Project I-2: The knowledge base of mother-tongue education focused on context in upper secondary school

Duration: 2004-2009 (finished)
Researcher: T. Platteel, MA (PhD candidate)
Supervisors: Professor dr. H. HulshofProfessor dr. N. Verloop & Professor dr. J.H. van Driel

Aims and context

Two ideas for the improvement of upper level secondary education underlie this research project: concept-context teaching and the implementation of this by teachers. The concept-context approach to teaching emphasizes the interaction between subject-matter knowledge (concepts) and social and academic points of view (contexts). Concepts must be applied in challenging contexts. For mother-tongue language education, for example, sentence structure is one of the core concepts and reading comprehension is one of the core skills. Through action research, teachers can develop knowledge, apply knowledge, evaluate their knowledge, develop new knowledge, and so forth. Action research thus constitutes a promising strategy for the professionalization of teachers. In the present research the elaboration of the pedagogical content knowledge needed to realize effective context-rich mother-tongue education in these domains are examined. The central question is “What knowledge of concept-context enriched education do teachers develop while doing action research?”.


Mother-tongue Dutch language teachers are conducting action research in three secondary schools for a period of one-and-a-half years. The development of their practical knowledge is measured in several ways. First, at the beginning of the project, an interview was held with each of the teachers. The focus of the interview was on the knowledge that the teachers have of mother-tongue education in general and concept-context education in particular. In three separate groups, the teachers conducted an action research project with the help of a facilitator. During the action research process, the teachers wrote about their knowledge, their ideas, their plans, and their implementation regarding concept-context enriched education. All this information was then analyzed to gain insight into the development of teachers’ knowledge of concept-context education as an outcome of their own action research. A final interview was held to conclude data collection.

Last Modified: 12-09-2013