[Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen 8] 1980
► pp. 56–75
Toepassingsgericht Onderzoek Van Het Onderwijs in Een Diglossiesituatie
Kerkrade is a Dutch town, near the border of Germany, where a dialect is spoken that is rather different from the standard language and has much in common with German. The linguistic situation can be described as a diglossia-situation. From 1973 to 1978 an integrated sociolinguistic and educational research project has been carried out to find out what kind of problems predominant-ly dialect speaking children experience in primary education as a result of their language background. From a sociolinguistic viewpoint this study was based upon the difference conception. Methodologically educational re-sults were treated as a variable dependent not only on characteristics of the children (such as language background and social background) but also on educational features (such as verbal interaction in the classroom). A broad conception of educational results was used that concerned not only cognitive achievement of the children, repeating classes, teacher advice for further education, but also features such as language attitudes, linguistic insecurity, fear of failure, etc. From the results of this study 3 areas could be derived that need special attention to improve primary education for dialect speaking children. 1. Verbal interaction in the classroom needs to be reorganized in such a way that dialect speaking children can feel more comfortable at school. To achieve this standard language must no longer be seen as the only acceptable way of speaking at school. A "natural" choice should be made between both language varieties the children can speak, dependent on the age of the children, the subject of conversation or instruction and some situational aspects of conversation. A major condition for the success of such a variable structure of communication seems to be mutual willing-ness to accept each others language behavior. 2. Since standard Dutch is the target language for all children and most dialect speaking children are less able to use that language in a grammatically correct and communicatively acceptable way, more systematic attention should be paid to the specific problems of these children. 3. Perhaps the most important and certainly the most complex area is that of the attitudes of both dialect and standard language speaking children and teachers towards language behavior and language users. Since May 1979 teachers, parente and institutions for linguistic and educational research, curriculum development and pedagogical assistance have worked together to find an adequate approach for the problems in these three areas. In this paper first a brief summary is given of the guiding principles, the goals and some of the major results of the study carried out between 1973 and 1978. The second part concerns the "innovation-phase", that started in 1979 and goes on until May 1981. An exposition is given of how in educational practice innovatory activities are planned and carried out, what our first experiences are and in what way research can contribute to all this.
Article language: Dutch