So you’ve decided to learn Dutch and have invested in some Dutch lessons, great! Learning Dutch with a native speaker is one of, if not the best ways of learning. But as you’ll know from school and your past education you can’t just rely on your teacher for learning. You have to put in extra work yourself between your lessons, no-one else can do it for you!
Putting in extra work between Dutch lessons will mean you’ll improve so much quicker. Here are some of our tips for revising.
The first step is to know what’s ahead of you. What grammar rules do you need to learn? Is there certain vocabulary you covered in class that you need to revise?
Ask your Dutch tutor or teacher for a brief outline of what you’re going to cover in class. You can use your timetable to keep on top of revision between classes so you’re you really know the topic or grammar rule before you move on to the next one.
The timetable will also be useful when you’re looking back on the semester or classes that you’ve done. You can use it as a list of what you covered in class and see if you can still remember it all.
Planning your revision will take the stress off (Source: Pexels)
Taking notes in class and from your textbook (or worksheets, if your teacher uses them) is crucial. The action of making notes itself is a way of learning and remembering, no one can take information in just from staring at a page.
But be careful; copying out the textbook word for word doesn’t count as learning (and will take you a long time!). You need to understand, rather than memorise.
Learning a language is difficult and there are many complicated grammar rules to learn. You need to learn the basics before you can build on this knowledge to learn more complex grammar concepts.
Once you have covered a topic or grammar rule in class and you feel like you know it, test yourself. Run through a few questions online or try to conjugate a verb from memory.
While you are making your notes, make yourself a few flashcards or posters with conjugations of important verbs.
Stick them around your room and scan them on your way out the door. Repeatedly reading your notes is a great method to learn.
Many people are visual learners and find things easier to remember if they are colourful and presented well. If this is you, use bright coloured flashcards for your revision notes. You’ll associate the colours with the topics making them easier to remember.
Another good practice is to label items around your room with the Dutch word. Each time you see it say it out loud. You’ll practice your accent and you’re more likely to remember words that you have constantly repeated.
Revisions can be done on tablets using specific learning apps which are designed by teachers and educators. (by flickingerbrad)
Ask friends and family to test you. Get them to shout out a verb and you can conjugate it. Or they can test you on vocabulary or different tenses. You can also practice speaking to them, even if they don’t understand you it’s good practice to hear yourself speaking Dutch and having to recall grammar points quickly as you form your sentences.
Speak to fellow learners to test each other on what you’ve learnt in class. This is also a great tool to hear someone else explain a grammar rule to you. If you didn’t understand it in class you might find it easier when someone else explains it in their own words.
Check if you can find a Dutch tutor within your budget.
If you can, speak to a native Dutch speaker. There are plenty of language exchange websites where you can chat in English and Dutch to share your knowledge with each other. You might even find an exchange in person. This is an invaluable tool in language learning. You’ll hear someone other than your teacher talking so you can get used to a new accent and to different vocabulary.
Speaking to a native will also boost your confidence knowing that you can have conversations in Dutch and can even make friend in Dutch!
Reading helps you revisit learned vocabulary, and see those words in new sentences and contexts. One excellent source of foreign language exposure is through graded readers, which are designed specifically for language learners of different levels. Another good source is advertisements or menus, which tend to use short, colloquial text.
Train your ear listening to Dutch radio and watching Dutch TV and Film. This is a great technique for comprehension. At the beginning of learning a language you feel like you should know every word but the more you listen to Dutch the more you’ll be able to pick out keywords in a sentence so you can understand. As you listen you’ll hear how they are using certain words or how they formulate sentences.
It’s good practice to note down words that come up often. These are usually connecting words or useful verbs that you can work into your own speech.
If you’re struggling with revision and need another method other than using your textbook, you can use online resources to boost your learning between lessons.
Duolingo is a language learning website and App for mobiles and tablets. It’s 100% free and is a great way to improve your language skills. The App is designed so you progress through a language course.
You can practice your speaking, reading, listening and writing skills while playing a game! You’ll improve your vocabulary and grammar skills by answering questions and completing lessons. You start with basic verbs, phrases, and sentences, and learn new words daily.
Duolingo uses repetition as a learning tool. Words and phrases will keep coming up in different questions until you know them by heart.
The App rewards your dedication with points and congratulates you on logging on to your lessons consistently every day.
Duolingo is one of the most popular ways to learn new languages. It is a great fun way to improve your skills and is completely free too!
Babbel offers language courses online through it’s website and on it’s app. It uses quiz style questions to help you progress. You will be shown new grammar and vocabulary and then be asked questions throughout the lesson to reinforce the information.
The courses are really straightforward and easy to use and can be used as a great addition to your Dutch lessons. You can use it as a beginner or go in at a higher level.
Unlike Duolingo however it is not 100% free. You can start a course for free but you have to pay to access more materials.
Overall though Babbel is a great tool and will easily complement your lessons.
In a language class, yesterday’s vocabulary is more important than today’s. The goal is to transfer the short-term knowledge of new vocabulary into your long-term memory. Review is essential – in the first few days or weeks after learning new vocabulary in class, recycle those words and you’ll entrench them in your memory.
Keep on top of your revision and you’ll really make your Dutch lesson count!