When I was six years old, and our television showed only Dutch, Belgian and German channels (those good old times), I used to try to guess which language was on. And I’m still the kind of person that will slow down to eavesdrop on the people walking by, and try to hear what language they are speaking. I love the sound of different languages and the accents within them. When speaking another language, I challenge myself to make it sound as native-like as I can, or even to adopt a specific native accent. Which will lead to Spanish people thinking I’m from Portugal: I still have an accent, of course, but at least they can’t figure out from which country 🙂
Both my parents were teachers, so it was crystal clear to me that I would never ever be a teacher, like them. But languages still appealed to me by the end of high school, and after 5 years of college I ended up as a legal translator for Spanish and French. Translating is not easy, but it’s fun and interesting, and for some years I was perfectly happy with it. But then a colleague asked me to start teaching at a translation academy, and there I found my calling: I was going to be a teacher after all. I just LOVE teaching! I love the interaction in class, I love sharing my knowledge and watching how my students develop. Also, I love to think about how to improve my teaching and to develop teaching strategies.
Before TPRS came into my life, I would constantly search for and think of new activities for my classes, which by then were mainly Spanish language classes. You know that kind of teacher – you’re probably one yourself. Then came TPRS, and I was so filled with joy and overflowing with enthusiasm that I couldn’t wait to share it with other teachers. I was very fortunate to be able to do this together with my friend Iris, and we soon found out that presenting and teacher training is pretty different from teaching a language. So from then on, I focussed a great deal of my passion for development on finding ‘the best way’ (in quotes because there is no best way) to train teachers to use TPRS.
By now, it will be clear to you that I have an almost pathological urge to share my knowledge and skills 😉 so after all these years of developing teacher trainings, Iris and I decided to start helping other TPRS teachers in Europe to start as teacher trainers.
As a teacher, teacher trainer and trainer’s trainer, I’m always passionate about finding the best way to help people acquire language or skills, and I never stop learning and thinking about better ways to do this. For, me it’s one of the best ways to learn deeper levels of TPRS myself. As Albert Einstein said: If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Love for sailing was the reason I moved from Germany to The Netherlands. I worked as a sailing instructor and acquired Dutch by interacting with the Dutch. Apart from the specific sailor jargon and many, many G-rated words, I learned to speak Dutch flawlessly. I had already been trained as a teacher in Germany, where I had worked as a primary school teacher after studying Mathematics and catholic theology at the Westfälische Willems-Universität in Münster. Learning Dutch as a second language myself sparked my interest in learning (and teaching) languages, so I decided to do a teacher training for Dutch as a second language at VU University in Amsterdam. I started to work as a language trainer for various companies.
I am originally from Markelo, a town in the east of the Netherlands. For me, it was a logical step to attend the teachers’ college for primary education in the city of Groningen, but afterwards I decided to move to a more central place: Amsterdam. I worked as an elementary teacher for several years, before I started as a teacher of Dutch at an international school in Amsterdam. Teaching Dutch was quite different from being a general elementary group teacher, so I went looking for the best way to teach a language. I didn’t like the usual workbooks, and was very happy to learn about TPRS, which offered me the solution I was looking for. I now teach all my language classes through TPRS. The kids in elementary school love it! We create the craziest stories together, and they all want to act and play a role in the story. The power is in the questioning: the circling questions give the kids enough repetitions to feel confident, and adding details gives them a sense of ownership of the story. It is their story! And apart from that, they are having a great time together. It is because all of this that they remember the stories and the language. When I was a child, I loved stories. What a joy that stories are now a big part of my daily work!
I am a language teacher and an entrepreneur: I own the language institute Español y más in the city of Hoofddorp. At first, I started out of love for the Spanish language and culture, and then I fell in love with teaching with comprehensible input. I want to offer my students classes that are fun and diverse, and TPRS/CI helps me realizing that. I also like to attend courses and workshops about a variety of topics, like Spanish culture, literature and music.
I first learned about TPRS somewhere in 2014, and immediately knew that this was the perfect approach to language education for me. Even before I had finished the TPRS Teacher Training, I started as a board member of the TPRS Platform Foundation. What I like about TPRS and CI is that you can do anything as long as it is totally comprehensible. It gives me as a teacher so much freedom. I love getting spontaneous responses to the questions I ask in Spanish, and also I have gotten to know my students way better than I did before. We all like to use that knowledge in the stories we create tobether.