Ernie Kuijer - Dual training course to become an NT2 teacher

Ernie Kuijer voor een boekenkast
Each class was unique. They provided me with new insights every single time.
Name
Ernie Kuijer
Current role
NT2-docent

I decided to train as an NT2 teacher about five years ago. I had thought about it for ages. Was it the right choice? Could I spare the money for it? I signed up at the last minute. I wanted to expand my opportunities to get assignments as a freelancer. And there was only one way for me to do so: with my great love, the Dutch language.

The assignments started to roll in. I immediately started working full-time, or more than full-time, in this fantastic field and developed to my full potential. Figuratively, of course. As a lover of our language, I figured I could teach. After all, I had an English teaching qualification already. But it doesn’t work that way. To be a good NT2 teacher (Dutch for non-Dutch speakers), you need specific insights and knowledge of how to teach non-Dutch speakers. The inspiring lecturers also gave me tools to answer the questions that course participants ask, using appropriate and practical examples. To name a few: How do I learn words? What do I need to do to get to B1 level? How do I improve my speaking skills?

Flying hours

You have to attend at least 80% of the classes to get the certificate. I attended 100% of them. It was sometimes difficult to make time for it, but afterwards, without exception, there was the thought: I'm really glad I haven’t missed a single class. You can’t miss any. It’s a bit like taking driving lessons. You have use all the hours you have and master the special manoeuvres. Just like driving a car, you only really learn how to teach in practice; ‘flying hours’. I have experienced just about everything in practice. I would recommend it to anyone. Don’t stick with just one training institute or one language level. Soon enough, you won’t be afraid to drive in any new busy city.

How do you keep learners motivated?

I prepared thoroughly whenever anything new cropped up. I always thought about the class devoted to this in the NT2 teacher training course. I would occasionally look up the information again. It gave me a lot of confidence. I took that into classes. In my experience, it is vital for paying attention to individual learners. If you are too preoccupied with what you want or need to do during classes, there is no room to really look at individual learners. You have to ask yourself the questions they don’t ask you. Why can’t he take this class anymore? How come she has so much trouble with grammar? How do you keep learners motivated?

So you see the learner and what they need. This is how you really help learners. It’s how you build a bond. Do you remember you found it difficult to do two things at once when you started learning to drive? I can now accelerate and shift gears automatically. Doing the exam preparation remains a kind of hill start test, where acceleration and daring to release the handbrake can get really tense. And, as with real-life driving, there are certainly quite a lot of these tense moments at the start. Now I can drive anywhere.

Enrichment

I would never have succeeded without the classes at Radboud in’to Languages. There was a class that ‘stuck’ every time. That provided me with new insights. I learned a lot. What I want to hold on to is this: enjoy everything I encounter along the way. It keeps me interested. I have already had more than 60 nationalities in my classes, which has been fantastic. Interacting with the people you work with makes and keeps the work exciting. I hope that everyone enjoys the work, and I hope everyone appreciates the thorough training that goes with it.