The linguistic and educational integration of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds
The political framework
From the perspective of social inclusion and social cohesion, the integration and education of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds are among the most urgent challenges facing Council of Europe member states – challenges which can take more than one form.
On a political level, both the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe formulated Recommendations which can be useful for educational authorities to guide their decisions.
Extracts of Council of Europe official texts (Committee of Ministers, Parliamentary Assembly, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities): Education of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds
A plurilingual and intercultural perspective
The Language Policy Programme’s work on the linguistic and educational integration of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds is to be considered in the perspective of plurilingual and intercultural education. It emphasises respect for the plural identities of migrant learners and considers their plurilingual and pluricultural repertoires as an asset. As the White Paper on intercultural dialogue of the Council of Europe points out, integration is a two-way process and the presence of migrant learners in schools should bring benefits to the native-born population in the form of new linguistic and cultural understanding.
The importance of competences in the language(s) of schooling
Most children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds do not speak the language of schooling at home and need help to acquire it. They often make rapid progress in developing informal conversational skills, but usually take much longer to master the academic language used in the different school subjects.
In order to provide successful schooling for all learners, it is necessary to take into consideration the whole school programme and the linguistic competences expected of learners in all school subjects. This is a matter for the educational authorities as well as for teachers and schools. Success in mathematics, science, history or any other subject depends to a large extent on developing “academic” competences in the language of schooling.
The resources that the Council of Europe has developed to address this challenge can also be used to meet the needs of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds.
Resources to support the linguistic and educational integration of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds