|Özet||Literacy acquisition is one of the primary goals of school education, and usually it takes place in the national language of the respective country. At the same time, schools accommodate pupils with different home languages who might or might not be fluent in the national language and who start from other linguistic backgrounds in their acquisition of literacy. While it is safe to say that schools with a monolingual policy are not prepared to deal with the factual multilingualism in their classrooms in a systematic way, bilingual pupils have to deal with it nonetheless.
The interdisciplinary and comparative research project “Literacy Acquisition in Schools in the Context of Migration and Multilingualism” (LAS) investigated the practical processes of literacy acquisition in two countries, Germany and Turkey, where the monolingual orientation of schools is as much a reality as are the multilingual backgrounds of many of their pupils. The basic assumption was that pupils cope with the ways they are engaged by the school – both socially and academically – based on their cultural and linguistic repertoires acquired biographically, providing them with more or less productive options regarding the acquisition of literary skills. By comparing the literary development of bilingual children with that of their monolingual classmates throughout one school year in the first and the seventh grade in Germany and Turkey, respectively, we found out that the restricting potential of multilingualism is located rather on the part of the schools than on the part of the pupils. While the individual bilingual pupil almost naturally uses his/her home language as a resource for literacy acquisition in the school language, schools still tend to regard the multilingual backgrounds of their pupils as irrelevant or even as an impediment to adequate schooling. We argue that by ignoring or even suppressing the specific linguistic potentials of bilingualism, bilingual pupils are put at a structural disadvantage.
This research report is the slightly revised but full version of the final study project report from 2011 that was until now not available as a quotable publication. While several years have passed since the primary research was finalized, the addressed issues have lost none of their relevance. The report is accompanied by numerous publications in the frame of the LAS project, as well as by a web page (https://www.uni-potsdam.de/de/daf/projekte/las), which also contains the presentations from the final LAS-Conference, including valuable discussions of the report from renowed experts in the field.|