Direct Dutch (founded in 1985) is specialized in teaching Dutch to expats and other newcomers living and working in the Netherlands. The institute has the word ‘direct’ in its name because we teach the language directly and intensively by speaking Dutch.
We work according to a method of our own design. It is a method that is based on the understanding that the process of learning can be speeded up if speaking and listening get more priority than reading and writing. Applying grammatical rules and translating phrases from one language to another slackens the pace. Using the language in direct conversations is much more effective for purposes of communication.
The direct method implies that the teacher speaks Dutch to students from the very beginning. Grateful use is made of the fact that the Dutch and English languages share a common vocabulary because they go back to the same old Germanic language. After ten centuries of linguistic evolution many words are still recognizably related, even though their meanings may have grown apart. Once a student realizes this, thousands of words needn’t be learned by heart. Just think of: clock (klok), house (huis), street (straat), man (man), water (water), castle (kasteel), stool (stoel) and so on.
An active command of a language is essential for lively communication but it is also the key to the culture it is spoken in. Only when expats are able to communicate with new neighbours and colleagues in their own language, will the new culture be understood and the new way of life make sense.
Learning a language from an experienced teacher is important, but Direct Dutch is much more than just another language school. Our method ‘Home in on Holland’ (which is also used at the University of California, Berkeley) points to the fact that our teachers act as linguistic pilots guiding newcomers through the Dutch cultural setting.
From the very beginning cultural information was integrated into the course. But beside the language lessons we organise all kinds of cultural activities for our students and other expats. Our Dutch film club in the municipal library which allows everyone to have discussions in Dutch, for instance, is very popular. Our Dutch book club sessions for advanced students are held very frequently.