Language Learning beyond English in the Netherlands: A fragile future

Marije Michel*, Christine Vidon, Rick de Graaff, Wander Lowie

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Abstract

    The Netherlands have had a long tradition of modern foreign language (MFL) education: French, German and English have been standard subjects at secondary school since the 19th century. After the introduction of the Mammoetwet in 1968, several major educational reforms have shaped the current practice of Dutch MFL teaching. On the one hand, a greater diversity of languages is on offer in secondary schools (e. g., Arabic, Spanish), and following the implementation of the CEFR (Council of Europe 2001) MFL teaching has become more communicative. Additionally, more and more schools at all levels of education have adopted English as a medium of instruction. On the other hand, with the growing dominance of English in Dutch society, the time dedicated to languages other than English has declined substantially so that secondary school sections and university departments for other MFLs are closing down. In this article, we provide an overview of Dutch MFL teaching since 1945. We will sketch how the choices made by different parties involved, including learners and their parents, teachers, teacher educators, publishers and policy makers, have been shaping the teaching of MFLs at all levels of education with a special interest in MFL teacher education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159–182
    Number of pages24
    JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Liguistics
    Volume9
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar-2021

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