I am RUBIO
Hoi! My name is Joska Kruijssen, founder and teacher at Rubio Dutch Amsterdam.
I've started my own language school Rubio Dutch Amsterdam in May 2011. I felt that the different traditional methodologies I had been working with in the previous 6 years, were not recognizing the struggle of most of my students: homework and the shyness to speak.
Busy schedules, work, family life... they leave little space for multiple classes a week and homework plans packed with grammar exercises and word memorization. And in a city where everybody speaks English, an extra challenge is added to learning Dutch. Within the traditional methods, there is no concern for dealing with a busy schedule, or the feelings of inadequacy, shyness and self-doubt most people go through. They are just considered a problem of self-discipline or character flaw, and turned into a personal problem everybody has to deal with by themselves.
I believe that, if over 90% of my students struggle with those challenges, it's time to turn things around: instead of forcing people to adapt to a non-functional system, I made the system to adapt to the challenges students face while learning Dutch.
So no homework with Rubio Dutch classes and courses. In our reversed studyology method, grammar explanation is done at home, through short instruction videos, and we have all the time in class to practise.
To overcome shyness it helps to have a better understanding of the natural learning curve, and the emotions connected to each of the different stages of language acquisition. Feeling shy, to panic when someone suddenly addresses you, to feel frustrated with your progress: once you realize it's not you, but a normal part of the process, you can focus your energy on better things than beating yourself up over it! A better idea is to fill up your toolbox with the practical skills you need to handle those complicated, frustrating, scary or unexpected situations. That's how we work on self-assurance. To improve mindset, we play games to get a better idea of your insecurities and how to keep them from interfering with your progress. Fluency is gained by focusing on speech and conversation in our classes, and by conquering small domains in daily life, turning them 'Dutch', one-by-one.
Teaching Dutch has been my passion for the last 10 years. I am an official translator of Spanish and I've studied Cultural Anthropology and Psychology. In May 2008 I received my Diploma Spanish as a Second Language (Español como Lengua Extranjera, DELE Superior C2, Cervantes Institute). Earlier I lived in Madrid, Spain, for four years, where I ran my own language school and worked as a Dutch Teacher. My partner and I moved back to the Netherlands in 2008.
Between May 2009 and May 2011 I have been working as a Dutch Teacher for the Gemeente Amsterdam, preparing my students for Staatsexamen I en II, via Prins en Heida. In September 2011 I started teaching at the Hogeschool voor Tolken en Vertalen in Utrecht as a Teacher of Spanish Translation. I am a mom of two daughters, age 3 and 7.
I named my school Rubio because 'rubio' means 'blond' (♂) in Spanish. When you live in a country you were not born in, or your parents weren't, you have to deal with a lot of 'stereotyping'. People mean well, and don't realize they make you feel like the exponent of a whole population, instead of just you, an unique person. When I lived in Spain, people regularly asked me about the colour of my hair. That's why my company is called Rubio. To remind me how it feels to live in another country. And to remind me to treat people as unique beings.
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