THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The project „Mehrsprachigkeit - Gegenwart und Zukunft des vereinten Europas / Plurilingualism - The Present and Future of a United Europe” is a result of the experience of many years of teaching children with another mothertongue than German. Twenty years ago teaching in another language except German and English was unconceivable. It could happen only as a private matter between the teacher of the respective language, the pupil and his/her parents.The lack of interest of the school and of the parents towards teaching in the pupils’ mothertongue had negative effects on them, such as poorer knowledge of German. As a result these pupils had poorer results in general.The cause for poor results of pupils with migration background was considered to lie within their family for many years.
The coordinator of the project could notice that during the afternoon classes children who had spent a relatively short time in school but had good knowledge of B/K/S, could better understand maths lessons than children that could not speak their mothertongue in the Cooperative School/ Kooperative Mittelschule, Koppstraße im 16. Wiener Gemeindebezirk, among 90% of the pupils who have another mothertongue than German
The next stage was to integrate teaching in the mothertongue in the Cooperative School in order to obtain better results in teaching in German. The coordinator had good results by introducing this method.Teachers who have stayed in contact with pupils even after four years since they left school could see that most of the pupils, who had three hours of teaching in their mothertongue per week continued and graduated from further schools.
This encouraged Ms Bosanac in her teaching to look for other ways of using the pupils’ mothertongue in order to strengthen their linguistic confidence.
The next step was to build bilingual classes and though carefully planned this could have led to separation within the school. The school management was cautious and approved the experiment as an individual attempt. In this class, where almost all pupils could speak B/C/S consistent teaching in the pupils’ mothertongue could take place thus fighting against linguistic racism. A good basis for cooperation with another language (German or English) is literature. To choose certain topics and then to read and interpret certain bookchapters in two languages arose enthusiasm among pupils. This method proved to be effective in the last year of the project, and in the 4th school year. For three years bilingual teaching was used intensivly and consistently for integrating pupils who have another mothertongue than German.
The great success of the method was the poduction of the multilingual play "Captive between Dream and Reality". The topic of play was dedicated to the parents and their war experiences in former Jugoslavia and was a celebration of youth and love in different languages (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Turkish, Russian, Spanish).
The texts of the play were partially translated from B/C/S into German by the pupils of the bilingual class. They also helped the other pupils of the school through the play.
Parents, teachers and other spectators were impressed by the courage and confidence demonstrated by pupils achieved through their multilingual directed learning. This attempt has become a milestone in the functioning of NMS (Neue Mittelschule), through literature, teaching drama, individual development, multilingualism.
Prejudices against languages other than German and English should be fought against and Mrs Bosanac by applying for ELL gained confidence and courage to have contributed to a certain extent to linguistic justice in her field of activity. In a tolerant and peaceful Europe less spoken languages such as Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian) should have their importance and literary works within EU can contribute it. Through translated books interest in the original language will also grow.
Her endeavour was to attract attention for "less known cultures" and to make her pupils aware that they are an important part of the European family. By learning an ’important’ language does not mean to give up your own language.
The award of the ELL stired the teachers’ interest for the bilingual class
"German- B/C/S Klasse" and later on Mrs Bosanac was visited by staff from Vienna University; they wanted to see how the bilingual class functions.
Mrs Bosanac tried to implement this initiative partially and in different subjects in the third forms.Through exchange of pupils with the school in Okucani the attemt is made to introduce bilingual teaching (German and Croatian) in Croatia.
Language is a means of communication, but in order to learn a language it is important to relate it to literature. Through literature Mrs Bosanac fostered tolerance among children, whose parents still suffer from wounds of the war in former Jugoslavia.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the project ”Mehrsprachigkeit - Gegenwart und Zukunft des vereinten Europas / Plurilingualism - The Present and Future of a United Europe” for its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning.
In particular, the ”Mehrsprachigkeit - Gegenwart und Zukunft des vereinten Europas / Plurilingualism - The Present and Future of a United Europe” project has been chosen because of its consistency with the following priorities:
- Encourage the learning of less spoken languages besides the main ones through mobilitaty
- Promotion of multilingualism and multiculturality
- Evaluation of the pupils’ performance through artistic methods, which can motivate them
- Source of inspiration for other similar initiatives in other countries
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