The 3-year longitudinal study (2015-2018) “linguistic and communicative competence” follows the process of establishing multilingualism as an educational aim in eight selected middle schools in the Province of Bolzano in South Tyrol. The study aims to collect concrete data to demonstrate the following:
- How diversity can be perceived and used as a resource in every-day school life;
- The effects of strategies implemented to support and encourage the development of linguistic competences;
- How the development of academic language can be supported and encouraged.
The analysis combines different methods, instruments and data and has three main areas of focus. Firstly, the students’ multilingual competences were measured over three years. Secondly, the teachers from the selected middle schools who teach languages in regular and remedial classes were observed, as they contribute significantly to their students’ acquisition of multilingual competences. Finally, the analysis also examines the institutional structures involved, specifically the cooperation between the schools and the provincial language centres (Sprachenzentren – centri linguistici).
Overall, the project has followed eight middle school classes in South Tyrol: four from German-language schools and four from Italian-language schools. These selected classes were monitored over their three years of middle school and actively supported in the implementation of measures to support linguistic development and progress towards promoting multilingualism.