Multilingualism and School Development in Transnational Educational Spaces. Insights from an Intervention Study at German Elementary Schools

In this contribution, I will first discuss the concept of 'transnational educational spaces' and point out some of the challenges for school development implied in this perspective on education. In the second part, I will present the ongoing research project “Multilingualism as a field of action in intercultural school development. An intervention study in primary schools” (MIKS-Projekt)[1]. In my outlook, I will delineate first field experiences in the context of the MIKS-project. The experiences demonstrate that school development, which takes into consideration migration-related multilingualism as a result of transnational processes, is still a project for the future in German schools because many schools have not even identified a need for this particular kind of development.

Transnational Educational Spaces

Transnational Social Spaces

The theoretical framework for the following discussion is a transnational research perspective that was developed within studies on migration in order to overcome the “methodological nationalism” (Wimmer and Glick Schiller 2002) of the social sciences. Whereas conventional migration research analyses the processes of social and political community formation within the borders of nation states without ever calling this focus into question, the transnational perspective is designed to transcend this conceptual frame. It allows, for instance, for exploration of the emergence of “transnational social spaces”: new contexts for social intertwining (Norbert Elias) which are “multi-local, but constitute, at the same time, a social space which is not merely transitory, which offers an important reference structure for social positions and positioning whilst also controlling the everyday life practice of people” and which “reaches beyond the social context of national societies” (Pries 1997, p. 34, t.f.G.[2]).

Initially, transnational migration research was mainly concerned with the situation of labour migrants who depended on transnational social networks because of the social and often legal discrimination they were exposed to in the metropolitan contexts in which they worked (Glick Schiller et al. 1992). By now, however, researchers agree that social integration and legal security of residence in the host society are factors which provide more freedom of action across national borders and thus may facilitate transnational social practices in many ways. Faist et al. (2013) describe the kind of social activities which promote the institutionalisation of transnational social spaces as follows: “the cross-border practices of migrants and non-migrants, individuals as well as groups and organizations, link up in social spaces criss-crossing national states (…)” (Faist et al. 2013, p. 2). Cases of transnational practice differ in terms of intensity and frequency, and the transnational practices employed may be analytically distinguished according to social domains: familial, socio-cultural, economical and political social practices (Faist et al. 2013, p. 27 ff.). Those transnational social practices that belong to the domain of 'education', however, have been rarely analysed in the context of migration studies.

  • [1] This project is located at the University of Münster and sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)) during the research period 2013–2016
  • [2] A number of quotations are “translated from (the original) German” (= t.f.G.)
< Zurück   INHALT   Weiter >