The monolingual orientation of most education systems linked to the longstanding tradition of language compartmentalization have led to a reduced use of multiple languages simultaneously in mainstream education. In addition, while foreign languages of high prestige take the lead in most European classrooms and curricula, migrant and minority languages are still sparsely used in education. Our call intends to bring together European expertise on the resources and challenges of including multiple languages in mainstream education. 


While the European discourse on both societal and individual multilingualism is a highly favourable one – the aim being that all European citizens are able to communicate in at least two languages other than their mother tongue (the three language formula) – reality shows that those who are socialized in more than one language, such as immigrant or regional minorities, are often achieving the lowest in European school systems. Educational institutions, thus become prototype settings where linguistic encounters frequently occur. Classrooms are as such a rich field for research on multilingualism and therefore for interventions that aim at an educationally and socially constructive and profitable way of engaging with linguistic and cultural diversity.

Since the insistence on monolingual language policies and on additional support measures focussing on the language of instruction only have not yielded the expected results in closing the achievement gap in educational attainment (Gogolin, Dirim et al. 2011), a discussion on the role and use of immigrant and minority languages for teaching and learning seems an imperative. In fact, not only recent research on strong bi- and trilingual school models has offered evidence for the potentials of using multilingualism for raising academic achievement (Beetsma 2002; Thomas and Collier 2002; Rolstad, Mahoney et al. 2005; Francis, Lesaux et al. 2006; Duarte 2011; Duarte, Gogolin et al. 2013), but also mainstream schools using multilingualism as a resource for learning have yielded positive academic results of both multi- and monolingual pupils (Gogolin and Neumann 1997; Dirim 1998; Rolff 2006; Creese and Blackledge 2010; Bourne 2013). Research results in this context, however, remain (thus far) limited; they focus mainly on primary schools or on complementary school forms, and have seldom included control groups and do not investigate sustainability of results. Furthermore, they predominantly rely on ethnographic methods or case-studies thus falling short of proposing a generalised and empirically-examined didactical approach towards multilingualism (for a broader review of research gaps see Bührig and Duarte 2013).

In line with the general conference theme for ECER 2018 (“Inclusion and Exclusion - Resources for Educational Research?”), we invite participants to submit symposia, research workshops, round tables individual papers, video presentations, posters and/or Pecha Kuchas offering different models and empirical evidence for the inclusion of multiple languages in mainstream education, from pre-school to tertiary levels. Examples of possible thematic areas are CLIL, translanguaging, plurilingual curricula, language awareness, intercomprehension, etc. We are interested in all the aspects related to including multiple languages in mainstream education. Please indicate in your proposal that you are submitting to this network specific call. 

Contact person(s)

Joana Duarte (J.duarte@rug.nl) 


Beetsma, D. (2002). Trilingual Primary Education in Europe. Inventory of the provisions for trilingual primary education in minority languages communities of the European Union. Leeuwarden, Fryske Akademy.

Bourne, J. (2013). 'I know he can do better than that': Strategies for teaching and learning in successful multi-ethnic schools. Herausforderung Bildungssprache - und wie man sie meistert. I. Gogolin, I. Lange, U. Michel and H. H. Reich. Münster, Waxmann: 42-54.

Bührig, K. and J. Duarte (2013). "Zur Rolle lebensweltlicher Mehrsprachigkeit für das Lernen im Fachunterricht - ein Beispie aus einer Videostudie der Sekundarstufe II." Zeitschrift für Gruppendynamik und Organisationsberatung 44: 245-27

Creese, A. and A. Blackledge (2010). "Translanguaging in the bilingual classroom: a pedagogy for learning and teaching?" The Modern Language Journal 94(1): 103-115.

Dirim, I. (1998). "Var mı lan Marmelade?" - Türkisch-deutscher Sprachkontakt in einer Grundschulklasse. Münster, Waxmann.

Duarte, J. (2011). Bilingual language proficiency. A comparative study. Münster, Waxmann Verlag.     

Duarte, J., I. Gogolin, et al. (2013). "Sprachliche Interaktion im Unterricht - erste Ergebnisse der LiViS-Videostudie." OBST - Osnabrücker beiträge zur Sprachtheorie 83(Mehrsprachigkeit in der Schule: Konzepte und Erfahrungen): 79-94.            

Francis, D. J., N. Lesaux, et al. (2006). Language of instruction. Developing literacy in second-language learners: Report of theNational Literacy Panel on language-minority children and youth. D. August and T. Shanahan. Mahwah, NJ, Erlbaum: 365-413.

Gogolin, I., I. Dirim, et al. (2011). Förderung von  Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Migrationshintergrund FÖRMIG - Bilanz und Perspektiven eines Modellprogramms. Münster/ New York Waxmann-Verlag.

Gogolin, I. and U. Neumann, Eds. (1997). Großstadt-Grundschule. Sprachliche und kulturelle Pluralität als Bedingung der Grundschularbeit. Münster u.a., Waxmann.

Rolstad, K., K. Mahoney, et al. (2005). "The big picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness research on English language learners." Review of Educational Research 75: 247-284.

Rolff, H.-G. (2006). "Qualität in multikulturellen Schulen (QUIMS). Schulentwicklung mit System und im System. Eine evaluative Würdigung des QUIMS-Projektes." Retrieved 01.09.2017, from www.volksschulamt.zh.ch.

Thomas, W. and V. Collier (2002). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students' long-term academic achievement. Santa Cruz, CA, University of California at Santa Cruz, Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence.

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  • educational linguistics,
  • literacy research,
  • language acquisition,
  • language assessment,
  • second and foreign language research,
  • multilingualism