De Invoering Van Het Vak Fries in Het Basisonderwijs
In Friesland - a northern province of Holland - people speak two languages: Dutch as the standard language and Frisian as a second language. Through the ages the Dutch language has become the dominant language, used in the higher regions of life in society; the Frisian language was only used at home and in the streets. Since the 19th century three motives have caused a change in this pattern.
First there is the social-culturai motive in the beginning of that century, leading to the desire to maintain and develop the Frisian culture and its language. Causes were among others the climate of Romanticism and the indus-trialisation of society. The second is called the pedagogical-didactic motive, which crops up about 1930. In this period of the so-called "Reform pedagogy" the attention in education is focused on the child, notably the Frisian child and its bilingual situation. In 1950 it led to experiments in bilingual education. The last change is caused by the political-ideological motive. In recent years minorities all over the world have been trying to get their culture and language acknowledged. In educational terms they want their children to be taught initially in their own mothertongue. Moreover - in the following schoolyears - they want school to pay attention to the Frisian language.
Each of the three motives has caused a change in the Elementary Education Act. The first made it optional for schools to pay some attention to "the regional language" in 1937. The second caused another change in 1955. Now the Frisian language was mentioned explicitly, but was only meant to fill the gap between home- and schoollanguage. The latest change on account of the third motive in 1975 allowed the use of the Frisian language as a teaching-medium throughout the elementary school, whereas in 1980 it will be introduced as an obligatory subject in the elementary school in Friesland. To make the implementation of the Frisian language as an obligatory sub-ject possible, several courses for elementary school teachers have been started since 1976. To examine to what extent the Frisian language was implemented in school we conducted a survey. It appeared that 80% of the teachers already implemented the subject. This is a high percentage, because it is at the moment still optional. Most of the teachers who teach classes with chiefly Frisian speaking pupils have begun to teach the new subject. But also a lot of teachers who teach classes with chiefly Dutch speaking children have done so.
Of course all teachers work with different goals and methods adapted to the pupils in their classes. Most of the teachers were motivated to teaching Frisian. Frisian speaking pupils turned out to be easier to motivate than Dutch speaking pupils. It is possible that these children have taken over a negative attitude from their parents. Therefore it is very important to involve the parents in the Frisian lessons and give them information about the new subject at school. Most of the teachers teach Frisian for about one hour a week. They use the Dutch language as a medium during the other lessons. Another group of teachers also spend about an hour a week on Frisian, but they use the Frisian as well as the Dutch language as a medium in the other lessons.
We conclude that after the latest change in the Elementary Education Act in 1975 the Frisian schools have made a progressive step towards the full bilingual education model.
Article language: Dutch