1. What does the abbreviation TTO stand for?

TTO stands for Tweetalig Onderwijs in Dutch; which means Bilingual Education.

2. Is it the same as bilingual vwo?

No, it is not exactly the same. Bilingual education can actually be provided at all forms of educational levels. At Kandinsky College there is also a bilingual stream for mavo and havo.

3. What is TTO and what are the differences between the levels of education?

Bilingual education can be taken al all levels: mavo, havo and vwo. Kandinsky College offers three different options in year one: mavo/havo level, havo/vwo level and vwo level.

In all mavo/havo classes the following subjects are taught in English:

English 1 and 2, music, art, physical education, biology and geography.

In year 1 of havo/vwo and year 1 of vwo the following subjects are taught in English:

English 1 and 2, music, art, physical education, history, geography, biology, religious studies and science.

4. Is the foreign language always English?

No, not necessarily, although it is for most schools. In the Netherlands there are a few schools which have German as their primary language for the bilingual stream.

5. Is TTO a separate type of education with its own final exam?

No, it is part of the Dutch education system. Pupils take their final exams in Dutch. In addition, havo/vwo pupils also take an English exam called the International Baccalaureate (IB).

6. What is the added value of doing TTO?

Pupils broaden their horizons and learn English at a high level, by being submerged in the language for the most part of the day. This is invaluable for students who continue further education abroad. Not only that, more and more Dutch universities are choosing to provide classes and study materials in English. On completing TTO education at Kandinsky College a pupil will leave with a mavo, havo or vwo diploma, an International Baccalaureate, and the TTO junior or an Anglia certificate.

7. In which school years can pupils do TTO?

Bilingual education runs from year 1 through to the final exam year. The focus, during the first three years of mavo, havo and vwo is on language acquisition, and therefore many of the subjects are taught through English. In senior secondary pupils expand and apply their knowledge of English.

8. Which subjects are taught in English at Kandinsky College?

In all years of mavo: English 1 and 2, music, art, physical education, biology and geography.

In the junior years of havo/vwo and vwo: English 1 and 2, music, art, physical education, biology, geography, history, religious studies, science/physics and chemistry (year 3).

9. Are other foreign languages taught in English?

No, other foreign languages are not taught in English. For all languages the rule is that the target language is the language of the classroom. Thus it is preferable that German lessons are taught in German and French in French. Moreover, it is also possible at Kandinsky College to sit extra exams for German (Goethe) and for French (Delf).

10. Do pupils get lessons in Dutch before they switch to English?

No, from day one we only speak English with the pupils. Of course we help them speaking English as much as we can. If pupils want they can ask for a time out.

11. How about the final exams? Are they in Dutch?

Yes, pupils are prepared in Dutch for the final exams that they take in Dutch. We would prefer to have the final exams in English, but this is not (yet) allowed. The subjects for which you do not take a final national exam, are taught in English. You are also prepared for the IB in English 2 lessons.

12. Can pupils understand the (Dutch) terminology and study materials?

As pupils keep glossaries for each subject taught in English, their transition to Dutch usually passes successfully.

13. Do pupils also sit the general Dutch final exam for English as well?

Yes, they do, but in addition pupils follow the IB Language programme, and thus gain an internationally accredited certificate. Not only will pupils become good at English but they will also have learnt to think in English.

14. What is the difference between schools that offer Cambridge English programmes and bilingual (TTO) schools?

Schools that offer Cambridge English only teach advanced English during English lessons. At bilingual schools half of the curriculum is provided in English so, on average, you hear and speak much more English throughout the day. Furthermore extra attention is given to learning about English speaking cultures and the different English accents. You also get the chance to go abroad and experience the language first hand.

15. What is the difference between the way English is taught in junior secondary to senior secondary?

The first three years in junior secondary primarily focuses on language acquisition. In the senior secondary years of havo/vwo and vwo, lessons in the IB programme focus on writing, studying Anglo-Saxon literature and acquiring academic skills. In the senior secondary years of mavo pupils are prepared for the Anglia exam.

16. Do pupils receive a certificate for completing TTO?

Pupils receive a certificate developed by Nuffic. The havo and vwo pupils also receive the International Baccalaureate (IB), an internationally accredited diploma. The mavo pupils receive an Anglia diploma.

17. Are students required to be bilingual to do TTO?

No, not necessarily. TTO is developed for children whose mother tongue is Dutch. Naturally it is helpful if they have already had some English at elementary school, but it is not a requirement.

18. Is TTO only for children who are really good at English?

No, the entry level is not important. Yet, they do need to like English and be prepared to invest extra time and energy into it.

19. What is required for students to be accepted?

To be accepted at Kandinsky College they will need: a positive recommendation for vwo, havo/vwo or havo; to score I or II for reading comprehension; be highly motivated; have a good attitude towards studying and be driven. Moreover having a ‘bilingual attitude’ (a willingness to speak frequently in English during lessons) is a requirement to succeed. Furthermore, pupils need to have a balanced score on the Cito test, which means that scores for mathematics and language are not too far apart, and are both above 40 (for mavo), 50 (for havo/vwo) or 60 (for vwo).

20. How many children can be accepted for bilingual education?

Last year we formed four TTO classes, two for havo/vwo and two for vwo. 

21. What happens when there are more applications than places available?

If that happens, a lottery system for admission will be applied. Thankfully, that has not happened for some time and we do not expect that it will happen this year either. This is because there are fewer 8th grade elementary school pupils, in comparison to last year.

22. Is TTO popular in the Netherlands?

Yes, since the start of 1992 the interest for bilingual education has grown substantially.

23. How many schools offer TTO?

At the moment there are approximately 135 schools offering bilingual education.

24. How do applicants know if the TTO programme is of a high quality?

Nuffic, which promotes and coordinates TTO (bilingual education) in the Netherlands, has developed a set of requirements and standards which all schools are required to meet. In 2016, an assessment committee carried out and investigated into the bilingual stream at Kandinsky College. The school fully meets the required standards and is recognized as a bilingual school. In fact the inspection committee were particularly impressed with the way we have shaped our bilingual stream. 

25. Are TTO schools in contact with each other?

Yes, the schools are united in a national network in which we exchange experiences and share our expertise with one another. Furthermore, Kandinsky College is part of the regional network Eastern Holland.

26. What type of education do teachers receive in order to be able to teach in English?

All teachers who teach their subject in English have passed a Cambridge Proficiency exam, which provides them with a good grounding in the language. Moreover, they receive additional support from their (native) English colleagues, and they also travel regularly to the UK to further improve their English skills.

27. Are there native speakers at Kandinsky College?

Yes, we have teachers from Scotland, England, Ireland, USA and South Africa.

28. Is the English taught by definition British English?

Yes, during the course British English is taught as the norm.

29. Doesn’t all that English effect TTO (bilingual) pupils’ Dutch language skills?

No, studies have been conducted and it was concluded that there is no proof of this. Furthermore, Nuffic checks that TTO (bilingual) pupil’s results are, at the least, at the same level as the regular stream pupils.

30. How well do TTO (blilingual) pupils do in their final exams?

At Kandinsky College the results of the final exams are on average higher for TTO (bilingual) pupils than for traditional vwo pupils. This is in fact not only true for their English exam, but throughout all subjects. Moreover, all pupils who have taken the IB exam pass successfully.

31. Are English language texts books used?

Solely English text books will be used, for all subjects taught in English.

32. Can TTO be combined with the gymnasium stream?

This is possible at Kandinsky College. In the first year, pupils take the additional subject Ancient Civilisations and in the second year they may then choose for the gymnasium stream.

33. Are parents involved in the developments of bilingual education?

We at Kandinsky College believe keeping in contact with parents to be very important. We therefore have a TTO (bilingual education) parent panel, which is made up of parents with children in TTO years 1 and 2. This panel meets regularly with the tto department head to discuss everything concerned with the education we provide.

34. Do parents have to pay extra costs for bilingual education?

Yes, there are some extra costs for the bilingual stream. The fee for TTO (bilingual education) at Kandinsky College for the school year 2019-2020 is € 450 for havo/vwo and vwo and € 400 for mavo. This money is for the most part used to pay for foreign exchanges and study trips. It is also used to pay for additional English, plus the Cambridge Checkpoint exam in year 3, the IB and Anglia exam, continuous refresher courses and coaching for teachers who work in the TTO department.

35. Can I ask in person any questions I have about TTO?

Of course. You can contact our TTO (bilingual education) department head, Mr Rob Janssen or one of our coordinators Ms Deirdre van Ree (havo/vwo and vwo), Ms Elize van Klink (mavo) and Mr Menno Lecocq (mavo).

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