„Drei Sprachen sind mehr als zwei“

Alexandra Wojnesitz

„Drei Sprachen sind mehr als zwei“

Mehrsprachigkeit an Wiener Gymnasien im Kontext von Migration

2010,  Mehrsprachigkeit / Multilingualism,  Band 29,  244  Seiten,  E-Book (PDF),  22,40 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-7411-6

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Mehr als 25 % der Schüler/innen an Wiener Gymnasien haben einen Migrationshintergrund, in ihren Klassen treffen nicht selten die Sprecher/innen von zehn und mehr Muttersprachen zusammen. Doch wie geht die traditionell auf Homogenität bedachte Institution Schule mit dieser Mehrsprachigkeit um und wie wird sie von Schüler/inne/n und Lehrenden gesehen? Was hat ein gelungener Zweitspracherwerb mit guten Kenntnissen der Erstsprache zu tun? Und wie wirkt sich ein der Interkulturalität aufgeschlossenes Schulklima auf die Integration aus?

Dieses Buch, das Fragen der Mehrsprachigkeit und Migration in der Schule wissenschaftlich, pädagogisch und empirisch zu beantworten versucht, richtet sich gleichermaßen an Wissenschaftler/innen, Lehrende und Studierende.


Summary

This book deals with linguistic awareness and attitudes towards multilingualism in Viennese academic high schools/grammar schools1 in the context of migration.

The increasing number of immigrant students in these urban schools together with the rise of multilingualism, makes the relevance of an in-depth study of this phenomenon indisputable. In the academic year of 2008/09 26,4 %2 of students at Viennese grammar schools/academic high schools did not have German as a mother tongue. In the survey carried out for this book most of the teenagers with a non- German mother-tongue questioned spoke (in descending order) Serbian, Turkish, Polish, Bosnian and Albanian at home which is representative of immigrant groups in Vienna.

This book focuses on the multilingualism of (immigrant) students, teachers and headmasters, their attitudes towards the multitude of spoken languages in their schools and the supposed advantages and disadvantages of the fact that many languages are used. They were also asked to expose their feeling of geographic belonging (their »identity«) and to state in which language(s) they intend to talk to their eventual children later. Other questions were about multilingualism as a topic in school lessons and the identity politics of the school towards the public.
Regarding methodology, the following concepts and ideas served as guidelines in my research: on the linguistic side, the discussion of the concepts of bi- and multilingualism, the relevance of the mother tongue during the process of second language learning and some hypotheses concerning linguistic difficulties for immigrant students. The chapter about migration is dedicated to historical processes and sociological facts of immigration in Austria. The next step was to take a critical look at the still existing «habitus of monolinguality»4 in the school system and the role of the individual school in discriminating against children with a non-German mother tongue.

The empirical study was carried out in four Viennese high schools with a relatively high proportion of students with non-German mother tongues; the pupils of a 6th form (16-year-old), their teachers and the headmasters of these schools took part in this study. Altogether 86 questionnaires from students and 32 from teachers as well as 30 interviews were evaluated (17 with pupils, nine with teachers and four with the headmasters). Observation in the field, informal conversations and the analysis of homepages completed the picture of the data collected by questionnaires and interviews.

The most important results of the study are listed below:

• Immigrant students speak more languages on average than their teachers and fellow pupils whose mother tongue is German.
• Most of the immigrant students refer to themselves as being multilingual whereas only about 30 % of the pupils with German mother tongue identify with plurilingualism.
• To pupils with an immigrant background, their multilingualism is more important than to their teachers and fellow pupils with German as a mothertongue.
• (Immigrant) Students concentrate on the advantages of multilingualism whereas their teachers focus on their problems with the German language.
• Many immigrant students suffer from the bad image their mother-tongues have at their schools, as they assume.
• Most teachers feel disturbed by the use of the family languages of their pupils which they do not understand. • Students with non-German family languages mainly identify with their country of origin whereas for the teachers and pupils with German as a mother-tongue the national identification (for the latter together with the local identity, in this case the city of Vienna) proves to be important.
• Most of the immigrant students would wish to integrate their mother tongues into the education of their own children.
• Students with a non-German mother tongue consider it important to discuss the topic of multilingualism in school, whereas the majority of teachers don’t invest much time in intercultural issues.
• Multilingualism is hidden from the public by the school in order to avoid supposed negative reactions from parents.
• A positive democratic school atmosphere open to multilingualism in which different languages and cultures are accepted and where everybody can talk freely about this issue helps immigrant students to develop their potentials and maintain their motivation because they feel accepted.

The main aim of this study is to point out that it is integral to create a school climate which is open to different languages and cultures for the (linguistic) integration of pupils who do not have German as a mother tongue.


Summary

This book deals with linguistic awareness and attitudes towards multilingualism in Viennese academic high schools/grammar schools1 in the context of migration.

The increasing number of immigrant students in these urban schools together with the rise of multilingualism, makes the relevance of an in-depth study of this phenomenon indisputable. In the academic year of 2008/09 26,4 %2 of students at Viennese grammar schools/academic high schools did not have German as a mother tongue. In the survey carried out for this book most of the teenagers with a non- German mother-tongue questioned spoke (in descending order) Serbian, Turkish, Polish, Bosnian and Albanian at home which is representative of immigrant groups in Vienna.

This book focuses on the multilingualism of (immigrant) students, teachers and headmasters, their attitudes towards the multitude of spoken languages in their schools and the supposed advantages and disadvantages of the fact that many languages are used. They were also asked to expose their feeling of geographic belonging (their »identity«) and to state in which language(s) they intend to talk to their eventual children later. Other questions were about multilingualism as a topic in school lessons and the identity politics of the school towards the public.
Regarding methodology, the following concepts and ideas served as guidelines in my research: on the linguistic side, the discussion of the concepts of bi- and multilingualism, the relevance of the mother tongue during the process of second language learning and some hypotheses concerning linguistic difficulties for immigrant students. The chapter about migration is dedicated to historical processes and sociological facts of immigration in Austria. The next step was to take a critical look at the still existing «habitus of monolinguality»4 in the school system and the role of the individual school in discriminating against children with a non-German mother tongue.

The empirical study was carried out in four Viennese high schools with a relatively high proportion of students with non-German mother tongues; the pupils of a 6th form (16-year-old), their teachers and the headmasters of these schools took part in this study. Altogether 86 questionnaires from students and 32 from teachers as well as 30 interviews were evaluated (17 with pupils, nine with teachers and four with the headmasters). Observation in the field, informal conversations and the analysis of homepages completed the picture of the data collected by questionnaires and interviews.

The most important results of the study are listed below:

• Immigrant students speak more languages on average than their teachers and fellow pupils whose mother tongue is German.
• Most of the immigrant students refer to themselves as being multilingual whereas only about 30 % of the pupils with German mother tongue identify with plurilingualism.
• To pupils with an immigrant background, their multilingualism is more important than to their teachers and fellow pupils with German as a mothertongue.
• (Immigrant) Students concentrate on the advantages of multilingualism whereas their teachers focus on their problems with the German language.
• Many immigrant students suffer from the bad image their mother-tongues have at their schools, as they assume.
• Most teachers feel disturbed by the use of the family languages of their pupils which they do not understand. • Students with non-German family languages mainly identify with their country of origin whereas for the teachers and pupils with German as a mother-tongue the national identification (for the latter together with the local identity, in this case the city of Vienna) proves to be important.
• Most of the immigrant students would wish to integrate their mother tongues into the education of their own children.
• Students with a non-German mother tongue consider it important to discuss the topic of multilingualism in school, whereas the majority of teachers don’t invest much time in intercultural issues.
• Multilingualism is hidden from the public by the school in order to avoid supposed negative reactions from parents.
• A positive democratic school atmosphere open to multilingualism in which different languages and cultures are accepted and where everybody can talk freely about this issue helps immigrant students to develop their potentials and maintain their motivation because they feel accepted.

The main aim of this study is to point out that it is integral to create a school climate which is open to different languages and cultures for the (linguistic) integration of pupils who do not have German as a mother tongue.