ERG SES D 07, Pedagogy and Education
This paper will discuss the problems arising both globally and within a particular context, that of the classroom, due to increased people movement and migration whether forced or voluntary. It will focus in particular on the Chinese migrant population in Europe and more specifically, on the resulting Italian situation.
One aspect of immigration, which has dominated the Italian context because of the dynamics of the communities involved, has been that of the influx of Chinese migrants. Nowhere has this been more keenly felt than in Prato, Tuscany. Although according to government published statistics, there is an even greater number of Chinese migrants in Milan and other enclaves in Rome and certain small towns, the microcosm of Prato is at the forefront because of the high percentage of Chinese migrants in comparison to the total population. In the city of Prato as opposed to the whole Province, there is an estimated 30.000 legal migrants and possibly a further 30,000 illegal against a total population of 180.000 (Prato, 2011). In addition the impact of this migration has struck at the heart of the identity of Prato, which strongly identifies with its historic textile industry.
As globalisation increases so ethnic conflict often worsens, especially where increasing wealth in the hands of a resented minority ethnic group has the potential to turn the situation into ugly and often violent conflict.
This inability to be mindful of our interaction with others and how we might misinterpret what we hear or see, resulting in the sort of violence which is being born out by recent Italian media news coverage.
A case will be made for Education as an important tool to respond to many of the existing tensions and problems that exist and appear to be increasing. According to the September issue of the Journal ITALS, (the teaching of Italian as a second language) in an article on dynamics and problems of integration of migrant students in the schools in Prato, the point is made that the scholastic context of Prato presents itself as one of the most significant ‘laboratories’ in Italy for the placement and integration of foreign students (Pedrana, 2007).
Although there is today much research and ongoing projects on the linguistic and didactical approaches to the teaching of Italian L2, there is, however, a paucity of research in the area of Italian as a second language from an intercultural communicative competence standpoint explained in Byram’s work (1997).
There is a need to understand from the teachers’ perspective how they feel about their classroom environment when faced by high numbers of Chinese students over and above a government cap on permitted maximum percentage of migrant students, with regard to these students acquiring academic application of language. It is important to understand the perceived difficulties experienced by the teachers in delivering education for all students to produce outcomes
It seems that in many parts of Europe, political issues are dogging progress.
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