Even though we are allowed a little bit more than before, it’s still a challenge for students to find enough opportunity to practise their Dutch. In this series of short interviews, we ask our teachers for advice. Today it’s up to teacher Wiep Hellinga. She is celebrating her 1st anniversary at Direct Dutch this month. Besides some great tips, she would also like to share this image (above) with you. Do you know the meaning of these powerful words?
Hi Wiep, how have you been doing in the past weeks? Are you naturally good at staying at home, or have you been climbing up the walls?
My home is my castle. Especially in spring: I love the view of the fresh green trees, and the garden waking up.
This makes us very curious! Can you share your view with us?
Wow, this is indeed a great view, Wiep!
You started teaching at Direct Dutch one year ago, but you have been a Dutch teacher for longer. What is it you love about teaching Dutch?
A few years ago I decided to make a career switch, so I took a course to become a Dutch-as-a-foreign-language teacher. It gives great satisfaction to see how students make progress. I want them to feel at home in the Netherlands. And the language is an important part of that.
The switch to online classes was quite unexpected. How are your experiences with teaching online so far? Are there any advantage to online classes?
Thanks to the digital possibilities we are able to continue teaching! One advantage is that students don’t have to travel, they’re able to attend the lessons from wherever they want. And online teaching makes it easy to share pictures and audiofragments with students. But to be honest: I can’t wait to get back in class. That is so much ‘gezelliger’!
We agree! Are you noticing your students having less opportunity to practise their Dutch? Do you have some tips for anyone who is struggling with this?
Yes, most students stay at home, so they don’t meet that many people. And most of them work online, which leaves little opportunity for small talk with colleagues. My advice would be: find a friend or colleague to Zoom with. Or find a neighbour to take a stroll in the park with. Twice a week for half an hour.
Which Dutch books/movies or series do you recommend to students of Dutch?
Well, you’ll find lots of nice books and movies in the library, but I would recommend songs! Start with the playlist on Spotify called “Toch maar Nederlands leren…”. Listen, try to understand the words, and then look for the lyrics on the internet. If necessary: use the DeepL translator to translate them into English. And listen to the podcast “Zeg het in het Nederlands” (thanks Luis!).
What is the first thing you’ll do when the corona crisis is over?
Take the train to see my family and friends.
That sounds like a great plan. Thanks for sharing your tips with us, Wiep! We are looking forward to seeing you in real life soon!