Reconstructing language policy in urban education: the Essen model of Förderunterricht

Martina Möllering*, Claudia Benholz, Gülsah Mavruk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This contribution traces the development of an educational support program (Förderunterricht) for immigrant children in the German Ruhr area, a region that has traditionally been strongly impacted by different waves of immigration. The program has grown out of what was originally a small-scale application of research results of a study on the bilingualism of immigrant children at the University of Essen. Following the premise that the bilingual competencies migrant children bring to the classroom can be an asset rather than a hindrance, migrant languages (Turkish and Greek) were established as an optional component in the undergraduate curriculum for trainee teachers at the university at the same time that a program of supporting classes for migrant children attending secondary schools was being established. Through bottom-up agency, the creators of the program were able to involve migrant communities, local schools, local politicians, the local university, and different funding bodies to set up a project that sees migrant children in the secondary-school sector mentored by trainee teachers, many with an immigrant background, and bring their bi- or multilingual competence to the task. This paper explores the project's impact and relates the findings to language policy developments in Germany more generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-311
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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