Austria

Multilingualism as a resource at school (in German)
Leonhartsberger, S.  Orf  (28 June 2012)

24 percent of Austrian students in primary school have a first language other than German.  In Vienna, an even greater number (53 percent) have a first language other than German.  Most of these students speak Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Turkish, Albanian, Chechen, Russian, or Arabic.  Despite the increase in German as a second language students, a recent study reveals that teachers still consider the German language as their main focus in class.  According to Barbara Buchholz, author of the study, only 42 percent of the teachers said that they think that multilingual education is reasonable and necessary. However, teachers are left alone with the multilingual challenge in class and they have never learned how to deal with 15 languages in one classroom, says linguist Hans-Jürgen Krumm.  “The majority [of teachers] cannot cope,” according to Krumm.  In addition, others criticize the short period in which students learn in their native language, with the primary focus instead being on German as a second language.

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