This summer, the fourth edition of the Nederlands in Actie textbook was published. The authors are Dutch teachers Berna de Boer, Margaret van der Kamp, and Simone Pentermann of the University of Groningen Language Centre. For years, our teachers have been enjoyably and successfully writing Dutch textbooks for non-native Dutch speakers in various compositions. Nederlands in Actie is part of an extensive learning trajectory that is used throughout the Netherlands. The first lessons using this new book have already been taught. Based on reviews submitted to publisher Coutinho, it seems that the book has been well-received by both teachers and course participants.
‘This book stands head and shoulders above other learning methods. I immediately saw happy faces among my new course participants about this new edition. It indeed invites active participation and broadly introduces societal themes and fields of interest.’
The first edition of Nederlands in Actie was published in 2004 as the second part of a series of four textbooks. The learning method is aimed at highly-educated non-native Dutch speakers and guarantees lessons with a twist. ‘There is a lot of humour in the books, both in the modes of instruction used and in the texts. It is not dry but instead a book that sparks activity in class,’ say the authors.
The book was due for an update as the texts and themes that it contained have since become dated. With the help of extensive user feedback, 11 contemporary themes were distinguished, each forming a chapter. These themes include identity, food, health, and sustainability.
‘The new edition really exceeded my expectations. The method is clearly recognizable, but also completely updated. The texts are interesting and up to date.’
The most significant change in the book, according to the authors, is that English translations have been included. This is something that was purposely left out in the previous editions. However, in practice, it appeared that course participants would find their own English translations, so it is better to include them directly in the book.
The assignments and modes of instruction in the book are varied so that all skills are addressed. Speaking assignments prevail among these, and form the connecting thread throughout the book. For instance, a recurring assignment is the Kletsmomentje, during which course participants ask each other short questions about a certain topic. ‘Course participants really look forward to this assignment and it offers a good opportunity for teachers to initiate interaction with their course participants.’
After a three-year process, the authors of the book are very satisfied with the result. ‘It has become the book that we had envisioned. It is inspiring to work with, for both teachers and course participants.’ The positive user reactions substantiate this sentiment well. Why should you use Nederlands in Actie in your lessons? ‘Because it works,’ as one review states. That is surely the best compliment that one could wish for.
‘Because it works, for both individuals and groups! A very enjoyable method for highly-educated non-native Dutch speakers. A good level, with sufficient challenges for all learning styles.’
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