There is a famous theme park in Holland called the "Efteling". Efteling was opened on 31st May 1952 as a Fairytale Forest with ten fairytale attractions in a woodland setting. In the years that followed, the park grew into what is now known as the World of Wonders, where fairy tales are brought to life in spectacular theme park attractions. With 4 million visitors each year, Efteling is the most popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands and one of the leading theme parks in Europe.
My favorite attraction at the Efteling is the garbage can. It is shaped in the form of a giant sailor (called Holle Bolle Gijs) whose mouth is wide open. He repeatedly says (in Dutch) in a deep resounding voice: "Papier hier" (Paper here). Whenever you throw paper in his mouth he politely says: "Dank u wel!" (Thank You). The following video shows this splendidly:
What I like about Holle Bolle Gijs is his gratitude towards whoever "feeds" him. Not only is it a great gimmick to get kids to throw paper in the waste bin instead of on the ground, it is also an educational way of teaching kids how to show gratitude towards those who helped you in any way. I grew up in Holland and visited Holle Bolle Gijs many times. I learned to say thank you....
The word gratitude originally meant "good will" and came to us from the Latin "gratus" meaning "thankful, pleasing". "Gratus" is also the source for the word "grace". Synonyms are thanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness. All these express pretty clearly how I feel.
I would like to express my gratitude to Robert, our course instructor for a job very well done. I have administered online courses myself and I know the amount of work that goes into the planning and the day to day monitoring and accommodating. I know from experience that it is sometimes even more intense than giving a regular F2F course. However, Robert's reactions were always prompt, on the ball and showed a lot of expertise. I think we were blessed, "graced", with such a wonderful instructor!
Furthermore, I would like to thank the American Embassy in Israel for sponsoring my participation in this Oregon University Course. I highly appreciate it and hope they will continue sponsoring Israeli English teachers so that these will help improve the level of Israelis studying English. I know I will most certainly use what I have learned during this course in my future lessons.
As they say in Dutch "Dank u wel!"