Skip to main content


Frisian in secondary education: a holistic approach

Regional and minority languages, such as Frisian, are growingly coming into contact with migrant languages, as more migrants move to officially bi- or multilingual regions in Europe. Schools, already struggling to meet the standards for the national and foreign languages in the curriculum, are thus faced with the need to update their take on languages. However, how to handle this variety of languages in practice is unknown to many schools and teachers. While some research on holistic approaches (also called plurilingual approaches) for primary education has been carried out, secondary schools still remain under-explored. 

The project addresses this issue in the context of secondary education in the bilingual region of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. It will serve as a pilot study:

  1. for the development of multilingual teaching methods for different types of secondary schools;
  2. to conduct research into the implementation of new teaching methods and the effects it has on the language attitudes and the effectiveness of teachers.
Project Activities     Products      

Research theme: Multilingualism and Language learning
Duration: 01/09/2017-31/08/2018
Coordinating partner:
Mercator European Research Centre
Mercator staff:
Joana Duarte, Cor van der Meer, Mirjam Günther-van der Meij
Province of Friesland
Collaboration with:
NHL University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden (department for teacher training), CSG Liudger, BurgumPiter Jelles Leeuwarder Lyceum, LeeuwardenPiter Jelles ISK, Leeuwarden

Project Activities

The project will be conducted in three phases:

  1. Development of activities for multilingual teaching in three different types of secondary schools: a trilingual school (with Dutch, Frisian and English as instruction languages), a school with many Dutch-speaking students and a school with pupils with a migration background.
  2. Implementation, evaluation and refinement of teaching activities
  3. Completion of the final product of this project , an open source toolbox describing the activities developed at each school that can be used for the development of a multilingual approach in other secondary schools.