Successful school trajectories of immigrant students
Perchinig, B. Institute for Research on Qualifications and Training of the Austrian Economy (14 June 2012)
The Institute for Research on Qualifications and Training of the Austrian Economy conducted a study exploring the factors that contribute to successful school trajectories for immigrant students. 9 experts were interviewed and 5 group discussions with 34 immigrant students were conducted. The experts and students pointed to the fact that the family is the most important resource for school success, although parents often do not know the inner workings of the Austrian school system. For instance, immigrant families mostly cannot understand that the Austrian education system presupposes the contribution and participation of parents. Furthermore, the interviews and discussions revealed that a liberal educational style is more supportive than an authoritative one and that male students saw high truancy as the first step in dropping out of school. In general, though, students highly identified themselves with Austria and considered their chances and possibilities in the country as very good. To improve immigrant education, the study’s author recommends to more work with parents, individual coaching with students, measures against school absenteeism, and gender-sensitive pedagogy.
Multilingualism as a resource at school
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.
Language training program to be extended
The Ministry of Education (25 May 2012)
Since the 2006-2007 school year, students with a first language other than German have participated in language training courses at school. These courses have been offered to groups of more than eight (8) students for eleven (11) hours per week. For this purpose, the Government has provided 440 posts, equivalent to 9,500 hours of work and costing €23.9 million (approx. $30 million). Because evaluations have indicated the program’s positive impact, the Austrian government will invest a further €47.8 million (approx. $60 million) in the project up to 2014.