Why Multilingual Matters: Alternative Change Agents in Language Education Policy

Almut Küeppers, K. Yagmur

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

    Abstract

    Languages are powerful tools for change and have ceased to be only national symbols. In this focus paper, the overall question to be tackled is why and how the multilingual paradigm challenges nation-states and its institutions with a special focus on the domain of state education. While the former ideal monolingual citizen of the nation-state has been substituted by a multilingual intercultural speaker, top-down language education policies remain heavily influenced by monolingual ideologies and a preference for English as a foreign /global language. Departing from fresh approaches to linguistic diversity, this paper will analyze how a pluralistic society like Germany has dealt with the gusts of change through immigration, mobility and increasing linguistic, social, and cultural diversity in the past decades. It will furthermore be argued, that despite the official paradigm shift from regarding multilingualism as a problem to looking at (linguistic) diversity as a resource and potential for individuals and society, plurilingual children who grow up in families with a history of migration still do not have the same chances to succeed in the selective German educational system. Against this backdrop of institutional discrimination, the importance of alternative change agents will be highlighted who initiate valuable changes in language policy and educational settings in a bottom-up grassroots fashion. This ground-up push for pluralism will be illustrated by empirical evidence from an ongoing ethnographic monitoring study at an elementary school in urban Hanover. A number of key stakeholders like principals, parents and pupils will be identified and the impact of an alternative bilingual Turkish-German language program will be discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationIstanbul
    PublisherIstanbul Policy Center
    Commissioning bodyIstanbul Policy Center
    Number of pages46
    ISBN (Print)978-605-4348-75-6
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

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