make mistakes.
Do I have to do home work?
Well, that’s up to you off course, but doing the online exercises will certainly speed up the learning process.
One of the key things to getting a grip on a new language is repetition of the grammar, expressions and vocabulary.
To make this as easy and efficient as can be, we have developed a broad range of online exercise for the first three levels.
Each exercise takes about 5-8 minutes. You can do these exercises anywhere, as long as there is an Internet connection. You can do one exercise at a time or do a series of exercises depending on your time schedule. Every week you will find new exercises in your community account treating the same subjects as during the lesson(s).
Doing homework doesn't mean spending a whole Sunday afternoon doing boring tasks. Homework means doing a few fun online exercises every day. Why not make it to a habit to do a few exercises during work? It will encourage your Dutch colleagues to have small conversations with you in Dutch. Dutch people are delighted to see an ‘expat’ trying to master their language.
Can I get an official exam or Dutch language degree?
No, although by learning Dutch your changes of succeeding for any kind of Dutch exam increas we don't provide our students with official exams or certificates.
The School for Dutch has choosen to develop his own unique learning method and the courses are very much concentrating on the ability to speak Dutch. We focus on helping the student feel comfortable in handling the Dutch language right from the start and this method conflicts with the more grammer driven approach that many official institutes work with.
If necessary students can receive a written confirmation from their trainer after finishing the course.
What computer requirements do I need to make the online exercises?
The online exercises are build in Flash so any regular computer/browser with Flash installed will do as long as it's connected to the internet. It does'nt matter if you are an PC or Mac user and for browsers we recommend the latest version of Internet Explorer (7, 8 or higher), any Firefox version or Safari. If you have any problems opening the homework exercises please update your version of Adobe Flash and try again.
If for some reason you don't have a computer or internet acces you can use these facilities for free at the public libary.
How do I sign up and pay for a course?
If you're not a complete beginner you will start by doing our online level test. The level test will result in an advise for a certain level and gives you the option to sign in for a course. Our website then leads you through the registration process and payment module.
You can sign up for a course by choosing one from the available dates. The last step of the registration process is paying for the course. You can do this online by using our online payment provider Docdata. You can pay by credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Maestro) or bank transfer (iDeal) if you have a Dutch bank account.
We chose this system to be able to guarantee a place for every student that signs up: there is no overbooking.
We work with small groups but we have a minimum of 3 participants for every course. If we cannot reach this number of participants we will inform you as soon as possible. We will then suggest an alternative (same level) course on another date. In case that we (or you) won't be able to participate in the alternative course the school will refund your fee within 7 days.
In cases in which a participant cannot attend a course for which she/he has signed up and paid, the school does not refund the course fee. It is however always possible to sign up for any similar (same level) course in the year after the original sign up date. Another possibility is to pass on one’s course place to a friend or colleague who would like to do the course instead.
Can I change groups?
Yes! no problem.
If after the first or second lesson the course turns out to be either too difficult or too easy, then, in consultation with the trainer, you can move on to another group at a more appropriate level.
If you have to change because of your own time schedule, you can move to another (same level) course, if there's one running at the time.
If there is no alternative course and you would miss more than half the lessons, you can join the same kind of course in the next round with a reduction for the missed lessons.
Alternating your participation in, for instance, the early and the late course (at the same level) is not possible because it would disturb the group process.
Can I have lessons at my workplace?
We also organize in-company courses.
An in-company course can save you time and will be tailor-made to your needs.
The price for a in-company course is calculated differently then the open evening courses and depends, among other things, on the number of participants (6 or more). An in-company course isn't necessarily more expensive then a regular evening course.
What kind of people are attending your school?
People from all over the world!
England, Argentina, France, Malaysia, Spain, the United States, Australia etc.
They usually came to the Netherlands for the same reason you do; work, love, an appreciation of 'Dutch life', coincidence etc (and not especially in that order). What they also share is that they are mostly working in and for international companies.
What have I learned after doing the Survival Course (level 1)?
But most importantly: You won't be afraid anymore to speak Dutch!
You will overcome your fear and discover that it is great fun to immerse yourself in that ‘strange' and 'difficult’ language.
See also the curriculum.
Does the school intermediate for my residence permit? No, We don't. Only within the context of (limited) exchange programs of some universities, polytechnic colleges or schools of economics, it’s possible that the educational institute will take care of those kind of papers. You won’t however need a residence permit to learn Dutch at our school! Anyone with a sufficient educational background is welcome. We also encourage students to help each other with information and we also provide a lot of links to useful agencies.
Does the level test give a accurate impression of my language skills?
Generally, it does!
In some cases: No, it's not 100% (since an online test is never perfect)
Let us explain why the test is set up like this and why we believe it's a good way to see which course is appropriate.
The level test only applies to the first three levels so if you succeed the tests (all dots are green) you should be able to do a course on level 4 or 5. In this case we will do a short intake by telephone to see which level applies.
Every exercise in the test is aimed at a certain language skill you should master before starting a higher level course. The language skills which are tested are embedded in common 'daily life' sentences. Based on our 20 years of experience the test indicates where you stand as a non-native Dutch speaker.
An online test is never perfect nor complete, so if you think your test results don't reflect your language ability, just give us a call and with a short conversation we'll know soon enough what the right level is.
A course shouldn't be too easy, that would be just boring, but neither should it be too difficult, since that's frustrating and frustration is killing for learning a language. We try to make learning Dutch fun because we believe you learn faste
Why are some courses cheaper than others?
Prices differ due to the amount of hours per course. The survival evening course is twice a week and the higher levels are once a week. This is why the survival evening course is slightly more expensive than other language courses.
At the start of learning a new language, continuity and intensity are important. On the higher levels you already have basic understanding, so extension, maintenance, and increasing confidence to speak can be done by weekly lessons and online exercises. The intensive courses are relatively more expensive because of the average group size and the materials needed . The evening groups usually contain about 10 participants and the daytime and intensive courses usually have about 8 participants.
Realize that although we're now talking about group lessons, the structure of the lessons hasn't got an 'academic' top down character, where the trainer instructs and the student just listens and writes. In our lessons you will always work in pairs or in groups of three. Talking and practicing the language together with your fellow student means learning by 'doing' and having fun together!
Are the different levels related to the Common European Framework of Reference?
More or less; even though we use our own course levels; it's stil possible to compare our levels to the CEF system:
The Survival course equals the A1 to A2 CEF level: basic knowledge of the language, familiar everyday expressions and simple phrases, familiar with frequently used expressions and conversation on routine matters.
The Small Talk course equals the A2 CEF level: Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
The Conversation course equals the B1 CEF level: Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue.
The Discussion course equal the B2 to C1 level
Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Are you interested in following a course with us, or do you have a general question regarding our teaching methods and philosophies? Please head over to our contact page to get in touch.