It 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.
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.