The four introductory lessons learning Dutch were well thought out and executed, which led to a good experience for the students. Personally, I found the exercises featuring written text and then clarification of pronunciation and meaning very beneficial, as I benefited from matching phonetic sounds to letters. In particular, the transcript activity used in session three to introduce key ‘hobby’ vocabulary was very useful, as it allowed students a degree of individual work followed by whole group confirmation. I felt that all students benefited from the methods of repetition to learn pronunciation, which were enacted in activities to learn the alphabet, ask introductory phrases and tackle difficult words. Through the use of ‘round up’ activities and refreshing the previous lessons work, the whole class were reminded on what they had already learnt and where that would take them in the future lessons.
Throughout the course the teacher was relaxed and friendly, yet was always in control. This attitude when teaching was perfect considering the age range of the students, their experience and their intention for learning Dutch. It also meant that students relaxed, feeling able to contribute to the lesson without fear of embarrassment. Furthermore, the ability to ‘go off plan’ if conversation changed direction or problems arose showed considered thought of all eventual outcomes. The methodology of teaching within this part of the module was clear at all times – the teacher intended to introduce us to the basics of Dutch through active participation in lesson. This was seen in the encouragement of contribution, searching for vocabulary and practicing spoken Dutch as much as possible. Having a high rate of student talk time improves knowledge of language and confidence in speaking that language, even with the prospect of making mistakes. The materials used in each lesson were always well thought out and used frequently, which enabled students to continue learning outside of the lessons.
As a mini module, it is clear that the introductory Dutch lessons were well planned, because they were well executed and beneficial to the students. As an exercise to observe teaching methods when put into practice, the lessons were a useful tool to reiterate the benefits of considered, active learning.