Why the name Topaz? The name was chosen because the precious stone, topaz, is said to inspire teaching and learning, and strengthen leadership and communication skills. It also helps to build confidence and the skills necessary to achieve goals. In addition, coincidentally, the letters stand for the mission of Topaz English, which is to offer TOP quality training from A to Z!
The company, founded in 2004, was set up in order to offer business people optimum progress in their command of English. Through many years of experience, the company owner and trainer has identified exactly what students expect from a course and how that can best be achieved. Focus on the individual, and tailor-made programmes are key factors. Taking into consideration any special difficulties a student may have, such as a lack of confidence, also plays an important role in determining how training should be carried out.
The owner and trainer – Suzie Bonner
I was born in Portsmouth (birthplace of Charles Dickens), England, and grew up in the southern county of Hampshire. Graduating from university in 1984 with a B.A. (Hons.) Degree in Geography and French, I followed an intensive course at International House, in London, aimed at training graduate-level candidates to teach English as a foreign language. As a result,
I gained the TEFL (Teaching English a Foreign Language) Preparatory Certificate, and at the end of 1984 left for Greece.
After teaching stints in Greece and Brazil (geared towards general English and preparation for the FCE (First Certificate English) and CPE (Cambridge Proficiency English) examinations, I returned to England, where I spent three years teaching in London. During this time, I also worked as an FCE examiner and studied for the highly respected RSA Diploma in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language to Adults (DTEFLA). Then, under the spell of love, I was drawn to the Netherlands, where I have been living and working ever since.
Experience – Business English
In the Netherlands, the demand for English is most prominent in the business world.
It is for this reason that I decided to specialize in this field. Initially working on a freelance basis, I soon started working full-time for a language institute in Amsterdam. I became Assistant Head Teacher of English, and later, for three years, held the position of Head Teacher of English. In 2004, I decided to operate independently, and set up Topaz English.
I have taught students from a wide range of companies including Randstad, KPMG, PwC, APG, Douwe Egberts (now JDE), Brunel, the Tropenmuseum, the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch ministries, G-Star Raw, Tommy Hilfiger/ Calvin Klein… and many more!
The jobs and language needs of the students have been just as varied.
For example, I have not only helped students to improve their English language skills for presentations, meetings, emails etc., but also to overcome their fear of communicating in a foreign language by helping to boost their confidence.
Naturally, the needs of the students take top priority, which is why all training is tailor-made. I ensure that each student receives the tuition and guidance necessary to improve their English language skills. Individual courses are the most advantageous, because the student receives 100% attention. However, the very best is done to ensure that each participant in a group course gets as much attention as possible. The actual content of the training depends on the needs of the student(s).
During the sessions, there is always an atmosphere of trust in which the students do not feel judged. They are therefore not afraid to make mistakes, and realize that,
in fact, you learn from your mistakes. They feel at ease, and this in turn helps to boost their confidence. The sessions are always very interactive and the students are given every opportunity to put what they have learnt into practice – practice makes perfect!