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3M: More opportunities with multilingualism

In the past, Frisian primary schools often faced either a bi- or a trilingual reality with Frisian, Dutch and English. Nowadays, however, an increasing number of migrant languages are present in the class room. Primary schools are searching for new techniques to deal with and make use of this multilingualism. Teachers don't want to ignore migrant languages, but find it difficult to sufficiently appreciate and use them. In addition, teachers would like to combine languages in their teaching, as opposed to teaching each language separately: academic research suggests that such an approach may well have better results.

Project goals      Project activities              Online        

Research theme: Multilingualism and Language learning
Duration: 01/09/2017-31/12/2021
Coordinating partner: NHL Stenden Hogeschool Leeuwarden
Mercator staff: Inge Heslinga, Cor van der Meer
Funding: Province of Friesland, Raak-Pro
Collaboration with: De Flambou, De Tille, Papillio, OBS De Twa Fjilden, OBS De Trije Doarpen, OBS De Eestroom, CBS Koningin Wilhelminaschool, OBS De Wynwizer, AFUK, RuG, Universiteit Gent / steunpunt diversiteit, Cedin, European Center for Modern Languages (ECML), Universiteit Utrecht, SLO, OBS De Barte, PROLOOG, FURORE, Stichting ROOBOL, EP Nuffic, Provincie Friesland, Rutu Foundation, OBS De Jasker, OBS De Balkwar, OBS De Tsjelke

Project goals

The goals of the 3M-project are to develop, experiment with, and evaluate new approaches and didactic tools for multilingual education. 

Development and intervention research

In phase 1, (teacher)researchers, student-assistants and 8 project schools developed multilingual activities and an online learning environment. The activities were evaluated via questionnaires and group discussions. This has resulted in the 3M toolbox and e3M. In phase 2 these products are implemented and evaluated by 4 new project schools. These developed products are assessed and optimized through questionnaires, interviews and video-observations. In addition, didactic videos are recorded as guidance for the 3M toolbox.

Guidance program

In phase 1 of the 3M-project, project schools were trained through workshops and seminars in multilingualism and multilingual didactics. In phase 2, the supervision program “Multilingualism in dialogical interaction in the classroom” is conducted under the supervision of (teacher)researcher Frans Hiddink (lectorate Multilingualism & Literacy). This guidance program has been developed for teachers of phase 2 project schools. The aim of this program is to research the progress in 1) the ways in which classroom interactions and / or interactions between pupils run in small groups, 2) in the way children (and teachers) deal with different languages in the classroom and 3) in the way multilingualism manifests itself in such class discussions. The guidance has the following two lines: 1) (individual) guidance through coaching conversations by using video recordings in the own class and 2) joint meetings, in which we discuss the striking features of the video recordings with all participating teachers and these relate to relevant insights from the literature.

Attitude research

To measure the (long-term) effect of 3M-products, PhD-student Suzanne Dekker conducts accompanying research into attitudes towards the use of multilingualism in primary schools. By portraying the developing attitudes towards multilingualism and multilingual education during the course of the project, the results of the 3M project can be measured. For this we work with surveys and Implicit Association Tests (IAT) that measure both explicit and implicit attitudes of pupils and teachers. This research takes place at the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and the University of Groningen under the supervision of supervisor Goffe Jensma and co-supervisors Hanneke Loerts and Joana Duarte.

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Project activities

A total of 12 primary schools (8 in phase 1 and 4 in phase 2) participate in the 3M-project. These schools are divided into four different school types:

  • Trilingual Frisian / Dutch / English primary schools
  • Refugees / Newcomer primary schools
  • Primary schools with a high percentage of migrant language speakers
  • Primary schools with a high percentage of Dutch speakers

Various types of activities are developed for these schools. These activities fall under the three main modules explained above:

  • Attitudes, knowledge & skills

The activities fall under 5 categories:

  • Awareness of own languages and the languages in the environment
  • Knowledge about languages in Fryslân, Europe and the world
  • Knowledge about language differences (vocabulary and syntax)
  • Language learning strategies
  • Knowledge about cultural diversity

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