Why the 3M-project?

Teachers of Frisian primary schools are looking for effective strategies to acknowledge multilingualism and to make better use of it. Multilingualism in the Frisian educative field used to be restricted to bi- and trilingual education (Frisian, Dutch, and English), but nowadays teachers have to deal more and more with an intake of pupils that are non-native speakers.

With this project, teachers of 12 primary schools, researchers, students and professors of the Academy of Primary Teacher Education of the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with various partners (University of Groningen, Mercator, Cedin, Afûk, Rutu Foundation, Nuffic, Steunpunt Diversiteit & Leren University of Gent), want to develop and implement an innovative approach for multilingual education. This approach offers both a framework for the appreciation and use of migrant languages, and a coherent use for Dutch, Frisian and English in the schools.

How do we work?

A first orientation towards international scientific research in this field has already yielded a number of scientifically based approaches that could form a basis for a new concept. These options must be expanded and combined to be useful to teachers. The 3M-project focuses on developing, trying out and evaluating new concepts and new didactic tools for multilingual education. We work bottom-up in collaboration between researchers, lecturers, pupils and teachers. All the developed tools are placed in a digital 3M-toolbox and an online learning environment (e3M), which are publicly and free of charge available to schools inside and outside the project.

Different phases


The project consists of three sub-studies. In phase 1 there were 6 rounds of practical research (Van der Donk & Van Lanen, 2016) in which multilingual activities (and associated tools) and the multilingual online learning environment e3M were developed (2017-2019) by 16 teachers from 8 primary schools. The whole process has taken the following steps:

1. Question from the school.

2. Proposition from the project group based on a matrix

3. Implementation activity by the teacher

4. Feedback through evaluation form

5. Optimization activity for the toolbox

All the participating teachers were intensely supervised and took part in study evenings and workshops focusing on multilingualism and multilingual didactics. In phase 2, the multilingual activities and e3M are tested and optimized by 8 teachers from 4 primary schools (2019-2021). Thereby, they take part in a supervision program in which they reflect together with the researchers on their own multilingual didactics and their further professionalisation in this area. Furthermore the well-being of pupils and the language attitudes of the teachers and the pupils is studied in relation to the specific educational situations and the socio-cultural and ethnolinguistic backgrounds of the pupils.



Work packages

The project is divided into three main research lines:

1) development and intervention research

2) attitude research

3) dissemination


There are 5 work packages. In the first two years of the project (phase 1) a development study took place (work packages 1 and 2). The developed activities are placed in the 3M-Toolbox. Phase 1 is followed by phase 2: a two-year intervention study (work package 3). The final product of this research is the optimization of 3M-Toolbox. During the project period there is an accompanying attitude research study (work package 4). The objective is to portray the changes as a result of development and intervention research on the well-being and language attitudes of pupils and teachers. The research will also determine to what extent these changes are sustainable in the context of school development. Dissemination is an important component in this project and therefore has been described in a separate work package (work package 5).

Package 1
Package 2
Package 3
Package 4
Package 5


Intervention for multilingual education


e-3M online

learning environment



Intervention research



Longitudinal effect study




  • 16 teachers of 8 primary schools
  • (Teacher)researchers Lectorate Multilingualism & Literacy
  • Teachers and students of the Academy of Primary Teacher Education
  • Students Academy of Primary Teacher Education


  • Teacher from a primary school
  • (Teacher) researchers Lectorate Multilingualism & Literacy
  • Academies of Primary Teacher Education and Secondary Education/Vocational Education
  • Afûk




  • 8 teachers of 4 primary schools
  • (Teacher) researchers Lectorate Multilingualism & Literacy
  • Student-assistants Academies of Primary Teacher Education and Secondary Education/Vocational Education




  • PhD candidate
  • (Co-)promotors University of Groningen
  • (Teacher) researchers Lectorate Multilingualism & Literacy








  • Mercator Research Centre
  • Cedin
  • Nuffic
  • (Teacher) researchers Lectorate Multilingualism & Literacy
  • Student-assistants Academies of Primary Teacher Education and Secondary Education/Vocational Education


  • School visits
  • 6 workshops
  • Study days


  • Learning environment in 6 languages
  • Teach science
  • Multimodal
  • CLIL- method


  • Video analysis of multilingual interaction
  • Guidance program: Multilingualism in dialogical interaction in the classroom


  • Survey teachers & pupils
  • Implicit Association Tests (IAT)
  • Pre-post-design


  • Congresses & workshops
  • Website
  • Social Media