My personal educational experiences as a pupil at a Montessori school, followed by my training as an Occupational Therapist, probably generated my interest in helping people set and achieve personal goals.
Coming from a background of teachers and physicians, it was no surprise that I chose to become an OT. I suppose it was also only a matter of time until I switched careers and went into teaching.
I have been teaching English as an additional language in the Netherlands since 1983. I have a good understanding of the problems speakers of other languages, particularly Dutch speakers, encounter when learning English.
I am a CELTA qualified language teacher and I have seen the inside of very many offices and language centres in the Randstad in the last 35 years. As an experienced Cambridge English examiner, I also have a good working knowledge of the CEFR language levels.
I have found my training as an OT invaluable in my teaching career. The ability to analyse and understand the personal or work situation of the individual student and the difficulties he/she encounters in learning another language are vital to the success of a language course.
It is the personal approach that makes the difference. This attitude also applies to my work as a translator. Personal contact with the author of the document and/or the person who needs the English version increases client satisfaction. Having only one translator working on a document at one time ensures continuity in style and ease of contact for the client.
I try to make my classes as engaging as possible through the use of relevant and current materials and of technology. My openness to new ideas, my understanding of the problems encountered by the learner, my innate sense of humour and my down to earth attitude contribute to my success as a teacher.
For secondary school students preparing to sit First (B2), Advanced (C1) or Proficiency (C2) exams.
These courses are specifically exam preparation courses and aim to familiarise the students with the different parts of the exam they are taking. The courses usually take place at school (or via zoom) and are for groups of 6-20 students. Typically lessons last 60-90 minutes and take place once a fortnight throughout the school year. Most courses comprise 15-20 lessons.
For teachers preparing to sit First (B2), Advanced (C1) or Proficiency (C2) exams.
These courses are specifically exam preparation courses and aim to familiarise the teachers with the different parts of the exam they are taking. Many of these teachers will go on to teach their subjects in TTO schools or are studying to become English teachers. These courses usually take place at the school or college (or via zoom) and are for groups of 4-12 teachers. Typically lessons last 90 minutes and take place weekly/fortnightly throughout the school year. Most courses comprise 15-20 lessons.
For English teachers preparing students to sit Cambridge exams (typically B1-C2).
These workshops take place at the school or college and are usually interactive full day sessions (6 contact hours). The focus is generally on specific parts of the exam, for example on the writing test at 2 levels such as B2 and C1 or on the speaking and listening test at the same level. This is determined in advance together with the coordinator at the school or college.
For those wishing to improve their English in general.
Would you like to improve your general English in any or all of the 4 basic language skills (reading, writing, listening & speaking)?. Do you want to participate in an English book club or do you just want to feel more confident speaking English on holiday? Perhaps a general English course is what you are looking for. BBLC can offer general English classes for individuals or small groups. The frequency of the classes can be as flexible as your own agenda and that of the teacher of course. Lessons are generally 1.5 -2 hours spread over a number of days/weeks.
For those teaching in an International classroom
The way we teach is so often coloured by our own learning styles and cultural backgrounds. Our experiences with and attitudes to new technology in the classroom have now of course also become more relevant than ever. How do we incorporate all of these factors into teaching in the international classroom, in a language that is not our own, nor that of the students?
These hybrid courses (C1/C2) aim to improve the language skills, fluency and confidence of the non-native lecturers and teachers, who teach their subject in English. They also aim to increase the flexibility demanded of the teacher in the international classroom. Typically, these courses are for 4-10 participants and take place at the college or university (or via zoom) on a weekly basis. Classes are often 2-3 hours over a period of 10-12 weeks.
For those studying or working in an English speaking environment
Those preparing to (or working in) an international environment may benefit from an English course more specific to their needs such as English for HR staff, English for support staff or English for medical staff. These practical courses (B1-C2) aim to improve the participants general level of English while also practising more job-specific language such as telephoning, giving information, problem solving, presenting etc.
The content of each course is tailor-made to suit the needs of the participants. The participants in a group would normally be at the same CEFR level. Typically, these courses are for 4-10 participants and take place at the participants workplace on a weekly basis. Classes are generally 2 hours over a period of 10-12 weeks. Materials used in these courses often include documents provided by the participants.
For students preparing to write papers in English
Those studying or preparing to study at college or university may require to write in English. These students may benefit from an English for Academic Writing course. Typically, these courses are for 4-10 participants and take place at the college or university. Classes are generally 2-3 hours over a period of 10-12 weeks. This schedule can also be more intensive if required.
For teachers in Dutch primary schools (VVTO)
Many Dutch primary schools are now introducing English lessons earlier than group 7; some as early as group 1. These teachers may benefit from an English Skills (Eigenvaardigheid) course. These practical courses are for school teams or individual teachers and take place at the school. The content depends on the individual needs of the teachers but in general these courses offer a balance between improving the language skills, fluency and confidence of the teachers and offering them tools and practical tips for the primary school classroom. Typically, these courses comprise 10 lessons of 1.5 – 2 hours spread over several weeks.
For those working or preparing to work in international business settings
Those working (or preparing to work) in an English-speaking environment may benefit from an English course more specific to their needs, such as English for presentations, international meetings, job applications, interviewing etc. The content of each course is tailor-made to suit the needs of the participants. The participants in a group would normally be at the same CEFR level. Typically, these courses are for 4-10 participants and take place at the participants workplace on a weekly basis. Classes are generally 2 hours over a period of 10-12 weeks. Materials used in these courses often include documents provided by the participants.
As a professional personal trainer and language coach, Helena did a wonderful job with helping me to improve my English language skills. She also translated my book The Change Maker®️ from Dutch into English with a high level of accuracy. Besides that, we shared experience concerning how to guide individuals through a severe change process, both personally and professionally.
Helena is truly a 'people' person. As such, she makes it easy for people to relax, learn and communicate
In the first half of 2020, during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, I followed the course Teaching in English C1 supervised by Helena. Thanks to her personal and flexible approach (online teaching!) and sense of humour, my classmates and I had an amazing time and a pleasant break from work commitments. In addition to improving my language skills, Helena offered a lot of presentation tips&tricks, which I think back to in every preparation.