Mondeling examen
Mondeling examen

Het Mondeling, the podcast: scholars of Dutch Language and Culture analyse Dutch oral exams

Every year, thousands of HAVO and VWO pupils take a literature oral exam to complete their reading list. For many, this is a memorable experience from their school days. Yet, these conversations from the speaking exams have not been researched before. Scholars of Dutch Language and Culture Wyke Stommel and Jeroen Dera took it upon themselves to change this, creating the Het Mondeling (The Oral) podcast to discuss conversation fragments from authentic oral exams.

Literary Scholar Jeroen Dera and Conversation Researcher Wyke Stommel joined forces for a research project on a topic that is close to both of their hearts: the literature oral exam. While this is a test of students' literary knowledge, it is also a unique type of conversation. By scouring through video fragments of oral exams, the researchers came across multiple themes that form the thread of their podcast Het Mondeling

Together with moderator Marc van Oostendorp, Dera, Stommel, and their colleague Mieke Breukelman react to excerpts from real fragments of speaking exams. Although the voices are distorted, they can be heard quite well on the podcast. The aim of this isn't to judge the students again but to examine what an oral exam is actually like. Stommel: "An oral exam is a test, but it is very different from a written test. In a written test, you can discuss the questions at length, and everything has to be justified. However, a speaking exam like this is very fast; you have much less control over it because the student can steer the conversation. It's interesting to hear how that works with colleagues and think about how an oral exam works and what makes it good, difficult or sometimes funny."

According to Stommel, the podcast is certainly not a course on oral delivery but is meant to get teachers thinking about how the exams work and how they are examined. For example, should a student only answer questions from the teacher, or should the student also be allowed to ask questions back so that you arrive at an interpretation of a novel together? What do you do if a pupil has not read a book? And how do you actually conclude such an oral exam? Each episode focuses on one of these questions. 

All three episodes of the podcast Het Mondeling can now be listened to on Spotify.



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