Immigrants, coming to Flanders (Dutch speaking part of Belgium) or the Netherlands and taking language courses, wish to be able to communicate with the residents. Their primary language needs are mainly based on the roles they have in society. Some want to be able to communicate with the teachers of their children, some want to qualify for a job or set up an enterprise, some mainly need the new language for reading and filling out official documents.

In a traditional language class – where students are grouped by level – most immigrants do not learn the language they need to achieve their goals. This is especially true for low-literate migrants. Many of them do not reach the expected level or drop out before they have sufficient language skills to help themselves out in crucial situations.

This website is the result of the project “role-based customized education for starting L2 learners in Dutch”. The project was commissioned by the Dutch Language Union and carried out by ITTA (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and the Centre for Language and Education (Leuven, Belgium). It helps educators organizing Dutch L2 courses that take into account the roles of students in everyday life. The project resulted in an educational concept, role catalogs and instruments, availing to identify different roles and to find out what roles are most appropriate for each individual learner. Introducing real-life situations and daily language practice in the classroom increases the learner’s self-supportiveness, lifts his learning motivation and enhances opportunities for positive learning experience.

The approach of role-based customized language classes becomes increasingly common in Flanders. In the Netherlands, immigrants are obliged to attend integration courses in Dutch as a second language. For the past decade, these courses were organized in groups, based on domains, which is in many ways comparable to the role-based approach. However, due to cutbacks in public spending in L2 education, this approach is recently renounced. Role-based customized language classes may be the right answer in the new situation.

Presentation Council of Europe

To learn more, see the following documents, that were used to present the project on the Intergovernmental Seminar on the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants, organized by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, 26 June, 2008.

Presentation: Tailor-made Language Education for Beginners in Dutch as a Second Language [pdf - 596kB] 

Seminar document: Education: Tailor-made or one-size-fits-all? [pdf - 59kB] 

General report on the seminar: The Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants Intergovernmental Seminar [pdf] (special reference to this website: p. 32)


18 augustus 2014