At the beginning of the first Dutch lesson, the aims and intended outcomes were clearly explained by Miranda – to introduce us to the pronunciation of Dutch letters and numbers as well as to introduce commonly used phrases.
Firstly, we used a ‘listen and repeat’ method to practice the pronunciation of the Dutch alphabet. I found this a very effective teaching method as I was able to note down the phonetic sounds of each individual letter, then use that to aid pronunciation. Having used this method throughout school, I have always found it to be a good technique. From a teacher’s perspective, beginning with an interactive speaking exercise is a good way to ensure concentration from the start of the session and to ensure students have a degree of pronunciation skills for later exercises. The aim to introduce us to pronunciation and fundamental aspects of speaking Dutch was achievable and realistic due to the level of language experience of the group and due to the nature of task. Personally, I found the alphabet task incredibly useful due to the repetition and phonetic thinking I employed.
Through the use of a video clip and transcript, Miranda introduced the group to basic conversational phrases in Dutch (another key aim of the language session). In this instance having the transcript was useful as it reinforced the pronunciation learning from the alphabet exercise. While useful at a beginner’s level, in a more advanced language lesson having the transcript straight away would be counter-productive – students would not focus on the sound clip and would therefore not practice listening to the language. I feel that the aim to introduce us to basic phrases was clearly outlined, but perhaps slightly unrealistic due to the length of the session. After the initial alphabet task, and the finding of the key phrases, there was little time to practice speaking which for me would have been a vital part of remembering the phrases.
Overall, the aims and outcomes were clearly presented at the beginning of the session and throughout the session it was clear which tasks would achieve each aim. The aim to introduce the group to the alphabet and pronunciation of Dutch was more realistic than the intent to teach basic conversation phrases, mainly due to the size and length of the session. With fewer people (or a longer session) a dialogue exercise would have helped with understanding and remembering the Dutch phrases.