The Ignored Potentials of Albanian Speaking Minority Children in Swiss Schools: Determinative Context Factors for School Success and the Impact of Teacher's Assessments

Dr. Andrea U. Haenni Hoti,
Prof. Dr. Basil Schader
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Linguistic diversity at school has become a reality in European migration countries. The Swiss state has always counted four official languages (German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic), but paradoxically, the Swiss idea of multiculturalism doesn't necessarily include immigrants. The "monolingual habit" still seems to be the dominating concept that shapes every day practice at school according to the dominating language in each region. The consequence is, that the cultural and linguistic potential of children with a bicultural background remains undiscovered, develops more or less accidentally or is even seen and treated by teachers and school officials as a deficit as far as the first language is concerned. Immigrant children are significantly more often sent into special classes, which limit their chances for higher education.

This study is the first one to pay attention to the specific situation of Albanian schoolchildren, who entered the Swiss school system in increasing numbers in the 90ies during the wars in the Balkans. With our research, we found out more about the linguistic competences of Albanian speaking children living in a diaspora in the Swiss-German part, taking into account the characteristics of the Albanian language (the use of dialect vs. standard language) and their bicultural background (the use of Albanian vs. Geman). In our presentation we emphasize the results concerning the question of school success and the crucial factors we identified (n=1084; school classes: 5.-10.): In secondary school, the teacher's rating regarding the potential school achievement of the child was most likely to be predicted by his or her own judgement concerning the psychological and social situation of the child. This factor was more important than the social class or literacy of the parents. These and other findings will be discussed within the theoretical framework of the Pygmalion-effect and the self-fulfilling-prophecy-approach.

Keywords: Minority children, Cultural diversity, School system, Teacher's assessment, Pygmalion-effect
Stream: Community, Culture, Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Ignored Potential of Albanian-Speaking Minority Children in Swiss Schools, The

Dr. Andrea U. Haenni Hoti

Scientific associate, University for Teacher Education, Lucerne

1998 Lic. phil (MA) in Social Work, Education and Law, University of Freiburg (CH); 1998-2002: Scientific assistant and lecturer at the Department of Education, University of Freiburg (CH); scientific associate in the Swiss survey of the cross-national IEA Civic Education Study (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement; 2002-2003: Invited visitor at the Department for International and Transcultural Studies, Teachers College and Columbia University New York (USA); Since 2004: Scientific associate at the College for Teacher Education in Lucerne (CH), research cooperation with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (CH). Member of AERA (American Educational Research Association) and EARLI (European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction).

Prof. Dr. Basil Schader

Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Ref: L05P0330