Language Support for Youth with a Migrant Background: Policies that Effectively Promote Inclusion

coverthumb-SIRIUS-Language_SupportIt is crucial for children of migrant background in Europe to become proficient in their host country’s main language of instruction. Lack of instruction-language proficiency impedes students’ comprehension and ability to follow lessons, which can lead to poor academic performance.

To avoid such outcomes, schools should provide sufficient support for youth of migrant background to learn and master the language of instruction. Teachers should also receive training to address the linguistic needs of their students in the best way possible. At the same time, schools could support the continued use and study of pupils’ mother tongue, which can both help students learn the host-country language and enrich the educational environment by introducing cultural and linguistic diversity.

A new policy brief published by MPI Europe and the SIRIUS Policy Network on the education of children and youngsters with a migrant background, Language support for youth with a migrant background: Policies that effectively promote inclusion, provides key points and good practice examples on what comprehensive language support might look like.

Recent studies have identified a number of tools and approaches that can provide effective language support for migrant children, including adequate initial assessment of language skills, language induction programmes that ensure a smooth transition into mainstream classrooms, ongoing language support, training for teachers of all subjects, and valuing students’ mother tongue. Despite these suggestions, there is no blueprint for what ideal language support might look like, and many European Union (EU) Member States are facing gaps in implementation of best practices.

Download Policy Brief on Language Support

The Brief is also available for download in French, German and Spanish.

This policy brief is part of a series produced by the SIRIUS Network in collaboration with MPI Europe, which focuses on how policies at the EU level and within individual Member States can better support the education outcomes of young people with a migrant background.

Via Migration Policy Institute 

Luxembourg: Portuguese children punished for speaking Portuguese

Kindergartens and public workshops (ateliês de tempos livres – ATL) in Luxembourg are to punish children who speak Portuguese, a decision which also extends to immigrant workers in the country. “We were told we could not speak Portuguese with the kids and they also could not speak Portuguese amongst themselves, “says a Portuguese employee of a public institution in Esch-sur-Alzette. The management of the establishment where he works, which includes a nursery, expressly prohibits educators and assistants from speaking Portuguese with children in their mother tongue, a prohibition which also extends to the conversations between the children, almost all of Portuguese origin. The languages ​​allowed in the ATL where children spend between “four to six hours a day” outside of school hours, are limited to the three official languages ​​of the country: French, German and Luxembourgish This is not the only establishment in Luxembourg where the ban is in force to speak Portuguese. 

Read more in Portuguese via TVI24 

Italy: Minister for Education Giannini: “Teachers specifically to teach Italian to the children of immigrants”

“Non possiamo trascurare che la lingua deve essere uno strumento di integrazione, per questo istituiremo una nuova classe di concorso per formare docenti che insegnino l’italiano come seconda lingua ai bambini figli di immigrati”, dice il ministro Stefania Giannini agli Stati generali della lingua italiana nel mondo organizzati dalla Farnesina a Palazzo Vecchio. Il ministro annuncia dunque un’altra novità della riforma #labuonascuola. Non nasceranno percorsi specifici che già esistono in una decina di atenei italiani, ma si tratta di dare loro un riconoscimento istituzionale e dare un’abilitazione per questo tipo di curricula. Questo significa offrire a molti maestri e prof precari una nuova opportunità di lavoro. “Non basterà essere italofoni per insegnare la lingua italiana, ci sarà un ruolo per la formazione di insegnanti qualificati nella riforma”.

Read more in Italian via

Austria: 10.5 per cent of pupils without Austrian passport

In the previous school year 120,110 children at school in Austria were not in possession of Austrian citizenship. This represents 10.5 per cent of all students (1,142,726). More than 226,500 pupils or 20 percent had a different mother tongue to German in the school year 2012/13. Most pupils without Austrian citizenship are in possession of a Turkish passport (16,431), followed by pupils of Serbian and Montenegrin nationality (14,023).

Further information (in German) …

Via European Web Site on Integration