Author(s):Sven Sierens, Griet Ramaut, Koen Van Gorp, Joana Duarte (presenting), Ingrid Gogolin (presenting), Anoukt Van Der Wildt (presenting), Mieke Van Houtte, Piet Van Avermaet (presenting), Adelheid Hu (presenting), Francine Uwera (presenting)

Conference:ECER 2013, Creativity and Innovation in Educational Research

Network:99. Central Events


Session Information

99 SES 04 B, Multilingualism in the Mainstream Classroom as a Means to Enhancing Creativity and Inovation in Education - Enxamples from Video Studies

Inaugural Symposium of new EERA Network


Room:DCONF - Conference Hall

Chair/Discussant:Joana da Silveira Duarte/ Ingrid Gogolin


Multilingualism in the Mainstream Classroom as a Means to Enhancing Creativity and Innovation in Education - Examples from Video Studies

Due to new forms of migration, the diversity of cultural heritages and languages spoken in European schools has multiplied in the last two decades. Although at the European rhetoric’s level, there is an official celebration of (migration-induced) multilingualism, as well as several initiatives to promote its active use within the mainstream classrooms, current research shows that it seems to function as a risk factor for children and youth rather than a viable resource. International comparative monitoring studies of education systems show that migrant pupils in Europe are on average less successful than their resident peers. This is particularly true in the three European sites chosen for the symposium – Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. Here, the achievement gap between pupils with and without a migrant background is exceptionally large, despite of considerable investments in their accommodation of respective mainstream educational systems.

With respect to education we assume that the positive potential of diversity can successfully be unfolded (and possible constraints be reduced) when multilingualism is explicitly addressed and included in instructional settings. Furthermore, we suppose that this is effective, not only in providing a more positive and motivating learning atmosphere, but also in leading to larger learning effects. It is probable that these effects do not only occur in language teaching as a subject, but also in other relevant areas of the curriculum. Such assumptions are supported by findings on cognitive advantages of multilingual speakers, in particular, meta-linguistic knowledge and executive control (Bialystok 2009; Adesope, Lavin, Thomson & Ungerleider 2010). These cognitive benefits are excellent general prerequisites for complex learning tasks. Thus, they should also be useful docking points for a successful and productive use of multilingualism within the mainstream classroom. However, and despite these research findings, migration-induced linguistic and cultural diversity is still often perceived as a threat to the linguistic self-understanding (Gogolin 1994) of most European nation-states.

The acknowledgement and active use of multilingualism in the mainstream classroom has, however, been rather under-researched, in particular regarding subject-matter classes of older pupils (after primary education). Previous findings suggest that allowing and promoting multilingual practices in the mainstream classroom leads to greater engagement of migrant pupils, better understanding of contents, as well as to a general acknowledgement of multilingualism as a resource for learning (Gogolin / Neumann 1997, Blair / Bourne 1998; Schütte 2009).

In our symposium we thus address the issue of the acknowledgement of migration-induced multilingualism as a resource for the learning in the mainstream classroom, as well as of its active use in and for teaching and learning, both at school as well as the university.

Author Information

Sven Sierens

University of Gent

Griet Ramaut

Centre for Language and Education, KU Leuven

Koen Van Gorp

Centre for Language and Education (KU Leuven)


Joana Duarte (presenting)

University of Hamburg

Ingrid Gogolin (presenting)

University of Hamburg

School of Education, Psychology and Human Movement; Section General, International Comparative and Intercultural Education; Institute for International Comparative and Intercultural Education


Anoukt Van Der Wildt (presenting)

Ghent University

Sociology - CuDOS research group


Mieke Van Houtte

University of Gent

Piet Van Avermaet (presenting)

Ghent University (Centre for Diversity & Learning)



Adelheid Hu (presenting)

University of Luxembourg

Francine Uwera (presenting)

University of Luxembourg

Educational Science


Programme Planner

There are currently no papers in your conference planner.
Maybe you have not used the planner before, or you did not create a user account for storing the papers you highlighted.

It is necessary to have a user account for keeping the list of papers you are interested in.
Please log in on the right hand side or create an account if you don't yet have one.