The Future of Education

Edition 8

Accepted Abstracts

Language Developmental Teaching: A Didactic Approach to Lift Teaching Levels, Retention Rates, Academic Success and Language Skills

Joke Vrijders, Arteveldehogeschool – Artevelde University College Ghent (Belgium)

Pieterjan Bonne, Arteveldehogeschool – Artevelde University College Ghent (Belgium)



By enhancing language skills of both native and non-native students through language-in-education policies, secondary schools, universities or university colleges in Flanders aim to raise retention rates. Artevelde University College Ghent started with language coaching in 2006.
The first approach was student-centered. Students were screened to determine their language proficiency and students with low language proficiency were invited for one or more remedial sessions. Over the past ten years, this policy evolved. The focus shifted to preventing problems and integrating language coaching in the curriculum to deal with an increased language diversity in class. As a result, teaching staff got increasingly involved. Artevelde University College Ghent started with Language Developmental Teaching (in Dutch: Taalontwikkelend Lesgeven), a didactic related to content and language integrated learning (CLIL). The method looks at how teachers use language, in order to improve the transfer of both knowledge and language skills.
In 2012 Artevelde University College Ghent created a didactic tool explaining the principles of and exemplifying (DVD) the didactic method. To put these principles to the test, the language policy officers of Artevelde University College Ghent started a program of continuous professional development. During one semester a language expert coached two ‘language coaches’ who each coached two  teachers.  
The teachers were introduced to the didactic method and supported during the implementation in their lessons. The project has found warm reception as sustainable form of language policy with many benefits for both students and lecturers.
In the presentation participants will be given the opportunity to (1) get to know the principles of the didactic method by means of the different checklists, the small theoretical booklet and the instructional video of an actual lesson, (2) discuss the train-the-trainer model used to promote cooperation between language and subject teachers and (3) the results of the research we carried out on the benefits for the teacher and students’ retention rates before and after the CPD-program.
Keywords: didactics - language diversity - continuous professional development - CLIL - academic language proficiency - sustainable education

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