7 ways to boost the fun while learning Dutch
Having fun while learning Dutch is more important than you think.
Many people believe that you learn faster if you are serious when you are learning. But this doesn’t make sense.
Just observe how children and young animals learn. They always play and have fun, and are incredibly fast learners. So why don’t we use the same approach?
Luckily, there are seven things that you can do to boost the fun factor while learning Dutch, and you can start doing them almost instantly.
1. Learn fast
You can have fun without learning anything at all. When learning something new, some people start telling jokes as a distraction or an escape.
But having fun is more than just having a good time or being entertained, it is also about feeling good in general. And nothing makes you feel better than knowing that you have achieved something.
Make progress to stay motivated
If you learn a lot, you’ll probably feel better about yourself, and that can make you see things from another perspective. Things that looked impossible at first, now look entirely doable and you’ll notice it is a lot easier to have a smile on your face.
For real fun, you need to go for accomplishment. If you achieve a lot, then having fun - even on a "deeper" level - is so much easier.
2. Energy is everything!
A great energy or vibe is a key factor for learning fast and feeling good. If you hear too many things you don’t understand, or if things look too complex for you, then it is quite hard to feel positive.
In many classrooms you’ll hear teachers say uninspiring things like, "study hard", "do your homework", "let’s talk about het naamwoordelijk deel van de zin…"
But classroom energy can be transformed from heavy to uplifting just by using another type of language.
Word choice makes a difference
If you hear things like, "let’s play", "let’s discover" or "this is something you could say to the man or woman of your dreams", then you might notice a change in energy. By using certain words, you can easily enhance your feeling of curiosity, or sense of achievement.
Instead of complaining how difficult a new language is, start actually playing with all the things that you know.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
A great teacher can make an big difference, but also your fellow students play an important role.
Have you noticed that some people often don't show up to class and that later the teacher has to repeat everything? Certainly in group classes it's an easy way to waste time!
Seek out motivated classmates
Also, contrary to what you may believe, many people sit in a classroom who do not really want to learn. Whenever they see something new, they start to complain.
On the other hand, if you have the right people around you, then the positive impact is absolutely amazing. When a classroom conversation feels like you are chatting with supportive friends then you’ll realise you can learn from other students as well!
4. Use great visuals
Most people are visual learners. They learn faster if they can clearly see the new information. So if you use the right pictures then it is easy to pay attention.
Funny pictures especially can greatly enhance your logical thinking and imagination.
Don’t take the textbook approach
A common problem is that most people use boring books with boring black and white pictures. What’s more, on a normal page all the information is usually presented to you at once. Too often it is quite overwhelming.
Luckily, thanks to computers, it is relatively easy to show new information more gradually, which is a lot easier to digest!
Learning that the Dutch is a very visual language can change everything!
5. Be open to surprises!
Although you always need a procedure or a system to learn something new, most language-learning methods are too predictable.
For example, if you read a story in Dutch about a train station then you will probably learn how to buy train tickets, right? Although it seems logical to learn this way, your brain will probably fall asleep from boredom.
Go for the unexpected
Maybe this is why we like to check Facebook all the time, or buy products from companies with unexpected marketing campaigns. Our minds like surprises and new things, and are constantly looking for them.
So why not give your mind what it actually wants? You’ll notice that if you surprise yourself when learning a language, then paying attention is a lot easier!
6. Make sure you are totally engaged
If you want to learn a language fast, then sitting behind a computer or looking at a screen are probably not going to help.
Real live conversations, especially personal ones, are far more engaging.
Make it personal
In my classes I never say that people have to listen to me. Instead, I’ll use the name of your cat or dog, your mother-in-law or your partner and create stories around them.
Sometimes you’ll hear a story where you are the main character. It always works. If a story is about you then you have no choice but to listen, to hear what happens to yourself, and to learn new things.
7. Use humour and sex
It is virtually impossible to underestimate to importance of humour. Some people call it the highest form of intelligence.
See the funny side
Humour requires two things: first you need to be able to think in structures; second, you need to be creative and see multiple options.
For example, many words have double meanings in Dutch. Using jokes is the fastest way to learn them - because if you laugh then you’ll remember them forever!
Laughing and understanding a joke can open up your mind. But be warned: it’s quite addictive!
Needless to say, sex grabs the natural attention of most people. Certainly, when you combine sex and humor then people automatically pay attention.
Most teachers are quite hesitant about this. They only want to teach you polite and decent stuff, but, to be honest, the minds of most people like things that are filthy and naughty.
Companies use this important principle for copywriting and advertising, but guess what? To enhance learning, you can do exactly the same!
Having fun is serious business
Although many people believe that learning means serious study and disciplined attention, I have seen people learn so much more when they feel light, relaxed and cheerful.
Therefore, no matter how you want to learn, I would always say this: make sure that you have tremendous fun while learning Dutch. Certainly when you are serious about it.
The more important Dutch is for you, the more fun you should have.
Albert Both is a specialist in learning Dutch fast while having fun. Sign up for his free workshop "Finding Dutch Flow: Opening The Floodgate to Dutch Fluency" on Sunday, December 4, 2016, in Amsterdam.
› Download his e-book "3 Steps to Dutch flow"
› Download his e-book "Why You Hate Learning Dutch and 7 Secrets to Change It"
› Visit his website Talencoach.nl
› Check out his Facebook page
› Watch videos on his YouTube channel
All free of charge!