Trilateral meeting on Language in Early School Years in Tallinn

The objective of the trilateral meetings is to stimulate policy development in language policy in early school years for migrant children (from age 4 to 10), aiming to further improve the educational position of migrant children.

Next trilateral meeting will take place in Tallinn, Estonia, on 23 and 24 October. 2 professionals (e.g. policy makers, experts, academics) from three countries (Spain, Norway and Estonia) will come together for a 1,5 day meeting where we can exchange and question our different positions concerning language policies in the early school years.

On these 1,5 day language policies (f.i. mother tongue instruction, instruction in the language of the state, bilingual education, acculturation courses) will be discussed from three national perspectives that differ in terms of their language and acculturation policy contexts and the role of citizenship education in this context.

You can find the preliminary programme below:

Program Day 1

09.00 – 12.00: Arrival of participants

12.00 – 13.00: Lunch at the hotel

13.30 – 14.00: Opening session Introduction, background SIRIUS and program outline (Chair: Drs. Tomislav Tudjman)

14.00 – 14.15: Session 1 Mother Tongue Education: National policies & Practice – presentation results of SIRIUS survey by Dr. Ellen-Rose Kambel

14.15 – 14.45: Presentation Piret Kärner or Tõnu Tender (language policy or Multilingualism)

14.45 – 15.15: Discussion in groups

15.15 – 16.00: Presentation Austria, Germany and  Netherlands

16.00 –  16.15: Break: Coffee and tea

16.15 – 17.15: Session 2 Mother Tongue Education:  Decision making process (Chair: Ellen-Rose Kambel)

  • presentation results SIRIUS survey by Tomislav Tudjman
  • discussion in groups

17.15 – 17.45: Conclusions  Day 1

19.30: Dinner at Gloria restaurant in the Old Town

Program Day 2

09.00 – 10.00: Session 3 Host Language: Policies and Practices (Chair: Tomislav Tudjman)

  • presentation Dr. Ave Härsing: “New immigrant students & language immersion programme”


  • presentation of SIRIUS survey by Ellen-Rose Kambel
  • discussion in groups

11.00 – 11.30: Coffee/tea

11.30 – 12.30: Session 4 Host language: Good practices and challenges in implementing policy (Chair: Ellen-Rose Kambel)

  • discussion in groups

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch

14.00 – 15.00: Session 5 Parental and community involvement in language learning (Chair: Ellen-Rose Kambel)

  • presentation SIRIUS survey by Tomislav Tudjman
  • group discussion

15.00 – 16.30: Wrap up and conclusions

16.30: End of meeting

Trilateral meeting on Language in Early School Years in Amsterdam

On the 8th and 9th of September a conference on Language in early school years was hold in Amsterdam. At this meeting attended professionals (policy makers, experts, academics) from Germany, Austria and The Netherlands. The objective was to stimulate policy development in language policy in early school years for migrant children (from age 4 to 10), aiming to further improve the educational position of migrant children in the EU countries.

Some of the issues and conclusions of the meeting are:

  • There is a great need for creating awareness among teachers of the importance of multilingualism. Creating intercultural sensitivity. Creating awareness of what language means to and for teachers themselves. Using personal experience.
  • Seeing the importance using of multilingualism in welcome classes for newcomers.
  • Multilingualism is a competence instead of a delay.
  • Importance of knowledge exchange and learn from each other.
  • Value the (linguistic) competences of the students. From Germany: Importance of a systematic strategy for newcomers and to make a policy for this and a strategy for how to deal with this theme (In Germany education policy is federal). With interest in the success of the newcomers. We shouldn’t devalue competences newcomers bring with them and language is an important competence. Valuing competences of the children is a very good strategy.
  • Focus on second language acquisition. We do it more or less in every country. We have the same starting point but operate differently.
  • Language is important for the whole education not only for language education. In Germany and Austria there is awareness that there are children for who the host language is a second language. Also in the Netherlands there is an awareness that there are children for who Dutch isn’t their first language, but since 2004 we are politically focussed on learning the Dutch language and most of the mother tongue education classes have disappeared.

The report with the conclusions will be published soon.