Revising the Dutch Language and Literature curriculum
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Revising the Dutch Language and Literature curriculum

Dutch Language and Literature has been a subject in MYP since the start of the school. Now that the ISUtrecht has had its first DP cohort, it is time to revise the curriculum. We are now able to plan backwards to make sure the programmes align.

By Ilona Smolders, secondary teacher Dutch Language and Literature

The Dutch department started this revision during the last school year. We sought contact with Dutch teachers in other international schools in the Netherlands, which resulted in a collaborative meeting last autumn. Furthermore we got in contact with LanguageOne, an organisation that offers Dutch language and literature courses to native speakers in secondary schools abroad.This school year we made a start with planning all MYP units for grade 10 and below, making sure that they are all in line with the MYP philosophy and yet at the same time also meet the Dutch skills students will need to successfully study Dutch Language and Literature in the DP.

False advertising

One of the results of our collaboration with LanguageOne is that ISUtrecht has been selected as the only IB school in the Netherlands to take part in their pilot, testing the LanguageOne units that have been modelled especially for the MYP programme. In a couple of weeks’ time we’ll evaluate the learning results with the students, within the Dutch department and with LanguageOne.

In grade 8-9 Dutch Language & Literature, students have started with the LanguageOne unit: False Advertising, which focuses on the way commercials can manipulate and even deceive. The unit analyses commercials and the tropes used in them. The final assignment is for students to design a commercial of their own. The commercial will be about the book they chose to read at the moment.

Students dictate their own pace

An example of a weekly planner, including resources and activities

This unit is offered to the students through the online program ItsLearning. Students get access to a variety of sources – documents, assignments and video’s – through a personal account. It enables them to easily access sources and gives them the ability to comment directly on assignments, both in written and spoken form. The teacher can provide direct feedback on assignments and comments. Information is categorized and easily accessible. The planning for the coming weeks is also provided, so they can plan their studies towards their goal(s).

Homework is also taken care of within ItsLearning. Students can type directly in the online text editor, or upload documents. An example of an assignment for this unit is watching the Dutch show called Kassa and provide a spoken reaction of about a minute. Each assignment clearly indicates whether or not it is homework for next class. ItsLearning enables students to dictate their own pace; do they start working on homework assignments or do they need time to study up on theory? ItsLearning gives students control over their own process. Grade 8-9 has been working with ItsLearning for a week, and they seem to have adopted it well.

Love in the Middle Ages

“I like this method because we are able to keep all of our documents, plans and tasks together. We are able to access our work from any device since this is all online. I also like that I am able to see the comments that Ms. Smolders writes on my work so I am able to improve for next time. Overall, I’m happy with LanguageOne.” — Mikaela (grade 9)

“We use a website called ItsLearning and we do fun, yes fun, school activities and grammar lessons, who would have thought?” —  Jasper (grade 9)

In grade 6-7 Dutch Language & Literature, students started their LanguageOne unit about Love in the Middle Ages which focuses on the statement of inquiry: “Medieval literature teaches us that literature is both temporary and timeless”. The unit focussed on a comparison of past times with current times. Students are stimulated to think about this through a variety of tasks and while reading the story of Beatrijs. The final assignment is for the students to write a review in which they show their gained knowledge throughout this unit.

The students use the same online program called ItsLearning and this offers a nice structure and planner for the students. Some of the students have had a few struggles to get started with ItsLearning, but they seem to have found their way within the program.

Virtual file manager

“I think this is a fantastic tool for Dutch, it is very fun and you learn a lot. You can see everything that you need to do and the teachers can see what you have done so she/he can check it!” —  Koen (grade 7)

“It’s nice to have all of the planned lessons in a folder. It’s just like having all of your lessons in a virtual file manager. You can easily check what you are going to do the next few lessons.” —  Angelo (grade 7)