Wim Gombert

14 CHAPTER 1 and reading strategies, target language use is o en minimal (West & Verspoor, 2016). But this focus on grammar and reading may be at the expense of the development of oral skills (speaking and listening), as very little class time is le to practice such skills. Although most foreign language teachers in the Netherlands regret this situation and would like to have more of a focus on oral skills in their programs (Voogel, 2018), the importance attributed to grammar and reading prevents these same teachers from changing the teaching program. Adding to this complex picture of foreign language teaching in the Netherlands is the growing in uence of available coursebooks and the workload of Dutch foreign language teachers. According to Westho (2004, p. 108) innovation in foreign language teaching stagnates because of a lack of appropriate course materials. As pro t is the primary goal of educational publishers, coursebook design is usually based on commercial interests and Dutch teachers of modern foreign languages (who are claimed to be highly dependent of coursebooks, according to Westho ) prioritize “educational comfort” over “e ectiveness” when choosing new course materials. is may in large part be due to the workload of Dutch teachers, which is considered relatively high when compared to the workload of foreign language teachers in other countries. As part of a fulltime position, the workload for Dutch foreign language teachers generally amounts to 30% more classes compared to their European colleagues abroad, with on average 30-40% more students in their classes (Westho , 2004; p. 86). As a result, Dutch teachers have less time available to prepare classes, making them more dependent on readily available coursebooks. Despite communicative claims, these coursebooks still largely follow a structure-based design, emphasizing grammar and reading strategies, and o en encouraging the L1 as the language of instruction in teacher manuals (Westho , 2004; West & Verspoor, 2016). PERSONAL RATIONALE FOR THE CURRENT STUDY Like Voogel’s respondents, I had become frustrated as an FFL teacher in that my students were not able to speak French a er six years of instruction. ey could read and understand French but did not feel con dent enough to speak. I had been using traditional FFL methods up until then, but in 2011 I decided to change and use a di erent method, the Accelerated Integrative Method (AIM) (Maxwell, 2001; Arnott, 2011) with a new cohort starting their rst year of secondary school. Both the traditional methods and AIM are supposed to be communicative in nature, but the traditional methods that the school at which I worked employed, contained a great deal of explicit grammar and could be considered structure-based (SB) in nature, which may be considered a weak version of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). e AIM method contained a great deal of target language exposure, with a great deal of repetition built in and could be considered dynamic usage-based (DUB) in nature, which may be considered a strong version of CLT.