Teaching History in Bilingual Secondary Education in the Netherlands

Perceptions, classroom practice and learning outcomes


Bilingual education is a way to strengthen foreign language learning by using a new language instead of the main language of schooling to learn non-language subjects like mathematics, geography or history. In the Netherlands, bilingual education has managed to secure a solid position in Dutch secondary education with over 36,000 students since its introduction in 1989 (Nuffic, 2018). In schools offering bilingual education, the second language that is used for communication and instruction is almost always English. Bilingual education is a relatively new phenomenon, growing in popularity particularly in Europe over the last two decades. Research into its effect has mostly concentrated on the development of second language proficiency of students and on second language teaching. Far less research has been conducted into the effects of bilingual subject education and classroom teaching on bilingual education subject teachers (DaltonPuffer & Smit, 2013; Pérez-Cañado, 2012). In this dissertation Dutch bilingual education history teachers (BHTs) and their teaching take centre stage. In Dutch bilingual education schools history is only taught in English in grades 7, 8 and 9. History teachers who work in grade 7 (Year 1) and grade 9 (Year 3) of both mainstream and the bilingual stream were involved in this study to generate a picture of both streams in terms of developments, similarities and differences in teaching history.

Reference Oattes, H., Oostdam, R., De Graaff, R., Fukkink, R., & Wilschut, A. (2021). Teaching History in Bilingual Secondary Education in the Netherlands: Perceptions, classroom practice and learning outcomes. [Research HvA, graduation external, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. Kenniscentrum Onderwijs en Opvoeding, Hogeschool van Amsterdam.
Published by  Centre for Applied Research in Education 14 April 2021

Publication date

Apr 2021


Huub Oattes
R. De Graaff
A. Wilschut
H.C.J. de Graaff
A.H.J. Wilschut


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