Communication and Information Studies: Language learning and language teaching

“You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.” – Geoffrey Willans

WHAT IS LANGUAGE LEARNING AND LANGUAGE TEACHING?

This programme bridges the gap between what linguists know about the learnability of languages and what language teachers experience in daily life. We aim to explain why certain aspects of languages are extremely difficult to learn while others are not, and how this varies for different learner groups. We use this information to critically analyze teaching and assessment materials and to develop and investigate new teaching methods and language interventions.

FOCUS ON LEARNER GROUPS

In this programme, we primarily study the process of language learning in both young children and foreign language learners. The first group not only consists of typically developing children, but also children with an atypical language development pattern, such as children with dyslexia and children with a hearing impairment or a communicative disability. The second group consists of children and adults learning a second or foreign language. We cannot use the same teaching methods and models and language tests for these two groups. What works for one group does not necessarily work for the other. In this programme, we study why this is the case and how we can help improve group-specific teaching and testing materials.

WHO ARE YOU?

Are you thinking about joining our LL&LT programme? In that case, you’ve always been passionate about language in general and about language learning processes in particular. You have always wondered why four-year-olds speak their mother tongue fluently while they cannot even tie their own shoelaces or draw a decent picture of a car. You are also intrigued by the fact that different groups of individuals follow their own specific learning path and sometimes even stagnate in their development. As an LL&LT graduate, you want to play a part in improving second or foreign language teaching and language teaching for groups with special needs.

Students with a degree in LL&LT are typically involved in developing language learning methods and teacher training programmes, in designing language proficiency assessments, and in teaching language to groups of learners with special needs. They may also provide language consultancy services for companies, the government or non-profit organizations.

Many bachelor students choose to pursue an English Master's in Linguistics or a Dutch master's in Applied Linguistics, which is also offered by VU Amsterdam.

If you have obtained or will obtain a Dutch diploma, please check the criteria on our Dutch webpage.

Applicants holding a diploma from another country must meet a number of requirements:

1.    A diploma equivalent to the Dutch pre-university VWO diploma
See the Diploma Requirement List for examples of accepted diplomas per country. Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.

Applicants who do not meet this criterion may be asked to sit (an) entry exam(s) to prove they are eligible for admission.

2.    Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
See the General Admission Requirements for the English language requirements.

 

Please check our step-by-step application guide for more information.

International applicants will be asked to submit the following documents:

•    Transcript(s) of records (e.g. High School grade list)
•    Curriculum Vitae (your personal details, previous education and any relevant work experience in approximately one A4 page)
•    Copy of valid passport
•    English language test results (if already obtained)

Deadline
International students who require university housing and/or a student visa must apply before 1 April. Students who do not require university housing and/or a student visa must apply before 1 May. You will be informed about your admission within four weeks after you completed and submitted your application.

Ready to apply?
Great! All applicants must start the application procedure through the Studielink.nl portal.

The VU Matching Programme enables you to check whether you have chosen the right degree programme. The matching programme consists of two steps: a digital questionnaire on VUnet, which is part of the application process, and an online activity. By taking part in the matching activity, you can check whether the programme is really the right one for you. For more information, please see the VU Matching Programme website.
Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Bachelor's day
Join us on the Bachelor's day; learn everything about this programme and VU Amsterdam, and ask your questions to students and teachers.

For questions, please contact your International Student Advisor:

Rosa Vijftigschild - ContactRosa Vijftigschild
E: bachelors.hum@vu.nl
T +31 20 59 85641

This is what you will be doing


First of all, the first year gives you a broad theoretical base reflecting the current state of the art regarding the structure of language, how language interacts with cognition and what kind of factors are driving language acquisition. Second, you will learn the basics of adjacent research fields, such as communication studies and discourse analysis. Last but not least, you will work on some indispensable general academic skills, such as research methodologies and academic writing.

Programme overview


In the second year, your knowledge of language learning will be further developed as we dive deeper into a number of linguistic domains, such as phonetics, morphology, semantics. This will help you become more proficient in recognizing typical and atypical language patterns in both monolingual and bilingual children. You will also be introduced to the field of language teaching and you will learn and experience how language teaching may influence second and foreign language learning, for instance in the module ‘second language learning’. We also help you to further develop your academic skills, in the courses ‘statistics’ and ‘philosophy’.


In the first semester of the third year of this Bachelor’s programme, you will choose a minor programme. You are completely free in your choice, depending predominantly on your future plans and your personal interests. You can choose from minor programmes such as Brain and Mind, European History and Culture, Digital Humanities, and many others. In the second semester of this year, you will dot the i’s and cross the t’s by focusing on language teaching, dyslexia and on assessing language proficiency. You will round off your programme by writing a Bachelor’s thesis.


First of all, the first year gives you a broad theoretical base reflecting the current state of the art regarding the structure of language, how language interacts with cognition and what kind of factors are driving language acquisition. Second, you will learn the basics of adjacent research fields, such as communication studies and discourse analysis. Last but not least, you will work on some indispensable general academic skills, such as research methodologies and academic writing.

Programme overview


In the second year, your knowledge of language learning will be further developed as we dive deeper into a number of linguistic domains, such as phonetics, morphology, semantics. This will help you become more proficient in recognizing typical and atypical language patterns in both monolingual and bilingual children. You will also be introduced to the field of language teaching and you will learn and experience how language teaching may influence second and foreign language learning, for instance in the module ‘second language learning’. We also help you to further develop your academic skills, in the courses ‘statistics’ and ‘philosophy’.


In the first semester of the third year of this Bachelor’s programme, you will choose a minor programme. You are completely free in your choice, depending predominantly on your future plans and your personal interests. You can choose from minor programmes such as Brain and Mind, European History and Culture, Digital Humanities, and many others. In the second semester of this year, you will dot the i’s and cross the t’s by focusing on language teaching, dyslexia and on assessing language proficiency. You will round off your programme by writing a Bachelor’s thesis.

Overview CIS: Language Learning and Language Teaching

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

3 years (fulltime)

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April (non-EEA students requiring visa and/or housing) / 1 May (all others)

START DATE

1 september 2018

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

BINDING STUDY ADVICE

You need to obtain 42 ECTS plus academic skills

FIELD OF INTEREST

Language and Communication