Box "Regional, minority and migration languages"

Education and Languages, Language Policy

Contents of this section:
Regional, minority and migration languages

This text provides a brief introduction to the part of the Platform that deals with the languages of minorities and of migrants in education systems. The term regional or minority languages is used to refer to indigenous languages traditionally used by a minority group over a long period within a country, to non-territorial languages (e.g. Romani) and sign languages. Migrant languages is used to refer to the mother tongues of migrant children, in which they may have varying degrees of proficiency depending on the extent of use and support for these languages.

Word version
Language and school subjects - Linguistic dimensions of knowledge building in school curricula Related studies available in "Language(s) in other subjects’ on this Platform"

The purpose of this text is to suggest a general approach enabling different levels of specification of these language dimensions to be classed in transversal descriptive categories. The aim is to describe the process leading from units for analysis of actual uses to the identification of linguistic forms and mechanisms appropriate to those uses. It is aimed not only at the authors of curricula and textbooks and the designers of tests, but also at teachers, and especially teachers of subjects sometimes quite wrongly described as “non-linguistic”, to draw their attention to the language components of work in their subject. It is also relevant to teacher trainers, particularly those responsible for the teaching of disciplines other than languages taught as a subject.

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Italian Version

Lingua e discipline scolastiche – Dimensioni linguistiche nella costruzione delle conoscenze nei curricoli

Version pdf
Languages of schooling: focusing on vulnerable learners

In order to achieve educational success pupils from migrant backgrounds must be more than conversationally fluent in the language of schooling: they must also master the varieties of academic language that constitute the fabric of the different curriculum subjects. Because knowledge is virtually inseparable from the language that embodies it, the project “Languages in Education – Languages for Education” takes the view that all teachers must be language teachers in the sense that they are aware of the specific language demands of their subject(s). This study suggests some of the ways in which this challenge can be met

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Language diagnostics in multilingual settings with respect to continuous procedures as accompaniment of individualized learning and teaching.

This study provides an introduction to language diagnostics in multilingual educational settings, with particular reference to the needs of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds. It summarises the objectives and functions of language diagnostics and the principles that govern diagnostics, including formative assessment, as an integral part of continuous language education that emphasises individualised teaching and learning. From a theoretical perspective diagnostic procedures in multilingual settings treat language learning as a socio-cultural activity.

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Contents (extract)
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Language diagnostics in linguistically and culturally diverse educational settings
  • 3. Examples of diagnostic tools and procedures
  • 4. Implementation strategies – some examples
  • Conclusion
  • References
Version italienne

La valutazione diagnostica delle competenze linguistiche in un contesto multilingue: un processo continuo che favorisce l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento individualizzato

Version pdf
Cooperation, management and networking: effective ways to promote the linguistic and educational integration of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds

In contemporary schools, linguistic diversity is a common feature and should be the starting point for the educational activities of educators and teachers. Immigrant minority children usually live bi- or multilingual lives in the host country and bring a multitude of languages and language competences to their educational institutions. This study focuses on ways in which the linguistic integration of bi- and multilingual children and young people can be designed successfully through collaboration among pupils, parents, teachers and other educational experts as well as between schools and other institutions.

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Conventions and Recommendations

European Charter for Regional and Minority languages
Hearing with the Language Policy Division (2006): "The Committee of Experts' interpretation and evaluation practice concerning the implementation of Articles on Education of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages"

Protection of National Minorities
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities see in particular "Commentary n° 1: Education..."

Languages of schooling
Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)5 to member States on the importance of competences in the language(s) of schooling for equity and quality in education and for educational success. Explanatory Memorandum (available in Italian)

Quality education
Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)13E to member States on ensuring quality education

Mother tongue
Recommendation on the place of the mother tongue in school education: Recommendation 1740 (2006) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

Children of Migrants
Recommendation on strengthening the integration of children of migrants and of immigrant background: Recommendation CM/Rec (2008)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states

Compilation (extracts) of Council of Europe official texts
Extracts from Council of Europe Conventions and Recommendations / Resolutions by the Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly

European Social Charter (revised), 1996

Selected Reports and Publications

See also: List of Publications of the Language Policy Division

Language Policy  Tools and Activities
Curricula (contributions from member states)
Norway: Curriculum for mother tongue teaching for language minorities [translated from Norwegian into English]
Other bodies & Useful links
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