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Panel Discussion
The Possibilities of Multicultural and Multilingual Education System
Input by Matthias Colloseus
1. Some words on my perspective
2. On Integration
3. Language and participation in Germany
4. Appreciating multiculturalism within the educational system
(and society)
1. Some words on my perspective
• Working with the umbrella organisation for catholic day-care
centres within the German Caritas association (~8000 centres –
roughly 1/5th of the German day care system)
• Acceptance of children/families generally independent of
denominational affiliation.
• Heading a project on diversity and democratization, funded by
the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs and Youth
1.1
5.8
10.2
14.5 15.2
34.8
15.2
3.3
How many „family languages“ do the children in your
institution speak?
German-wide survey among educators, June 2018,
1.875 individual answers (answer in %)
1 (German) 2 53 4 6-10 more than 10 No answer
2. On Integration
 Assimilation
(Migrants @
Majority)
 Merging
 Coexistence
 Adaption (Majority
@ Migrants)
Preferences on living together in cultural diversity
in Eastern and Western Germany
On Integration
Integration can only be measured as same rights and means to participate.
(“Teilhabe” henceforth translated as participation.)
Obviously, society has to change to address the diversity of its members.
The education system has to become inclusive.
3. Language and participation in Germany
Facts
• Families know different languages and have different proficiency in German.
• Alternative/additional common languages exists in some regions/some
quarters of big cities.
Problems and solutions
• In terms of participation, there is no alternative to speak and write German
well.
 Educational institutions have to ensure the learning conditions (especially,
not exclusively, for families with different languages).
• There is obviously a hierarchy made between different foreign languages.
 Racism has to be addressed.
 Critical awareness on language as gatekeeping tool.
4. Appreciating multiculturalism within the educational system
To have the same participation needs two preconditions met:
• Same possibilities to develop capabilities (right to education)
• Anti-discrimination (right to protection)
• Educators and teachers have to continuously reflect on their own prejudices
and generalizations.
• Children are invited to reflect on justice and injustice, to have words and to
speak out on the latter (not to internalize depreciation).
• Families are invited to refer to their similarities, not to their differences.
• It is more important to point out the appreciation for everyone than
to know every language
What unites us in a multicultural community?
1. We are united knowing that we are different and to appreciate this diversity
as a fundamental (and interesting) fact of human existence.
2. We do not dwell on the idea that diversity makes our life complicated or our
work harder (especially not as educators).
3. We know culture to be an important aspect among these differences, but
we withstand any attempt to divide us in “us” and “them” along cultural
aspects.
4. We concentrate on similarities over differences, especially in conflict
situations.
5. We address injustice and discrimination.

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Matthias Colloseus: The Possibilities of Multicultural and Multilingual Education System

  • 1. Panel Discussion The Possibilities of Multicultural and Multilingual Education System Input by Matthias Colloseus
  • 2. 1. Some words on my perspective 2. On Integration 3. Language and participation in Germany 4. Appreciating multiculturalism within the educational system (and society)
  • 3. 1. Some words on my perspective • Working with the umbrella organisation for catholic day-care centres within the German Caritas association (~8000 centres – roughly 1/5th of the German day care system) • Acceptance of children/families generally independent of denominational affiliation. • Heading a project on diversity and democratization, funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs and Youth
  • 4. 1.1 5.8 10.2 14.5 15.2 34.8 15.2 3.3 How many „family languages“ do the children in your institution speak? German-wide survey among educators, June 2018, 1.875 individual answers (answer in %) 1 (German) 2 53 4 6-10 more than 10 No answer
  • 5. 2. On Integration  Assimilation (Migrants @ Majority)  Merging  Coexistence  Adaption (Majority @ Migrants) Preferences on living together in cultural diversity in Eastern and Western Germany
  • 6. On Integration Integration can only be measured as same rights and means to participate. (“Teilhabe” henceforth translated as participation.) Obviously, society has to change to address the diversity of its members. The education system has to become inclusive.
  • 7. 3. Language and participation in Germany Facts • Families know different languages and have different proficiency in German. • Alternative/additional common languages exists in some regions/some quarters of big cities. Problems and solutions • In terms of participation, there is no alternative to speak and write German well.  Educational institutions have to ensure the learning conditions (especially, not exclusively, for families with different languages). • There is obviously a hierarchy made between different foreign languages.  Racism has to be addressed.  Critical awareness on language as gatekeeping tool.
  • 8. 4. Appreciating multiculturalism within the educational system To have the same participation needs two preconditions met: • Same possibilities to develop capabilities (right to education) • Anti-discrimination (right to protection) • Educators and teachers have to continuously reflect on their own prejudices and generalizations. • Children are invited to reflect on justice and injustice, to have words and to speak out on the latter (not to internalize depreciation). • Families are invited to refer to their similarities, not to their differences. • It is more important to point out the appreciation for everyone than to know every language
  • 9. What unites us in a multicultural community? 1. We are united knowing that we are different and to appreciate this diversity as a fundamental (and interesting) fact of human existence. 2. We do not dwell on the idea that diversity makes our life complicated or our work harder (especially not as educators). 3. We know culture to be an important aspect among these differences, but we withstand any attempt to divide us in “us” and “them” along cultural aspects. 4. We concentrate on similarities over differences, especially in conflict situations. 5. We address injustice and discrimination.