PROJECT: The project deals with the development of an education module for possible further development of a curriculum, for pedagogic professionals working with bilingual children in preschool crossing over to primary school. This includes pedagogic staff of municipalities, kindergartens and also freelance pedagogues working with children on the issue of language development.
It is necessary for sophisticated integration of migrants into society and into the labour market. To improve the competitiveness of Germany and to fulfil the goals of the EC on language diversity in combination with overcoming the generation gap we need to support language development for children and qualification of people working with them, irrespective of whether they are natives or migrants. The necessity to reorganize working programs of kindergartens with regards to special communicative and interactive needs of bilinguals affects professional education of staff and changes attitudes of organisations on programs of IVT and VET. Therefore we will produce a competence program, to advance the willingness of cross-cultural learning.
The partnership wants to set up an education module which includes aspects of intercultural learning, psychology and language development for two equal languages. Special focus will be on a change management of educational organisations developing bilingual education programs for children.
The project wants to embed the topic of bilingualism and development of skills and competences in vocational and professional education. Methods and didactics will be extracted from approaches in order to improve the qualifications and career development of pedagogic staff within their professional duties and to support their employer to assist by using what has been learned
In most of the European countries language education for children with a migrant background is focused upon learning the language of the host country. This approach has advantages but several disadvantages as it denies the cultural identity of the country of origin and denies equal development of 2 languages together. In the last years the research has shown, that bilingual children have another approach towards learning, culture, communication and integration. Under these circumstances the more supported language replaces the other one, so that the original mother-tongue is forgotten and a big educational asset is lost. In most cases the pupils will not have sufficient command of both languages which leads to below par learning efficiency and even school drop-out. It is most visible in an underdeveloped knowledge of vocabulary and grammar (in both languages), mixing words and phrases of both languages in one sentence.
The program will promote the development of at least two languages together - real bilinguals. Under this term we understand children growing up in a multilingual environment - e.g. children of migrants with their mother-tongue language spoken in a private environment and host country language spoken in school. Similarly in mixed families: one part has a migrant background the other part is born in the country of living.
Multilingual language ability is increasingly becoming a key skill in terms of personal development opportunities, peaceful inter-cultural understanding and global understanding of people in Europe and the world. The process of socialization of young children is traditionally associated with the system of pre-school education. The promotion of individual characteristics of the child should be associated with the preparation for the demands of a dynamic globalized world.
Modern scientific research has proven that a child’s brain is able to acquire 2 languages at the same time. Prof. Dr. Petra Schulz, University of Frankfurt, intends that the best place for bilingual language acquisition is the kindergarten. Several research projects have been dedicated to this issue for more than 10 years now: e.g. DFG-Project „Erwerb der komplexen Syntax des Deutschen bei monolingualen und bilingualen Kindern“(R. Tracy), University of Tübingen; “Language Impairment in a multilingual society: Linguistic patterns and the road to assessment”, EU-Cooperationproject COST IS0804
The project is initiated to deal with the big challenges of the European Union countries.
a. Multilingualism: according to resolution of the European Council in 2008 the promotion of multilingualism is one of the big topics in Europe. The EC set a goal that all citizens of Europe are able to speak in one or more languages. Children brought up bilingually have the advantage to speak and think in two different languages and cultures, under the guidance of professional support. The aim is, to develop both languages equally. Also by already having a learning routine, the acquisition of a 3rd and 4th foreign language and culture becomes easier. In addition, this project fits the operational goals of the Lifelong Learning Program by improving linguistic diversity and supporting the knowledge of minority languages.
b. integration into society - improving European citizenship: The project is focused on teaching staff working with children from families with a migrant background from the former Soviet Union. As the project is aware, Russian is not a European language, we want to highlight that the target group is one of biggest migrant groups in Europe: In Germany alone we are estimating the number of people with CIS background of more than 4 Million. It is a vital group as still Germany faces an influx of population, especially contractees with working permits and Jewish immigration with no employment but permission to reside (ca. 60000 per year) to revitalize Jewish life in Germany. Also other countries a large number of Russians have immigrated. We estimate again a minimum of 6 Millions.
c. Economy: European countries have close economic links to Russia: The biggest trading partners in Europe are Holland, Germany, Italy, France and UK. Even for smaller countries like Austria, Switzerland or Sweden, Russian speaking professionals and highly educated specialists play an important role in the economic success of these countries. Therefore a lot of companies are dependent on trading with Russia. Bilinguals, with the knowledge of both languages and culture, grown up in two worlds, which they perfecly understand, can build bridges and due to the early sensibilization towards interculturality can overcome mental borders and act as mentors for others.
d. Demographic change and integration into the labour market:
As all developed European countries are facing a dramatic demographic change, we are all dependent on migration to mind the generation gap. Not only immigration high potentials has to be supported, but we need structures to support underprivileged migrant families to develop a sufficient HR structure for our industries demand in the future.
The goal of the federal government of Germany: to guarantee every child a place in a kindergarten, has led and will lead to a lack of qualified staff. Especially in this case, migrants will be a good resource for future working staff, but this includes also an improvement of qualification. Under the aspect of professional development the project opens a possibility to pedagogic staff to receive additional vocational training in a field which will become more important during the next decade.
Therefore migrants have a special need to gain access to formal and non-formal ways of education. In regards to this a program is needed to consider the specific cultural and communicative demands of the target group.
e. In metropolitan areas like Ruhrgebiet, Rhein-Main there are some MSO already running officially supported kindergartens.
In the big cities we find a lot of even multilingual offers, even for children with Russian language. (www.nezabudka.de ) Most of them developed a concept by themselfes in a way of trial and error and set them in action.
But especially in rural areas like Mecklenburg Vorpommern the number of migrants is rising. Municipalities are facing the change and are trying to adapt the program of the kindergartens.
A lot of programs for supporting this change are set up, financed from different sources like ESF, BAMF or BMFS. But to make the results sustainable, professional education and vocal training also has to adapted. Municipality decision makers have to adapt their attitude towards vocational education, policy and budget, sources have to be reallocated, and job profiles have to be adapted to the new situation. Also in initial training this new situation has to be recognized. Until now there is no structural training in this field.
By changing the program organisations face the following learning needs
I. Management of municipalities has the following learning needs:
- HR planning; particularly choice and criteria for trained staff with a migrant background, development of new job profiles
- Vocational education
- Further training of staff without migrant background, further qualification on different topics of bilingual pedagogics
- Get to know different concepts of bilingual preschool education programs
II. For head-staff of kindergartens:
- Get to know different concepts of bilingual preschool programs
- Development and take over of different didactics and methods of teaching
The project will also take some results of European financed projects and will develop further their results into a training course:
- LIGHT Project (Socrates project No.: 135824-LLP-1-2007-1-DE-KA2-KA2MP:
The project developed a model of using bilingual kindergartens for pre-school language education and integration of Russian-speaking teachers into the labour market. In the 5 participating countries set up a network for exchanging of examples of good practice.
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The project deals with neural development of acquisition of skills, especially language skills.
All projects had a pedagogic outcome, but none developed a basis for an education tool which refers to the learning needs of an organisation which is managing a change in program from monolingual to bi- or multilingual programs for the kindergartens and has to deal with a structural reengineering of professional and vocational training. Especially missing in all projects is a structured education module on this topic.
Analyse situation of bilingual teaching and learning in the countries of participants. Put them into a common European context.
defining working program for structuring and systematization of:
- Scientific research, especially acquisition of language, psychology and cognitive aspects of language learning from universities in Germany, Switzerland and Denmark
- Applied programs of Migrant Self Organisations: teaching culture (Italy), child parent programs (teaching parents how to develop language skills in the family), period of crossing over from preschool to school (Sweden)
- Systematic professional training (Denmark) and adjustment of working programs for kindergartens and impact on vocational training (Germany)
Working groups will conclude relevant and demand fulfilling approaches especially in Germany, Denmark, France and Italy for the target group.
- Extraction of relevant modules/content and choice of methods and procedures from the 3 working groups.
- Adjustment of methods and procedures for demands of the target group and countries
- Dissemination of results to:
a. Associated partners
b. Public, through conferences and publications and specialized magazines
Transfer and implementation of the results especially for the partners in Germany and Denmark as they are organisations for professional education. To ensure sustainability inclusion of associated partners will be educated and teaching material published.
The project will work out methods, tools and procedures which will improve the work of organisations dealing with bilingualism. The aim will be to meet new innovative and structured methods for working with bilinguals; the project will provide an in depth knowledge of methods to the users test implementation and dissemination strategies.
The project clearly affects the work of the participants:
- Universities: "access to life" as the combination of applied approaches and professional education will lead to another point of view of scientific research.
- Migrant Self Organisations: the project will lead to a professionalisation of this partner group. As through the project they gain access to to the "professional world" the volunteers and freelancers will be trained and gain experience in working with pedagogical professionals in the 1st labour market sector. Furthermore they will profit from know how that professional education providers have in structural development of organisations.
- Providers of professional education: will profit from the different approaches of other actors of education: they gain access to scientific research and applied programs as cultural education of migrants or child parent education programs
The project has a clear impact and addresses actual needs of the geographic region of Greifswald: As the partner organisation Amt für Jugend und Soziales Greifswald is currently changing working program of 4 kindergartens they will provide result testing which gives feedback to the working group. They will benefit from the results by having direct access for staff to be trained. Also the management level of Greifswald will profit as the project meets directly to the learning needs. The project will also have a direct impact on the professional and vocational education systems. Like in Germany, Austria and Switzerland approaches and results can be taken over in the practical part of the dual education or offered as a seminar.
To ensure sustainability of the results, they will be published in a way, that can easily be adapted to other languages (the nearest are other slavonic languages). The disseminations strategy will include activities to ensure the project can be continued and maintained for further development in the framework of the LLP using other actions like LdV mobility or programs like Comenius, so other people and organisation, not involved in the project, will profit.
Dissemination is seen as an integrative part of the project and we do not only want to exploit the results. It is set up in order to optimise the impact of the project. At the beginning dissemination plays an important role, even as there are no or only small results. Therefore report about supporting bilingualism will be published at the beginning. By publishing the result we want to start a discussion with multiplicators in every country, in order to raise interest in the project and receive feedback from external organisations.
Dissemination will be done during the whole project cycle and include:
- publication of websites
- production of brochures
- newspapers (local)
- journals (migrant press)
- specialized magazines
- internet forums
At a later stage of the project, it is planned to organise
- LdV mobilities
- Comenius bi- or multilateral partnerships
Another possibility is the use of regional programs (ESF, state programs). The project will be embedded in the local and regional networks of every participant. This will be done to ensure sustainability of the project.
The use of networks will be very important for disseminating results:
- IKaRuS e.V. has a network of more than 200 MSO in Germany.
- Municipality of Greifswald will report on the results at the state wide council of heads of departments in MV.
- Switzerland and Austria will use the results to set up a single professional education as part of their program.
Disseminating means in this early stage (first 3 -4 meetings) - to start a discussion within the community and external partners! By publishing result 1 we want to have a feedback from others, not officially included in the project. This helps us to get another point of view on our approaches and hopefully leads to adequate results and an optimised output. At the second stage of the project already proven results will be published. This will be done at internet sites, forums and by producing printed material. They will be sent by post to interested people and organisations. Also flyers will be distributed at conferences and other events.