Acculturation of Foreign Teachers into the Dutch Bilingual Education System
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This research paper investigates the way in which foreign teachers working in a Dutch school with a bilingual stream get accustomed to Dutch pupils and Dutch secondary education. This process of acculturation, as it is called, deserves our attention as the number of schools with a bilingual stream is increasing and the demand for foreign teachers (‘native speakers’) is rising accordingly. We investigated what is done by the schools to ease the acculturation process for their foreign teachers and found that it is very little. However, we also found that when schools do offer support, the positive effect is demonstrable. We described the obstacles that foreign teachers encounter in their Dutch schools, found that the biggest ones all have to do with respect and power distance. We discovered that 79% of our respondents feel that there are still some obstacles to their acculturation process even though they are not new teachers. Level of proficiency in Dutch would appear to be an important factor. Based on the data collected through questionnaires and our own literature search, we propose a series of guidelines for the schools to help foreign teachers acculturate to the norms and values that are manifested in the classroom and school environment. Our research shows that it would indeed be beneficial to teachers and schools alike if the process of acculturation were to be given due consideration.