Multilingualism and Education
Lines of research within the research group
Meaningful language education views language proficiency as a means to communicate, to learn and to function in an international and intercultural society. In this line of research, the research group places emphasis on content. Which subjects and teaching materials are most appropriate for developing language skills and preparing learners for the functional use of foreign languages in society?
How can teachers in different areas of expertise stimulate the development of functional language proficiency, which is necessary for participation in their course of study and future career? How can they find the connection with the multilingual context of students and society? This concerns career and subject-specific language proficiency in their teaching practice, and language-focused didactics in different subject areas, namely content and language integrated learning (CLIL).
Teachers and other education professionals together develop a vision and manner of working in regards to the value of students’ multilingual competencies and recognize multilingualism in their own environment. The context of education and work practice are essential in this, particularly in mutual recognition of different areas of expertise within and between teams.
Working in multilingual contexts is a key issue in teachers’ education and professional development. We aim to prepare teachers to choose pedagogically and didactically-informed ways of working, which fit their students’ needs, learning goals, and school environment.
“Language is a means of transport that takes you to the places you want to go. You see more when you enjoy the ride; you enjoy more when you are well prepared”Rick de Graaff Professor of Foreign Language Education
“Language is a means of transport that takes you to the places you want to go. You see more when you enjoy the ride; you enjoy more when you are well prepared” Rick de Graaff Professor of Foreign Language Education
“A lot has changed in foreign language education over the past fifty years. And yet there is also much that has not changed. Most schools still use textbooks with rules, lists of words, fill-in exercises and illustrative texts. There is still little actual communication in the foreign language, either between the students or with the teacher. Many people only fully realise the limitations of this training when their mind has to scroll down a list words when they find themselves in a French bakery, Austrian ski resort or in the London metro. Perhaps that isn’t surprising, because if you want to learn how to swim well, swimming laps will get you further than knowing Archimedes' law by heart.”
Rick de Graaff
The research group works together with various regional, national, and international parties to strengthen a communicative, intercultural and content-oriented approach to foreign language education. Among others teachers who received their education at the Hogeschool Utrecht and the Universiteit Utrecht, and different teaching schools in the region. As well as internationally with the University of Malmö, Sweden, and Innland University for Applied Sciences, Norway.