It is an experiment that will last for at least three months. But if it works, primary school ‘t Slingertouw might be able to fill in two wishes at the same time: help talented partners of expats with a job and enable bilingual education in the primary school.

‘t Slingertouw is located in Meerhoven, the most international district of Eindhoven. It was therefore not surprising that right here the need arose to not only offer English classes in the two groups with the oldest children, but to do this for the whole school. But obviously, not every teacher is equally adept at giving English lessons. Hence the need for buddies: English speaking help for the teachers.

Realtors in Meerhoven noticed the trend some time ago already: most of the applicants for their houses were international. Apparently, the neighbourhood, spacious and close to nature and the airport, is popular among international knowledge workers – the expats – and their spouses. No wonder that the need among these spouses to do meaningful work was felt here more than anywhere else.

The experiment at primary school ‘t Slingertouw is relatively small – there is a ‘job’ for six spouses, each will accompany one teacher – and on a voluntary basis, but if successful it might grow into something bigger. The official kickoff is Wednesday (March 30). How exactly the teachers and their buddies will operate, that will mainly be up to themselves. “They might stick to counseling after school hours, or choose to really have the expats do the teaching,” says Yvonne van Hest, who designed the the pilot. “We’ll find that out in the next months. Of course the teacher will always remain responsible for the classes, but a helping hand will be very welcome.”

All the participating spouses have English as their native language, and the majority of them have a teaching qualification.

 

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.