14 SES 12 C JS, How Can/Do Parents Support their Children's Language and Literacy Development?
Joint Paper Session NW 14 and NW 31
Educational guides are a significant source of information for parents, especially concerning questions about multilingualism. Nevertheless, only few is known in scientific research so far about the contents of parent´s guides. The DIWAN project (“Diversity and educational change among immigrant families from the perspective of parents and experts”) wants to contribute to the filling of this gap. It analyses how parent`s guides that focus on immigration-based multilingualism have developed since the 1980s in Germany, how political and scientific discourses and guidelines have left traces within them and which ideals of language education are nowadays dominating. Based on its first results, examples will be given to outline changes in the attitudes towards multilingualism.
Parents generally have a strong impact on the development of their children´s language skills, especially in early childhood. Within immigrant families in which another language or other languages as German are spoken, this fact is linked directly to a multilingual reality. Based on different goals, attitudes and beliefs, parents decide how to educate their children regarding the use of one or different language(s). These decisions sometimes go beyond the classical bilingual model – heritage language and German – in view of, on its own, multilingual couples being parents and with regard to demands coming from the education system (for example the foreign languages curricula).
Parental strategies may be seen superficially as a merely private matter, but they are strongly influenced by different social and political frames. How the German school system deals with an immigration-based multilingualism, the (social) position of the family languages in Germany and in the countries of origin play a significant role as well as assumptions and theories about the impact of multilingualism on the mental development of children.
Language education is a field of insecurities to many parents due to supposed dangers in case of wrong decisions, its close relation to identity aspects (as a minority group in society) and language demands by majority felt as a source of pressure. Therefore, since the 1980s, an increasing number of parent´s guides give advice on multilingual education. Especially since the 2000s, their number has increased due to various reasons: among other things, the political self-recognition of Germany as an immigration country, new digital media as well as a stronger focus on the success of immigrant pupils in the German education system following the PISA-studies. The parent´s guides can be located in a field of tension between political guidelines about the use of languages (in the education system), scientific discourses about language education and the corporate interests of different social groups like immigrant (self)organizations.
Multilingualism can be considered a key resource in a Europe characterized by a strong transnational mobility, embedded in the processes of Europeanization and Globalization. Germany has been one of the main destinations of migration processes in Europe, thus its potential role for the development of an integrative and supporting model towards immigration-based multilingualism in the education system in the sense of a European perspective is immense. The DIWAN project analyses parent´s guides on multilingualism written by different institutions like the school administration or immigrant organizations and examines the change of political guidelines and scientific debates. In this way, it contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics between relevant players in the field of multilingualism in Germany. This may offer a base for further comparisons to other European immigration countries as well as new approaches to improve future counselling activities on multilingualism.
The DIWAN project analyses parent´s guides on multilingualism published since the 1980s in Germany. The analysis comprises different media formats like films, books, audio files, so-called “parent´s letters” etc. Different institutions like the school administration, (grassroots and state) education-counselling institutions, therapeutical institutions etc. have published these guides. The documents are analysed with a qualitative content analysis conducted with MAXQDA. Following different grids and questions, the analysis is also located on different levels. It focusses on repeatedly used metaphors (central, representative key terms) and “rules” directed to parents and their change in the course of time. It also asks how parents have been addressed and which role they get attributed. On a more general level, the goal is to derive general attitudes, concepts and guidelines on which the parent´s guides are based. A secondary work is the historical reconstruction of the development of scientific discourses and political guidelines on multilingualism in Germany since the 1980s, in a way that permits to draw conclusions on their impact on parent´s guides. In addition to a literature research, this includes interviews with scientific witnesses of different time periods permitting to reconstruct and locate relevant changes in the last 40 years in Germany.
In Germany, especially grassroots education-counselling institutions with a close link to immigrant groups started to publish parent´s guides relatively early and with a generally positive view on multilingualism, initially often strongly linked to identity aspects in the sense of a multicultural model. Nowadays, a formal appreciation of multilingualism dominates the guides. However, concepts like the danger of a “double semilingualism” are still present in reformulated versions and tend to reproduce insecurities of parents. The education system still sets monolingual German norms and marginalizes other languages. The majority of the immigrants´ heritage languages isn`t represented in the school curricula. A “professionalization” of parents in their role as language educators, therefore, is limited. The education system still tends to see in it primarily a way to improve the base for the learning of the German language and rarely offers the possibilities for the further acquisition of heritage language skills (that means corresponding language classes for example). In contrast, parent´s guides from more grassroots initiatives primarily aim at representing a de facto multilingual reality regarded as a matter of course by now and refer to an increased self-consciousness of multilingual speakers.
Selected literature for the reconstruction of historical scientific debates about immigration-based multilingualism (and the role of parents) 1980-today: Extra, G.; Verhoeven, L.T. (Hg.) (1999): Bilingualism and migration. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter (Studies on language acquisition, 14). Fthenakis, W. E. et. al. (Hg.) (1985): Bilingual-bikulturelle Entwicklung des Kindes. Ein Handbuch für Psychologen, Pädagogen und Linguisten. Staatsinstitut für Frühpädagogik. München: Hueber. Gogolin, I. (2017): Sprachliche Bildung als Feld von sprachdidaktischer und erziehungswissenschaftlicher Forschung. In: Becker-Mrotzek & Roth (Hg.): Sprachliche Bildung - Grundlagen und Handlungsfelder. Münster: Waxmann (Sprachliche Bildung, Band 1), S. 37–53. Krüger-Potratz, M. (2013): Sprachenvielfalt und Bildung. Anmerkungen zum Kern einer historisch belasteten Debatte. In: Die deutsche Schule 105 (2), S. 185–198. Lengyel, Drorit (2010): Bildungssprachförderlicher Unterricht in mehrsprachigen Lernkonstellationen. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft (13), S. 593–608. Lengyel, Drorit (2017): Stichwort: Mehrsprachigkeitsforschung. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft (20), S. 153–174. Neumann, U.; Schwaiger, M. (2011): Der internationale Forschungsstand zur interkulturellen Elternarbeit und Elternbeteiligung. In: Unsere Jugend (11-12), S. 450–462. Oomen-Welke, I. (2017): Zur Geschichte der DaZ-Forschung. In: Becker-Mrotzek & Roth (Hg.): Sprachliche Bildung - Grundlagen und Handlungsfelder. Münster: Waxmann (Sprachliche Bildung, Band 1), S. 55–76. Reich, H.H.; Roth, H.-J. (2002): Spracherwerb zweisprachig aufwachsender Kinder und Jugendlicher. Ein Überblick über den Stand der nationalen und internationalen Forschung. Hg. v. Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Behörde für Bildung und Sport. Schmid, M. (2018): Einbindung und Partizipation von Eltern mit Zuwanderungsgeschichte im Schulsystem. In: Blank, Gögercin, Sauer & Schramkowski (Hg.): Soziale Arbeit in der Migrationsgesellschaft. Grundlagen - Konzepte - Handlungsfelder. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, S. 493–502. Apart from the type of literature named above, more than 100 documents (“parent´s guides” or parts of them) published by more than 25 institutions and authors build the base of the analysis.
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