Thomas Helbech Hansen
From: Skibinge, Sydsjælland, Danmark.
Why I started teaching Danish
It’s a long story, really. It was way back in 2013. At the time, I had just come back from Japan, and because I wanted to maintain my Japanese language skill, I started doing some language exchange on Skype. Some of the the people I exchanged with asked if I could make some Danish videos to help them, and as I had already been making videos since 2004, I thought “Sure. Why not”.
So I made a couple of those, and in addition to my language exchange partners, many other people liked them as well, and so I made it my mission to help people learn the Danish language. I thought, “I'm gonna teach these people like I wish to be taught”.
Later on, I got into teaching online while I once again was in Japan. I started in February 2015 to be exact, and since then I've taught more people 1-on-1 than I can remember, and my love for making videos has never waned.
Personal and professional mission
For many years I have felt, and continue to feel, that there is a need for these kinds of videos and these kinds of lessons. I remember when I was learning Japanese back in 2011-2015, and the teachers would look at me like I was stupid if I said something that was unnatural or “improper” Japanese, and how they made language learning a very solemn, heavy endeavor. This didn't work for me at all, so I did the exact opposite. I made learning as entertaining as possible, while still being educational, of course. To me it has always been obvious that people learn more when they are having fun.
So my mission with all of this is to spread the Danish language, and to make people relax and not worry about making mistakes. Language learning can be so fun, but schools have taken a lot of the fun out of it by focusing primarily on tests and grammar. Now, grammar is important, but if you can't apply it in a context, it's pretty much useless. So, I'm all about being practical. What works for people? What do people actually need?
In the future, we are going to apply this language learning method to other languages as well, so learners of Spanish, French, German, Chinese and many other languages, will have the same experience that Danish learners have had for the past 6 years.
How I met Liam
Well, it started back in late-2016.. it's a bit of a long story, but in essence, I found out that Liam was a creative soul just like myself, and I just knew we had to sit down and brainstorm some ideas to see whatever we would come up with. I knew he was a bit crazy, lol! But so am I, and we understand each other. We started making videos around February 2017, and it was a true joy for me, as I could really see he enjoyed having this creative outlet, this way of living out his ideas, while teaching people Danish. To date, Liam and I have made hours upon hours of Danish videos together, and the whole time, we have thought “What didn't we try yet? How can we reinvent ourselves and the whole language learning format once again?”
For anyone who has watched our videos, it's pretty clear that we don't shy away from any topic or format. We are fascinated by life and this fascination is one we are projecting onto our videos, lesson, books, etc. Artistry and language learning, those two go hand in hand for us.