March 2014

Picture: Angelika "Vlieger", Baarlo

HAMMER THE GRAMMAR: Take a Break & Win

Dear ,

Sometimes it is good to take a break. The same is true for learning. Your brain needs time to store everything away. Therefore, I won't write about grammar this month, but I'll give you a peek into my last training: an exchange for Dutch and German journalists.

The journalists where staying in a castle, far away from the rest of the world. The lessons started at 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., and after that, they could choose their own evening program (movies, presentations etc.).

In the mornings, the two groups would work together and help each other (so called "Tandem Learning" or "Language Exchange"). In the afternoon, each group had their own classroom, with their own teacher. I was there to teach Dutch to the German group.

It was hard work for everyone, but very good results and lots of fun! You can see some pictures & a movie clip. This is what one of the German participants wrote in her blog (in German, you can follow her here):

The first hours of the language-course have just finished. However, it didn't feel like a course, as it felt more like being part of a friendly community.

New vocabulary gradually made its way into our conversation.

A few days later she wrote about the meals served during the course. You learn faster when you use all your senses, so I always try to provide for nice lunches during each course (of which we discuss the ingredients, recipe etc.), in this case we had our "own" chef:

Every time the chef from Kasteel de Berckt proudly explains what he has cooked us, we praise him with great applause. So far, we started our meals with a variety of soups: Thai soup, tomato soup, mustard soup, mushroom soup, spring onion soup and broccoli soup. Very tasty!

Again, one day later (day 4 of the 9.5-day course):

I've completely lost sense of time. What is the current date? What day is it today? Time in Baarlo passes by very quickly, probably (or most likely), because there's a clear daily routine: The day starts with breakfast, followed by the first lesson of the day, a short break, then another lesson, lunch break, an afternoon walk, another lesson, dinner, and one more lesson before we head off to bed.

During my stay, I've probably learned about a thousand Dutch words: using flashcards, acting, watching films, relay-races, tea party, dancing, singing, jokes about Belgian people, soup recipes, writing e- mails, a lecture about fishing ... - we are yet to go shopping, cooking, drawing and reading newspapers. And even though I'm tired, I can't wait to have more of this!

The activity we did in the picture was working with the proverbs. The stairs were full of posters with German and Dutch proverbs, the participants paired up and discussed the differences/similarities. Looking for new material for this activity, I stumbled upon this picture which is a drawing with many proverbs, and thought it would be nice to share with you.

Mail me all the Dutch proverbs you see in the picture. If you are the one who have found the most, you win a booklet with Dutch puzzles! Good luck!

I also found a whole collection of beautiful artwork with proverbs, like the one below here:

art journaling spreekwoorden

I can't wait to make some new posters like this! But first I have to unpack all the boxes with teaching material used in Baarlo.

Next month, we will continue with the grammar, I promise!


Please find below the courses for which you can still register. Notice that there is also a level 3 course! This is a course for people who are comfortable speaking Dutch, but who need to cross the t's and dot the i's.

March 24th: Total Immersion Level 1
March28th: Paint a Landscape (Use Your Dutch), Level 1.5-2
April 7th-11th: Ladies Only, Level 2
April 9th: Workshop Tree of Life, Level 1.5-2
May 13th-15th: total Immersion Level 3!
May 19th: Total Immersion Level 1

Hope to see you on one of those dates!

Met vriendelijke groet,
Sylvia Clements