I’m more or less half way through my CELTA TEFL course and my group of nascent teachers is moving from a pre-intermediate group to an upper intermediate group. I may have mentioned, once or twice, to my co-students that I’m studying Dutch and have been asked at what level I would place myself as a learner. It’s tricky to self-evaluate, there are four language skills, reading and listening – receptive skills, as well as speaking and writing – productive skills.

I’d place my skill levels in the following order: reading, speaking, writing and finally listening. The last, listening, is as I know now, the one most learners of foreign languages find most difficult to master because you have to process language in real time and you have no control over the speed or vocabulary offered to you. Whereas with writing, you can take your time and if you have a dictionary close by, can refer to it for assistance with unknown vocabulary. The same applies with writing.

Speaking can be produced at your pace, with your choice of vocabulary and so long as you don’t take decades to speak  or mangle the pronunciation, you have a better chance of producing something hopefully intelligible in not too tedious a manner for the listener.

I’m very aware that listening to native speech is the most difficult thing to master, due to the speed, contractions, elisions and vocabulary gaps. I listen to Dutch sentences which, cue an obvious joke, sound like “double” Dutch but when I see written, are immediately comprehensible. I really should tune my radio to NPO1 Radio more often.

So what level am I at? Well, the on-line test I found was a written multiple choice, my strongest skill, I was still quietly pleased to have managed a 74% score and be judged intermediate. More work is needed and once my CELTA course has concluded, there may well be opportunities to gain more practice! 🙂

Here’s the site’s definition of intermediate.

You are able to understand the main parts of familiar matters (school, work, recreational activities, etc.) and can deal with most situations that may arise when travelling in areas where the target language is spoken. You can communicate with others on simple topics that are personal and familiar and are also briefly able to describe events, hopes and ambitions while giving reasons for them as well as providing explanations for your opinions and goals.

That seems accurate but I want to improve further! Er is een lange weg te gaan.

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