Trainer Interview: Muriel Schuermans

Muriel Schuermans is a Belgian native who is bilingual French/Dutch as she was brought up with French by her French-speaking parents. And now, of course, she teaches both Dutch and French at the Taleninstituut. She has degrees in Journalism and French language and literature. She has also studied counselling, marketing and public relation.

With this diverse background, Muriel brings more than just skills as a language teacher to the table: she is also able to understand and empathise wither clients and bring a broad range of business understanding to her classes.

Muriel switched over to language teaching when a French teacher friend asked her to take over a class one day.

For Muriel, teaching is a pleasure, “I enjoy finding the way to explain language as clearly as possible to my clients,” she explains, “I also enjoy finding out how to stimulate each individual to be self-confident in this new language. But maybe the biggest thing for me is the joy of meeting the person behind the student and discovering ‘new worlds’ in the sense of new companies, new products and new services.”

Muriel enjoys using new technologies and techniques in her teaching and is always looking for new techniques and methods. “My favourite tip is to ask clients to make a WhatsApp group with colleagues who speak French. That is a fun way for them practice conversations and practice writing. The ‘auto correction’ is also a great help with spelling and vocabulary.”

But aside from technology, the human connection is the most important thing for effective language teaching.I feel that what is more and more important is the connection you make with each client. You need to be able to bond with your client and get to understand their needs and their weaknesses so that you can find the right things to share with them.

“Language teaching has changed a lot from the old days,” Muriel continues, “The training has to be hands on now. There is no time for the old school teaching: lists of grammar, exercises, learning things off by heart. Students want to walk away with the knowledge and self-confidence that their presentation in French will be a success.”

But of course, it is not all up to the teacher is it? Muriel laughs, “Yeah! Practice! When you go to the gym once a week it will not make any difference, but if you go every day…and it is the same with language. A successful student knows that they have to practice every day.”

Here at TalenInstituut Nederland (The Dutch Language Institute) we understand the needs that companies face as well as the fears individual learners feel. This is why we offer flexible, fully customised Business language courses (including French and Dutch) to businesses and individuals. Through a process of interviews and meetings we establish the unique needs and competence of our clients and design each and every course around those. To find out more about our Business Language courses, visit our website and ask us for a quote:

© Taleninstituut Nederland

By: David Chislett
Trainer Business English