Can two-way immersion education support the EU aims of multilingualism, social cohesion and student/worker mobility?

Gabriela Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For decades, the EU has promoted multilingualism and geographic mobility. This concentrated on official EU languages, and later also on regional and less-used languages, but migrant languageshave largely been kept off the EU agenda. There has been a change in the last few years, and the EU has widened its language agenda, in some instances explicitly including migrant languages. Furthermore, the plight of migrant communities and social cohesion issues have also attracted attention in the EU. In practice, schools largely adhere to the monolingual habitus, expecting all children to speak the same language. This practice has shown to disadvantage children who speak a language other than the language of instruction at school entry. This paper discusses two-way immersion education that uses two languages to teach majority- and migrant-language speakers together in one class, where they can develop both languages to high levels of proficiency by learning with and from each other. Based on evidence from North America and Germany, this paper evaluates this school model in terms of its capacity to meet three aims formulated by the EU: personal and societal multilingualism; geographic mobility; and social integration. It concludes that two-way immersion education may be an appropriate European model to support relevant EU policy developments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-164
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Language Policy
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

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