What is the power of good NT2 education? The power of good education for children learning Dutch as a second language (NT2) lies in many vital aspects. One of the most essential and immediately underestimated factors is the attitude toward other languages and cultures.

Other essential aspects of good NT2 education include:

  • Inclusion in already established groups at school, making them more immersed in everyday Dutch schools and the language
  • Attention and involvement of teachers and parents
  • Cultural awareness of the school and teachers
  • Professional NT2 education: didactics
  • The attitude toward the Netherlands and Dutch as a language helps determine the success of learning Dutch as a second language.

The two most important aspects are explained in this blog. Furthermore, I will briefly discuss refugee education, success experiences, and teaching Dutch as a second language to children online.

Visual education is good NT2 education

Good NT2 education requires special didactics. Some teachers feel that they have to talk a lot to NT2 learners. However, these children learn a lot more from talking for themselves. An NT2 student will sometimes need a different approach in some language areas. For example, the NT2 didactic of Seeing is understanding provides that because you first show students something and then ensure they can do it themselves.

This NT2 didactic of seeing is understanding by Josée Coenen consists of five steps in which a non-native learner can build up his knowledge of sounds, words, or sentences. Much attention is paid to sentence structure since the influence of their home language often causes different sentence structures.

Whether you follow a method such as seeing is understanding, Hotel Hello, or follow your own familiar themes as an NT2 teacher when teaching a new language: A lot depends on visualizing the language. This can be done with pictures, gestures, objects, and things in “real life.”

Motivation and the attitude of children and school

As a teacher and director of an online school that teaches more than 35% NT2 students, I know the children’s motivation is always high. Of course, as a teacher, you have to consider the living and learning circumstances of the children and how the Netherlands and learning Dutch are perceived.

Are the parents motivated? Are they staying in the Netherlands for some time, or would they like to return to their own country as soon as possible? Why are these things so important now?

The attitude towards a country and language partly determines the success of learning that new language. This also applies the other way around: the openness from the Netherlands and from school toward newcomers. How welcome are these children in a school? Is there curiosity about their country, culture, and language? In short, cultural awareness of the family and learning environment is essential.

Teaching Dutch to refugees

Every child in the Netherlands has the right to education and is subject to compulsory schooling. Regardless of how long or short they stay in the Netherlands.

The first importance is for the children to settle down and feel “at home” in school. At the school where I supervise teachers teaching NT2, we have all noticed how important this is and will continue to be. It is a necessary prerequisite for all children to be able to learn.

Teaching children Dutch when they speak only a few words of Dutch can be daunting for a teacher. How do I do it? What if they don’t understand me? What if something happens and they can’t adequately explain to me what it is?

Understandable questions, especially if you have little or no experience with fully foreign-language children. Fortunately, the didactics offer a foothold, and teachers will gradually notice that progress is being made relatively quickly.

Successful experiences in NT2 education

The joy of teaching children Dutch as a second language is all in experiencing their progress. The first time a child says ‘teacher’ to you. Or the moment children point out to each other that they should sit in the circle and say ‘zitten.’

Children who want to connect. Who are eager to learn and ask for words by pointing or bringing up objects. Children who wish to connect. Being able to respond to this with the proper knowledge, to that almost innate drive from the children to make the new language their own, is the best part of NT2 education.

Seeing is understanding, and seeing and understanding is doing. for the teacher and child. It is precisely the small moments that are valuable.

Teaching Dutch to children

Dutch for Children has been doing nothing else for over eight years, and as mentioned above, we are teaching Dutch as a second or third language to 35% of our students. Our teachers are experienced with the different ways of teaching a second language and work according to the didactics of ‘Zien is Snappen’ and many forms of vocabulary teaching.

Dutch for Children uses the latest resources and methods, such as those from LOWAN, Hotel Hello, Square 16, ‘Zeg ‘t eens’, and many more. If you want to know more about this, please read how we provide NT2 education at this link.

Are you looking for good NT2 education?

Are you looking for good NT2 education for your child? Then please read more here, or email me without obligation to meet info@dutchforchildren.nl. I’m always happy to help you get started.

Are you looking for good NT2 education for yourself as a teacher or for your school? Dutch for Children coaches and teaches NT2 and language. Please email me at info@dutchforchildren.nl, and we will make an appointment.

Kind regards,
Wendy van Dalen

Director of Dutch for Children