Bachelor in Communication and Information Studies (C.I.S.): Language Learning and Language Teaching


Program Description

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.

This is what you will be doing
First year - 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.

Second year - 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’.

Third year - 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.

Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less