2020-2024 PhyDiv: Physics Education in a Context of Diversity
In a considerable proportion of schools in Germany is visited by a linguistically diverse body of students. Next to German multiple languages are spoken by pupils whose families have immigrated to Germany. In the everyday life of these families, their heritage languages usually play an important role next to German. Since the 1970s, the number of countries of origin of migrants in Germany has grown continuously. At the same time, the number of languages brought with them has multiplied. At least in large cities more than 100 languages are spoken. A broad spectrum of language experiences is therefore represented in schools - from monolingualism in a language other than German (e.g. recently immigrated students) up to developed reading and writing skills in German or even multiple languages.
Linguistic diversity is the starting point of our research project PhyDiv "Physics Education in a Context of Linguistic Diversity". It aims to develop and test teaching approaches for physics education that lead to better learning outcomes by paying special attention to the linguistic composition of the learning group.
Our investigation is carried out exemplarily in the subject physics. We are asking whether and under which conditions an added value for the learning success can be achieved if pupils were systematically supported in using their entire linguistic repertoires during learning and instruction. In doing so, bilingual or multilingual learners should also use their native language skills. The study should not only provide basic insights, but also results that are useful for the practical design of successful physics lessons in linguistically diverse classes.