Promotion Suzanne Dekker: ‘Multilingualism in heads, hearts, and hands’

Suzanne Dekker

Suzanne Dekker started as a postdoc / senior researcher at Mercator in October 2023, specifically on analysing the Language Survey, a large-scale study on current self-assessed language proficiency, attitudes and usage patterns of Frisian. Dekker is also involved in the new IGT project: InterGenerational Transmission of West Frisian and has recently been working on completing her PhD at the University of Groningen. ‘And I also currently work one day a week as a researcher at the lectorate Multilingualism and Education of the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht, where I am involved in projects on efficiently teaching English in primary schools, multilingualism and reading education, and professionalisation of news specialists.’

Dekker's research work in Utrecht was a great basis for her PhD research at the Multilingualism and Literacy lectorate at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and the University of Groningen. "My supervisor is your former colleague Joana Duarte, and my co-supervisor is Hanneke Loerts. I conducted the accompanying research at NHL Stenden within the 3M Project (More Opportunities With Multilingualism), and as a lecturer at the University of Groningen, I taught the subjects Language Variation: The Communicative Consequences, Language Planning and Policy, and Multilingualism and Education."



"My PhD research is about developing, implementing and evaluating multilingualism in Frisian primary schools. Indeed, within the 3M Project, multilingual activities were developed for different target groups of pupils. My research deals with attitudes towards multilingualism and the use of these multilingual activities, and how attitudes develop over the course of the project."

Dekker used quantitative surveys and longitudinal analysis of video data, and qualitative (longitudinal) interviews. "The study shows that people are generally positive about multilingualism, and can get a lot out of participating in a project like 3M. It also shows that such projects are necessary to establish multilingualism as a priority within schools."



Suzanne Dekker hopes to obtain her PhD from the University of Groningen on Thursday 13 June 2024. You can attend the defence ceremony for free online from 14:30 via the livestream on the RuG website.

  • Dekker, S. (2024). ‘Multilingualism in Heads, Hearts, and Hands’: Attitudes towards the development, implementation, and evaluation of multilingual approaches in Frisian primary schools. [Thesis fully internal (DIV), University of Groningen]. University of Groningen.

A summary of the thesis in three languages can be downloaded here.