23 SES 17 D, Public Education at the Crossroads in Germany, the United States and Canada
In a historical perspective, the public education systems in Europe were created in the course of the foundation of the “classical” nation state in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Historical analyses show that it was part of the destiny of public education systems to contribute to the emergence and consolidation of the respective states’ national self-design. Programmatics about the features of a “normal” and “well-functioning” nation state were created. The idea that a monolingual public sphere is appropriate and necessary for social cohesion in the nation state belongs to classical perspectives (Hobsbawm, 1990). In the course of the 19th century, the programmatics transferred into myths – e.g. the myth, that a nation state is monolingual not by its creation, but “by mere nature”, and that monolingualism in the national language is the “natural” result of being born and growing up in a nation state (Gogolin, 2006). Many of today’s public education systems are still based on this concept of linguistic “normality” with respect to the composition of their clientele as well as their image of an individual “normal” child(hood). In fact, however, the populations of nation states are not just recently multilingual, although linguistic diversity increased considerably as a result of migration. In German cities and urban areas for example, every second child is born into a migrant family; in London, more than 280 languages are represented by school children. Such data illustrate that the actual reality in public school systems is a multilingual composition of their populations. As yet, this is primarily perceived as a threat to approved traditions of teaching and learning. In my contribution, I will take a different perspective by showing that indeed a monolingual concept of normality limits children's opportunities to develop intellectually and linguistically. My contribution will be based on a presentation of European traditions of nation building since the late 1700s, focused on the role of language, and the traces these traditions leave in the concepts of public education today. Against this backdrop, I will give insight in two exemplar empirical studies: (1) a longitudinal study on multilingual language development which illustrates the individual language abilities of multilingual children (Brandt et al., 2017), and (2) a pilot study carried out in Hamburg, Germany, which illustrates the potential of linguistic diversity as a resource in “normal”, i.e. linguistically diverse contemporary classrooms (Duarte, 2016).
Brandt, H; Lagemann, M & Rabahri, S (2017). Multilingual development: A longitudinal perspective. Mehrsprachigkeitsentwicklung im Zeitverlauf (MEZ). European Journal of Applied Linguistics 5 (2), pp 347–357. Duarte, J. (2016). Translanguaging in mainstream education: a sociocultural approach. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, pp. 1-15. Gogolin, I (2006). Sprachliche Heterogenität und der monolinguale Habitus der plurilingualen Schule. Tanner, A, Badertscher, H, Holzer, R, Schindler, A & Streckeisen, U. (eds). Heterogenität und Integration. Umgang mit Ungleichheit und Differenz in Schule und Kindergarten. Zurich: Seismo-Verlag, pp. 291–299. Hobsbawm, E. J. (1990). Nations and nationalism since 1780. Programme, myth, reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.