Wim Gombert

CHAPTER 7. Speaking skills 109 language system. In usage-based linguistic theories, language use and experience drive the system and there is no separate role for syntax as all subsystems (form, use, and meaning) interact dynamically (Schmid, 2017; Verspoor, 2017). Usage based theory is thus re ected most in strong CLT practices. However, both theories have in common that exposure is the main driver of language development (cf. Piske & Young, 2008). LEARNING TO USE APPROACH IN THE NETHERLANDS Lightbown and Spada (2013) point out that approaches with a strong SB component remain widespread among foreign language teaching practices all over the world. Speci cally focusing on a Dutch context, Graus and Coppen (2016) investigated student and teacher beliefs in the Netherlands regarding the role that grammar and grammar instruction should play in the second language classroom and found that participants (both teachers and students) considered explicit, systematic, and isolated grammar instruction a necessary condition not only for linguistic correctness but also for advanced communicative competence. West and Verspoor (2016) examined L2 teaching practices in the Netherlands through classroom observations and found an explicit focus on grammar, a frequent use of the L1 (mother tongue) as a medium to teach (about) the L2, the use of translation, learning vocabulary with translation equivalents and an emphasis on written language to be the main characteristics. Popma (1997) and Hermans-Nymark (2006) concluded that commonly used CLT coursebooks in the Netherlands generally re ect a SB design: e graded acquisition of selected structural and lexical items is seen as necessary instruments for successful communication and constitute the backbone of the coursebooks, which o en adopt an explicit and deductive approach to grammar, emphasizing lexical and grammatical accuracy. Unfortunately, the L1 is used as the language of instruction. To summarize, in the Dutch context, a “weak” version of CLT is still prevalent with little L2 exposure. Based on the ndings outlined above, it can be said that the SB approach remains most popular among L2 teachers in the Netherlands, even for English, but concerns have been raised that current foreign language teaching practices have largely proven unable to produce uent speakers (Hermans-Nymark, 2006), especially for French and German, which are not generally encountered outside the classroom in the Netherlands and have very limited out-of-class exposure. Moreover, French has seen a signi cant decrease in instruction time in terms of lessons per week since the last educational reform dating from 1992. is may seem counterintuitive given that target language use is seen as critical by most teachers and researchers alike (Dönszelman, 2019).