The Delft method : it can help. Learning Dutch can be a challenge, but there are ways and means to make it easier. I firmly believe that anything can be learnt if you really want to. For sure, a great teacher with tried and tested methodology also plays a massive role. It is always nice to hear from people who are making progress on their Dutch language learning journey. Here I share some information about the Delft Method for learning Dutch as used with Nedles language school. Then you can read about how four of their students felt about this method. It’s really interesting.
NedLes language school in Amsterdam-Oost offers a special and very effective online course that enables you to communicate in Dutch at A2 level – the level required to pass the Civic Integration Exam (Inburgeringsexamen) – within just six weeks. Students enrolled in regular Dutch courses typically take months to reach the same level. After completing this course, you can progress to level B1 (Staatsexamen NT2-1) in another six weeks, and after that to level B2 (Staatsexamen NT2-2).
This special, intensive online course is taught using the ‘Delft method’, a unique and straightforward method for learning Dutch, developed by the Delft University of Technology. The students are given texts and new words to study at home. In the online conversation class, they are encouraged to use the learned vocabulary productively through virtual sessions. NedLes is the only school in Amsterdam that offers online courses at various levels based on this method. So, what is so special about this course? Well, here 4 of the Nedles students share three thoughts and feedback.
When out to dinner with a Mexican friend, Sandy couldn’t help but notice how much her friend’s Dutch had improved. ‘My friend had studied at NedLes, so I thought it might be a good school for me, too. It was a bit hard to go back to studying at first. But after only a few days, the magic started to happen: letters turned into words, and words turned into meaning. This is my third week and I’m already feeling confident enough to speak Dutch. I also understand so much more in the Albert Heijn app!
I live in Rotterdam, so the online classes are perfect for me. The teachers are really friendly and open, which makes me feel comfortable and not anxious about making mistakes. I also like the fact that I don’t need to write everything down. I can simply download the chat at the end of the lesson.
I’m glad I started this course in these hectic times. Focusing on a new activity is a good way to cope with the stress of lockdown. I’m excited about my progress and feel motivated to keep at it. If you are considering learning Dutch, my advice would be to stop finding excuses, just do it! This method works for me. But everyone is different, so try and find a method that suits you.’
Tania has lived in Amsterdam for five years now and has recently started to learn Dutch. ‘I work for an international company. So rather than learning Dutch, I focused on improving my English. But now that I’ve started taking Dutch lessons, I regret not having made an effort sooner. It is so much easier to know what you’re buying, and to be sure that your colleagues aren’t gossiping about you. It’s also great to be able to talk to my Dutch friends in their own language, and they are even more welcoming than before.
The course method reminds me of how my father taught me to swim. We jumped straight into the water, without any preparation. On this course, we had to speak Dutch from day one and we managed to do so fine! The teachers keep us in our bubble of Dutch words we know, and they do that so perfectly, that Dutch feels like my second mother tongue in class. Outside the classroom, I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting better at it every day.
I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to learn Dutch. Start early! Don’t wait five years to step out of your English-speaking comfort zone. It makes life in the Netherlands so much easier and more fun!’
Oleksandr moved to Amsterdam four years ago and has recently decided to learn Dutch. Oleksandr’s goal is to become fluent. Being able to talk about general topics is not enough for him. He also wants to be able to talk about deeper issues and express how he feels. ‘NedLes is my third language school and, without question, the best. When I don’t understand the meaning of a sentence, my teachers explain it again and again, until I understand. They know the answers to all my questions and their explanations are very clear and helpful.’
I’m currently taking the intermediate intensive course (A2 – B1) and the online classes we have are really good. Conversation between classmates and teachers is a big part of the course. For me, this is the most important thing when learning a language. You have
to apply the new words in a context in order to learn how to use them. Another positive thing about the online classes is that I don’t have to travel to NedLes. This saves me two hours of commuting time a day, which means I have a few extra hours to spend on studying. Studying is very important in this course: you have to prepare the texts thoroughly to be able to talk about them in class.
I would recommend this course to everyone who wants to learn Dutch. It is intensive but very effective. Finding NedLes and starting this course was a good decision!’
El has had Dutch lessons before but was not very satisfied with them. ‘The classes were only once a week, which wasn’t effective at all. It’s easy to forget things if you don’t have the opportunity to practise during the week. In the NedLes course, we learn new words in their context and that makes a lot more sense. It made me realise that you don’t even need a lot of words if you want to start speaking Dutch, as long as you know the useful, frequently used words. And that’s what you do on this course: you learn around 50 frequently used words a day.
I was a bit worried about the online classes, but they’ve been really good. The teachers make sure we don’t talk over each other and that everybody has the opportunity to talk and to practice. It’s still possible to ask questions, and there is a chat on the side of the screen.
I am still not always confident speaking Dutch but when I look back to what I knew only one week ago, I’m impressed at how much I’ve learned in just a few lessons. I would definitely recommend this course to others!’
Some interesting feedback. What are you doing to get your Dutch over the line ?
For more information about the methods used at Nedles see here.