On 30 January, Frederike Groothoff MA (Languages, Literature and Communication) defends her thesis Second language acquisition of newcomers in kindergarten. An exploration of the learning environment and pedagogical and didactic practices in the Netherlands in the Utrecht University Hall.
Promotion Frederike Groothoff: Second language acquisition of newcomers in pre-school age
Language development of newcomers
The pupil population at Dutch primary schools has changed considerably in recent years. Teachers are welcoming more and more multilingual pupils into their classrooms. Scientists around the world are researching the language development of second language learners, but their research often focuses on second or third generation migrant pupils or pupils with a longer exposure to the second language. Groothoff's dissertation specifically investigates the second language development of newcomers in pre-school age in various educational settings in the Netherlands. This is because some newcomers in pre-school age start in a special language facility, while others go straight to a regular kindergarten class. Groothoff looks at whether this educational structure affects the second language development of these pupils.
Groothoff collected data using a receptive vocabulary test, a narrative language and class observations to create a more complete picture of the communication skills of these students. The class observations ensured that pedagogical practice could also be included in the analyses.
According to Groothoff, her research shows that language aspects develop in different ways and that age and length of exposure influence the development of second language. She does not consider it important to focus on the organizational structure, but to take into account actual educational practices. Follow-up research should ensure that the most efficient educational practices become available to all newcomers in pre-school age, regardless of the educational structure in which they start.