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
Thomas Castelein shares his story:
Hello! I am Thomas and I enjoy to helping you to improve your Dutch language skills. I keep the lessons as fun and diverse as possible, amongst others by regularly playing language games. Because I studied General Linguistics, I know extra well how to help my own students.
Marilene about Thomas:
Thomas started January 2022 at De Taal question.
Every week we discuss together what the best way of working is in the various courses.
I noticed how enthusiastic and motivated Thomas is for the lessons and to learn new things himself.
Ruth Monas shares her story:
I started in 2006 as an NT2 teacher and since February 2022 I have been working at De Taalvraag with pleasure. You will meet me in the online lessons because I live in Amsterdam.
The atmosphere in my lessons is relaxed, there is humor! We do in the lessons what you can’t do at home, so there is a lot of attention for speaking and practicing new words. We do this with role plays, games and other interactive exercises.
I love my job because a lot comes together. First of all, it is wonderful and rewarding to help people to learn Dutch, so that is easier to find their way in the Netherlands. Language is the key to a society and its culture. In addition, I am still learning about my own language, why do we say things in a certain way? Finally, I consider myself lucky to meet and get to know people from so many different cultures.
De Taalvraag is a great place to teach and to get lessons. The groups are small and there is a lot of attention for the students. The quality is very important, which brings out the best in the students but also in me as a teacher. If I were new in the Netherlands, I would choose De Taalvraag.
Marilene about Ruth:
Ruth is an experienced teacher.
At the introduction, I knew right away that Ruth would fit in very well with the De Taalvraag team.
Ruth started working at De Taalvraag in January 2022.
The students like to have lessons from her, because she can stimulate them very well to get the best out of themselves.
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, Theo since September 2017 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 has been working as a language coach for De Taalvraag sinceSeptember 2017. Marilene knew him because he was her team coordinator at ROC Zadkine.
Theo Dirks about Marilene:
Photo: Theo at work as a language coach