Marilene shares her story:
While studying for my degree in remedial education, I worked as a volunteer at the Language School for Refugees. That later turned into a paid job. At the Language School, I learned the profession of being a teacher of Dutch as a second language (NT2). The Language School was later absorbed by ROC Zadkine and I continued working there until 2011.
In 2011, I decided to start my own business: De Taalvraag. It was a gamble, but it has been one of the best decisions of my life.
In the first years, the course participants were mainly expats and family migrants. I quickly opted for teaching higher educated students, because I found this group the most inspiring. In groups with the same education and language level, I can help my students to achieve their goals quickly and effectively. Later, I also decided that I wanted to teach Dutch to higher educated refugees again. However, these students could only get a loan from DUO for my course if I had the Blik op Werk quality mark. That is why I decided to obtain the quality mark.
Because of the many positive reviews, more and more students came to De Taalvraag. I noticed that the work was getting too much for me. In the summer of 2018, Ruth Hoornveld came to work at De Taalvraag.
The location where I taught for the first few years also became too small, so we moved to the Oostzeedijk.
I spend most of my time teaching and coordinating the NT2 courses at De Taalvraag. I also provide training to other teachers. From 2011 to 2018, I also worked at the Babel language institute as an examiner of the AKV test, an exam for doctors who speak other languages.
Photos: 2011, the first year of De Taalvraag with classes in a church
2018, Oostzeedijk, students pin a flag on a map
Ruth Hoornveld shares her story:
I have been teaching at De Taalvraag for 3 years now and I do it with great pleasure. I enjoy teaching in small groups and giving students a lot of attention. At the Taalvraag, we listen very carefully to the students and try to offer each student what he or she needs.
I like giving active courses with a lot of variety. Learning a language is something that you just have to do! That is why you will never have to listen to me for very long in class. Talking and trying for yourself is the most important and you can learn the most from your mistakes.
I studied French in Groningen and Utrecht. In 2007, I moved to Kiev (Ukraine) and there I started teaching children and adults. After that, I worked as a Dutch teacher in The Hague and Paris.
When I returned to the Netherlands, I decided to get my NT2 teaching degree at the VU in Amsterdam. Since then I have mainly worked with adults who are going through the integration process. I also work for other schools in Rotterdam and The Hague and teach children as well as adults.
Photo Ruth Hoornveld, summer 2020
Marilene about Ruth:
Ruth’s lessons are never boring. She uses many approaches to teaching Dutch in which the students actively practice speaking. In student reviews about her, I notice that they are very enthusiastic about her lessons.
Every week, Ruth and I discuss the best way of teaching the different courses. I often notice how well Ruth notices what every student needs.
Without Ruth, De Taalvraag would not be complete!
At De Taalvraag we also work with volunteers. Students of the day groups can practice speaking with a language coach once a week for free. Erica Griffioen has been working for De Taalvraag since September 2016 and Mannie Makkink since November 2018.
Since March 2020, the sessions with our language coaches are digital.
Photo: team meeting on Zoom
Erica Griffioen shares her story:
I work as a language coach at De Taalvraag because I find it inspiring to help motivated students with learning Dutch. My many years of experience as an NT2 teacher are very useful in coaching them.
At the Albeda College in Rotterdam I worked as a teacher, as an internal supervisor of teachers and as a team leader. At the University of Applied Sciences of Rotterdam I was a teacher for the predecessor of the NT2 teaching degree. Furthermore, I am a certified supervisor.
Foto: Erica Griffioen at work as a language coach
Erica about Marilene:
If I were looking for an NT2 course, I would know where to go! When Marilene joined the Language School for Refugees years ago, she said, “I want to become just as good as Rita and Erica.” She has far surpassed us now.
I know Marilene as an incredibly knowledgeable and committed person. She is very committed to the development of her student. If you commit yourself for 100 percent as a student, Marilene is there for you for 200 percent!
She has great analytical skills, which she uses to understand the learning strategies of her students. Furthermore, she is very social, she creates space for the others and frees up time for those who really need it.
Mannie Makkink shares her story:
I find being a language coach at De Taalvraag fascinating and inspiring. The students of De Taalvraag come from different backgrounds and are very motivated to improve their language skills. As a language coach, I like to help them with that.
At ROC Zadkine I was an NT2 teacher and coordinator and I worked as a career coach. I have also developed teaching materials. I can now put this experience to good use in my work as a language coach.
Photo: Mannie Makkink at work as a language coach
Mannie about Marilene:
She is always looking to create a suitable learning environment for the student. That is how I see Marilene. She works in a driven, structured and result-oriented way. She knows how to stimulate her students and is clear about her expectations of the students themselves.
I know Marilene as a committed teacher who is cooperative and open to the input of others. She has a tremendous commitment. What touches me is that she also dares to look at herself, constantly examining what is necessary to achieve her goals. A passionate person.
Theo Dirks worked as a language coach for De Taalvraag from September 2017 to June 2020. Marilene knew him because he was her team coordinator at ROC Zadkine.
Theo Dirks about Marilene:
Photo: Theo at work as a language coach