Secondary school students grapple with Dutch texts: ‘I liked the feminist part best’
University lecturer Olga van Marion invited pupils from Ashram College in Alphen aan den Rijn to take part in a series of Dutch workshops organised at the University. Some the students and workshop leaders reflect on the busy morning.
Mila: ‘Our workshop was about how women became more equal to men during the Enlightenment by writing books themselves. I liked the second part of the workshop the most because we compared a text written by a man with a version rewritten by a woman. In the rewritten text, the woman was portrayed as more of a heroine.’
Jessie: ‘I also liked the second part the most because it was more feminist. It was different to what we normally learn at school.’
Joe: ‘It was interesting, but I found it weird to see that there used to be ads in newspapers about human trafficking. We saw an ad advertising a “capable kitchen maid”.’
Thijmen: ‘I enjoyed the part about old manuscripts the most. People used to write quite differently compared to today. I enjoyed the workshop more than I thought I would, but I still plan on studying Law.’
Grappling with texts
Master's students Mette van Lambalge and Rachelle Toepoel-Steinz, both taking Dutch Studies, gave a workshop on transcribing historical texts.
Mette: ‘It was a really fun experience. We talked about historical texts that feature different fonts and how to transcribe them. We actually spent the session doing puzzles with language!’
Rachelle: ‘It was a real puzzle for them, deciphering the texts. We wanted to show them that studying Dutch language and culture is about so much more than just preparing to go into teaching. And I think we succeeded. We gave a workshop on transcribing, but other school students participated in workshops on a modern approach to historical literature, the difference between old and contemporary newspapers and writing about heroines instead of heroes.’