June 29, 2011

Looking back at exams

These past 6 months I have been taking Dutch courses offered ever so kindly by the Dutch government to help immigrants from whenever to FINALLY learn the language properly. Since they offered free courses, I could hardly refuse...
And apart from learning Dutch, I have learned an awful lot - about learning - about teaching - about taking exams. As a teacher - I do my best - really i do - but you never really know what you're talking about until you are in the role of the exam taking student (very different from taking courses 'for the fun of it'.

The last 2 days, I took the Writing, Listening, Reading and Speaking exams. You could say it's the equivalent of the IELTS that we teach at HvA to first year students. First of all, I was NERVOUS before the exams!
I was really worried both on the weekend before and on the day itself. I was cranky and stressed and slept badly.
But I self medicated with rescue remedy and deep breathing...
The first day I nearly fell asleep during the listening exam... it was far too slow. So, the next day I brought candy with SUGAR to help give me extra energy. (it helped).
Also - the vitamin C and B-Complex after breakfast kept me awake and focused although i had a bad cough, hadn't slept well and was terrified of failing....

The best thing I did for myself was just get myself to school those 2 days a week - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday. With a full time job, two kids, and a life... it's not like i had time for this! But since doing homework was harder to find time for - at least in the class time - i did my work - spoke a lot of Dutch and was in a learning environment.

Oh, and not to brag, but for the past month, i switched the radio channel in my car from Skyradio to BNR - where they talk, talk, talk constantly. So i could listen, listen and listen... And yes, I read books in Dutch. I read for pleasure anyway, so i did some of that in Dutch...

I have learned a lot - I will try to be more patient with my students. I realized I'm terrible at learning grammar rules - i learn by doing. But still - sometimes it did help me to know that there was a rule - even if i didn't get it until it was explained to me 4 or 5 times...

Our exams at school are over for now at HvA, but more will come. I hope the students will do well next year - I hope I will have learned to be a more thorough teacher and certainly more empathic...

Happy summer to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Sorry for disturbing you, I ll be soon coming to Amsterdam to study Int Business and Languages! of course Id like to learn Dutch too! Could you please let me know where I can get more info on Dutch courses offered by the government? Thank you in advance, I leave you my email: came.to.love@hotmail.com
    ania

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