Babel offers language courses to individuals, businesses, educational institutions and other organisations, its typical clients being those with a higher educational background. Babel stands out from the crowd thanks to the high quality of our teachers, our flexible and transparent way of working and – last but not least – our competitive prices.
Babel is organised into four departments under the Director: Service Desk, Planning, the Tailor-made department, and the Education department. There are approximately 50 people on the staff, most of whom are language teachers.
Two aspects are especially vital to us at Babel: interaction, both within and outside the classroom, and the professional expertise of our teachers. In addition, each course we give is characterised by the following factors:
- We offer student-centred learning. Class activities will take student feedback into account.
- The trainer and the student are jointly responsible for the learning process.
- Cultural issues such as cross-cultural communication and cultural differences play an important role in our lessons.
- The language taught is the language of instruction: the language spoken in the classroom by the trainer and students is the target language being learned.
The trainers at Babel make use of a variety of activities that appeal to the widely varying learning styles of their students. They apply both theoretical and practical aspects of language learning in stimulating practice tasks, aware that ideas can be explained and offered to students in a range of different ways. What remains of central importance is a relaxed and positive atmosphere in the lesson, ensuring that students feel confident to play a full part in activities and to ask questions.
Babel was established in 1983, initially being located in a house on Koningslaan in Utrecht. Some years later an office was bought on Biltstraat. At first, Babel focussed on offering ‘open group courses’. After approximately ten years, Babel had outgrown their premises on Biltstraat and so moved to the Lucas Bolwerk (street). Tailor-made training courses and translation services were added to the repertoire. From 2010, Babel joined forces with the University of Utrecht (see below). The main office of Babel is now located at Nieuwegracht.
James Boswell Institute
From 2010 until 2012, Babel worked alongside the James Boswell Institute (JBI), part of the University of Utrecht. The cooperation resulted in a growth in knowledge and expertise for both sides. Since 2012, the language teaching activities of the JBI have come under the management and name of Babel.
A language course, for us, is no longer simply the traditional image of a teacher standing in front of the class. New, mainly digital, learning methods provide an outstanding addition to student-teacher contact. By means of our advanced software, those tricky parts of language learning that drain classroom time can be mastered quickly and efficiently outside of lessons.