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Trilingual Education in Friesland:
a ‘cool’ example of multilingualism
Alex M.J. Riemersma
Lector Frisian & Multilingualism in Education
Researcher at Fryske Akademy / Mercator
[email protected]
[email protected]
FORUM Instituut voor Multiculturele
Vraagstukken (Utrecht, 6 juni 2012)
Frisian is spoken
in one province (of 12)
of the Netherlands:
Fryslân
Frisian in Fryslân (Netherlands)
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Autochthonous minority language
Western Germanic language
Fryslân has 640,000 inhabitants
55% has Frisian as mother tongue (= 350.000 speakers)
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BUT: Frisian is successful as second language:
65% can read Frisian;
74% can speak Frisian;
94% comprehends Frisian.
Characteristics of Frisian
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Frysk
Tsiis
Tsjerke
Kaai
English
Cheese
Church
Key
• twa skiep two sheep
Dutch
Kaas
Kerk
Sleutel
German
Käse
Kirche
Schlüssel
twee schapen zwei Schafe
• Ik haw west / I have been
Ik ben geweest / Ich bin gewesen
“Mother tongue” definition & thinking
• EU policy: M + 2: each pupil / student /
adult shall acquire two languages
alongside the mother tongue.
• Implicit EU ideology:
“mother tongue” = national language
• “Mother tongue” thinking process:
either – or >>> and - and
Old theory / ferâldere ideeën
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New theory / nij ynsjoch
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Common sense / Prejudices
• The minority / migrant mother tongue
prevents the pupils form acquiring the
national language well enough.
• The minority / migrant language and
dialects are for oral use only;
they should not be taught for reading
and writing purposes.
Iceberg by Jim Cummins – 2 peaks
Bilingualism
The image of an iceberg is sometimes used to explain the way that bilingual learners’ brains use two
languages to make sense of their world (Cummins, e.g. 2005).
Cummins compares bilingual learners’ brains to an iceberg, with parts of their knowledge invisible, und
Iceberg of Jim Cummins – 3 peaks
Why multilingual education?
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Real Mother tongue development
Cognitive development - flexibility
Easier third language acquisition
Social participation
Cultural heritage maintenance
Language maintenance & transmission
European Policies
• EU (27 member states / 23 languages):
M + 2: mother tongue + 2 other languages
• Multilingualism as an “asset”
• Mother tongue / father tongue
• “Linguistic Diversity” ideology:
* includes minority and migrant languages
* but member states are responsible
(due to “subsidiarity”-principle)
Actors for multilingual education
Inside actors:
• Educational authorities
(national, regional, local school board)
• School principals & class room teachers
Actors from outside:
• Parents & activists
• Social and cultural environment
Goals of bilingual education
• Transitional bilingualism, aiming at
> better command of national language;
• Sustainable bi- / multilingual education
> full bilingualism, biliteracy
(in mother tongue and national language)
Reality of migrant languages:
• Neglect of (real) mother tongue =
submersion > subtractive bilingualism
Frisian in Education: transitional > …
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1907: outside the curriculum
1937: optional subject in primary school
1955: optional medium of instruction
1980: compulsory subject in primary school
1993: compulsory subject in secondary
education
• 1970: optional exam subject
Multilingual Primary Education
in Friesland
• Main stream primary education (500 schools):
mainly Dutch; Frisian + English as a subject.
• 100 schools: limited use of Frisian as a medium
(one day / half day; + school television ).
• Trilingual primary education (about 45 schools):
- Dutch, Frisian and English as subject and medium
- aiming at integrated language learning.
Reitze Jonkman en Alex Riemersma
Trilingual education in Fryslân
 Model: Frisian, Dutch and English as subject &
medium of instruction
- Grade 1-6: 50 % Frisian, 50 % Dutch
- Grade 7-8: 40 % Frisian, 40 % Dutch, 20% English
 Early start English
 Consciously separated use of languages:
person / time / themes
Trilingual education in Fryslân
 Expected (& proved) results:
- Good quality of Frisian
- Results of Dutch at the same level at the end of
grade 8 as all other pupils
- Results for English slightly better
- Self consciousness in English better, but not
significantly
Trilingual education in Fryslân
• Developments:
(a) 2012: 50 primary trilingual schools (=10%)
(b) 100 schools: semi-multilingual education:
mainly Dutch + English as a subject;
Frisian medium for (half) school day
• Continuity to secondary education:
2012: 3 pilot schools with the concept of
multilingual clil (= medium of instruction)
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Some recommendations
• Güven = Vertrouwen tussen school + thuis:
Onderwijsondersteunend gedrag:
• J. Nortier, Nederland meertalenland (2009),
hoofdstuk 7 – 8 - 9
1. Adults and kids: reading & listening:
www.tomke.nl (in Fries en Nederlands)
2. Buddy’s and kids: (double) enculturisation
www.aktion-zusammen-wachsen.de
Identification - native speaker charachter
Language rich input:
- reading aloud
- story telling
- immersion
- interaction
- vocabulary
Common Goals & Features
• Integration, NOT assimilation
• Multilingual proficiency:
condition / goal / asset
• Support from (extended) family, school
and institutions
• Positive attitude: multlingualism and
mutliple identities as “asset”.
Recommended Literature
• Colin Baker, A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide
to Bilingualism (1995).
Idem: Zweisprachigkeit zu Hause und in der
Schule: Ein handbuch für Erziehende.
(vertaling in Turks in voorbereiding!)
• François Grosjean, Bilingual: Life & Reality
(2010)
• Ofelia Garcia, Bilingual Education in the 21st
Century. A global perspective (2009)
• Dankuwel
• Köszönöm
• Dankscheen
Teşekkür ederim
• Eskerrik asko
• Mercé plan
• Graciis
• Kiitos
• Multimesc
• Hvala
• Trugarez
• Mange Takk
• Diolch
Tankewol
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