Volume 71, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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"The world becomes more comprehensible to us when we are able to tell a coherent story about it" (Kintsch 1998, 18). The process of learning, from the language in books to the language in an exam, demands school-language proficiency. This research project tries to define what children at higher levels of secondary education (ţweede fase ('second phase)) should know about the Dutch language, and what skills they need to be successful at school. Furthermore, the question is which aspects of the so-called 'school-language proficiency' can be problematic in the learning process of the originally non-Dutch. A description of the literature on school-language proficiency is followed by interviews with three groups of experienced teachers (alpha, beta and gamma), who were asked which areas can cause problems for non-native students. Not (or not completely) knowing the meaning of (the application areas of) words can cause problems.Also the linguistically offered, sometimes strongly culturally bound, context information can distract students' attention from the scientific content they should focus on. Also other areas such as strategy, lack of contextual information, and monitor-behavior can cause problems. Furthermore, the impression arose that school-language proficiency is strongly linked to the specific knowledge of the subject in question, and that that knowledge is stored separately per subject in the students' brain. Insight into bigger relations comes at a later age, and only with that insight does the capacity to express these interrelations linguistically develop.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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