Course report Rotterdam August 2016

Course report

Region: Benelux

Location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Date: 24-27 august 2016

CI’s : Fintan van Berkel & Brenda Borghs

RD: Frank Loomans


There were 12 new students, 4 females and 8 males. Around five of them were overts. They had a lot of variety in their “stammering behaviour” and the ages ranged from 16 until 62 which made things that much interesting. All of the NS decided to stay in the programme. In total over 100 graduates attended the course.

Extra’s on this course:

From Wednesday morning until Wednesday evening there was another mental day. During this day a small group of people go deeper into the mental aspects of stuttering. A special thanks to Mariëlle Hali and Arjan Brouwer for leading the mental day.

Parallel to this course 12 people were attending staff training, 10 to become coach and 2 to become course instructors. Thank you to Mariëlle Hali and Tim Bicanic for giving the staff training.

During the course there were four split sessions which were given by people outside of the programme. There was one about change management, one about first aid and one about improvisation. The last one was the second session of the Broca Brothers on a McGuire course. They did a successful first session during the last November course and we were pleased to have them back. All of these sessions were informative and inspiring and they gave the grads extra insights.

New on this course:

When we introduced Hit and Hold we started practicing this technique on the vowels first, ended with the hard consonants and in the middle we did the other consonants. We noticed that vowels are easier to start with then the hard consonants.

During the first mental session Friday we managed to spare time so that everybody could practice in the lines with the mindset of deliberate dysfluency. This went very well.

Fintan and I were described as a ‘dynamic duo’ during this course. We had an interactive manner of presenting the sessions. We frequently asked questions like: “What do you think about this, Fintan/Brenda?”.

Fintan came up with a great extra tool ‘the horn’ to increase the voice projection in the lines. Clearly, it is not intended to use outside the lines! Everyone was asked to put their hand in front of their mouth and make a cylinder with that hand where they can speak through. This ‘horn’ helps to speak louder and to let go of any restraints.

During the last session on Thursday we did a Voice Projection Contest with the new students. One by one they were asked to say their name with exaggerated voice projection and we used a decibel meter to see who reached the highest volume. So far nothing new, but after that we made a podium where the three loudest students could stand for a photo. This created a really nice vibe in the room J! Point of attention: let’s bring in some medals for the next VPC ;-)…

During the sessions covering the feedback on the contacts, we made large circles where we asked everybody to stand instead of sitting. This more ‘active’ approach led to less people sagging (while not speaking) and more focus in the room.

Area to improve:

Time keeping! This went well at the beginning of the course but started to crumble towards the end. With such a tight schedule every minute counts. More practice equals better foundation.

There was too much mobile phone use during the breaks. It’s good for all of us to take time for ourselves during courses. And we ask the new students not to have contact with the outside world so it shows respect and solidarity if experienced grads do the same.

Overall it was a great course! I really enjoyed giving it and I am very proud of everyone. The amazing farewell speeches show that each of the NS has laid a solid foundation.

Congratulations to all new students! And a big thanks to Dave, Frank, the coaches and grads in making the programme to what it is today.

Kind regards, also on behalf of Fintan,

Brenda Borghs