31 SES 04 A, Effectiveness of Multilingual Education Programmes on (Academic) Language Proficiency, Home Literacies and Teacher Perspectives
Despite some improvement in the educational situation of migrants and minorities, ethnic disparities remain a challenge in many Western countries (Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung, 2018). The pupils’ (academic) language skills are a significant predictor of their performance in different school domains and, therefore, they are often used to explain achievement gaps. Empirical studies showed that pupils with a migration background have lower (academic) language proficiency than their monolingual peers (Heppt et al., 2012) in the languages of instruction. Disadvantages are already manifest upon entering primary school when these children’s second language (L2) skills are less well developed than the language skills of their monolingual peers (Leseman & van Tuijl, 2006; Scheele, 2010). Although not unequivocally confirmed, numerous indications show that the conceptual knowledge basis built up in the heritage languages facilitates L2 learning (Verhoeven, 2007).
In order to address these disparities many language education programmes have been implemented in European schools to promote the (academic) language development of pupils with a migration background. So far, there is no evidence of how effective these programs are for the language development of multilingual children. In general, research studies that assess the influence of language education programmes on children’s language proficiency in both the majority language and the heritage language are scarce (Lengyel, 2017). Some qualitative studies suggest that children who participate in programmes promoting both languages have higher (academic) language skills in both languages than children who visit mainstream education without a target promotion of their heritage language (cf. Reich, 2011; Roth & Terhat, 2015). However, these are qualitative studies, that neither included a longitudinal perspective and nor assessed language development.
In addition to promoting (academic) language skills, some multilingual language programmes focus also on parental involvement in school to support literacy learning at home (Elfert & Rabkin, 2009). Several studies on home literacy carried out with young children point to a causal relation between literacy activities and (the development) of the (academic) language skills of both mono‐ and multilingual children (Scheele, 2010). In this case multilingual language programmes may have a double effect on promoting (academic) language skills through enhancing the home literacy environment.
Professionals’ attitudes and views are particular important for the successful implementation of multilingual education programs and, therefore, for the effectiveness of these programmes. Professionals need to break with monolingual practices based on monolingual ideologies. One way to challenge monolingual practices is the pedagogy of translanguaging (García et al., 2017). Translanguaging pedagogies offer a space to all languages and give children the opportunity to draw on their resources for learning.
While taking an international perspective, the main aim of this international symposium is to shed light on multilingual education programmes and their effects on, firstly, the pupils’ (academic) language development and their home literacy environment and, secondly, the professionals’ attitudes on multilingualism.
The first contribution focuses on changing preschool teachers’ perspectives on and knowledge of multilingualism during a professional education training in Luxembourg. The second paper presents findings of a four-wave evaluation study examining the effectiveness of the multilingual education programme “Rucksack Schule” on (academic) language skills in German and Turkish of pupils in primary school. The third presentation is linked to the evaluation and investigates the effects of “Rucksack Schule” on home literacy of bilingual German-Turkish pupils. The fourth contribution presents an intervention for plurilingual secondary education in the Netherlands, zooming in specifically on the dynamics of the resulting multilingual interactions.
Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung (2018). Bildungsbericht 2018: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung. https://www.bildungsbericht.de/de/bildungsberichte-seit-2006/bildungsbericht-2018/pdf-bildungsbericht-2018/bildungsbericht-2018.pdf (28.01.2018). Elfert, M. & Rabkin, G. (2009). Family Literacy. In Fürstenau, S. & Gomolla, M. (Eds.), Migration und schulischer Wandel: Elternbeteiligung (pp. 107-120). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. García, O., Johnson, S. I., & Seltzer, K. (2017). The translanguaging classroom: leveraging student bilingualism for learning. Carlson, Philadelphia Heppt, B., Dragon N., Berendes, K., Stanat, P., & Weinert, S. (2012). Beherrschung von Bildungssprache bei Kindern im Grundschulalter. Diskurs Kindheits- und Jugendforschung (3), 349-356. Lengyel, D. (2017). Stichwort: Mehrsprachigkeitsforschung. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 20(2), 153-174. Reich, H.H. (2011). Schriftsprachliche Fähigkeiten türkisch-deutscher Grundschülerinnen und Grundschüler in Köln. Bezirksregierung Köln. Roth, H.-J. & Terhart, H. (2015). Rucksack. Empirische Befunde und theoretische Einordnungen zu einem Elternbildungsprogramm für mehrsprachige Familien. Münster: Waxmann. Scheele, A. F. (2010). Home language and mono- and bilingual children’s emergent academic language: A longitudinal study of Dutch, Moroccan-Dutch, and Turkish-Dutch 3- to 6-year-olds. Enschede, Netherlands: Ipskamp Drukkers. Verhoeven, L. (2007). Early bilingualism, language transfer, and phonological awareness. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28(3), 425-439.
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