The Current Context of the Language of Instruction in Aruban Education: Towards a more inclusive Multilingual Education
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The present research was conducted to provide a better insight into the current language context and attitudes of students and teachers towards their preferred languages of instruction. Research questions concerned the attitudes of students and teachers towards Dutch as the language of instruction and the current use of the different languages (Papiamento, English, Dutch, Spanish) in secondary education. Aruban students (n=272) and teachers (n=36) of five different secondary schools participated in a questionnaire. A sub group of students (n=22) and teachers (n=12) were approached for a semi-structured interview. Classroom observations were conducted to determine the actuality of the language situation in secondary schools. The results of this study reveal that Papiamento is the first language for the majority of the participants. As a result, students are constantly faced with challenges with the Dutch language in school. Furthermore, teachers find it increasingly difficult to teach in only Dutch. Teachers often use other languages such as Papiamento and English in their lessons in order to aid the students’ understanding of the material. Both students and teachers acknowledge the importance of Dutch in the Aruban education but believe that bi-multilingual education would be of greater benefit to the students. Students prefer to communicate in Papiamento and English and teachers are willing and open to explore and adapt their teaching pedagogies to better cater to their multilingual classroom.
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