AVIOR – Bilingual Materials
From 2016-2019 the Rutu Foundation initiated and co-managed a Strategic Partnership funded by the European Commission as part of the Erasmus+ Programme. The Partnership consisted of research and training centers, NGOs and network organizations from six countries (the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Estonia). The project aimed at improving the basic numeracy and literacy skills of migrant children and thereby reducing the achievement gap between native and non-native pupils in Europe. The Partnership was named after a bright star, AVIOR. The star is invisible from the Northern hemisphere, referring to the multitude of language skills that migrant children bring to the classrooms, but which often remain hidden to their teachers.You can find all our results including the bilingual materials here.
Bilingual Materials for Migrant Children in Europe
The goal of AVIOR is achieved through a three-pronged approach:
(1) Bilingual resources: we searched for, translated and adapted existing bilingual materials of high quality offered in both the school language and the mother tongue of migrant children;
(2) Teacher competence: teachers, parents and teacher trainers shared best practices on multilingual and mother tongue education through study visits to schools and teacher training institutes in European countries;
(3) Teacher/parent collaborative networks: parents and teachers were actively engaged in local case studies involving the newly translated bilingual resources in order to provide deeper insight into the barriers and opportunities of migrant parental involvement. This had the added benefit of creating informal local networks of parents, communities and schools, ensuring the continuity of the project’s objectives.
Avior is one of the spin-offs of the Sirius European Policy Network on Education of Migrant Children and built on key policy recommendations from Sirius to reduce the achievement gap between native and non-native pupils in Europe.
Schools across Europe are seeing an increasing number of children who are either born in another country or whose parents are immigrants and who do not speak the school language at home. This presents a challenge as schools are expected to deliver quality education for all children, regardless of their ethnic background or linguistic abilities. Especially with the recent arrival of thousands of refugee children, the situation has become acute. This project seeks to respond to this challenge with a Strategic Partnership of seven organizations from six different European countries who will work together to make bilingual literacy and numeracy materials available to schools and to share best practices among teacher trainers and school leaders on how to create inclusive multilingual classrooms.
Children who lack proficiency in their country’s host language of instruction are unlikely to achieve academic success. Yet, mother tongue language support is crucial for the development of migrant children’s self-esteem and plays an essential role in increasing parental involvement, which both enhance children’s learning outcomes. The costs involved and a lack of awareness among policy makers about the benefits of mother tongue learning explain why few EU countries provide mother tongue support for migrant children.
The ultimate beneficiaries of this project are primary school children between 4-8 years with migrant backgrounds who speak a different language at home than the school language. The target groups are teachers, teacher trainers, school leaders, parents and migrant communities, schools, municipalities, Ministries of Education and EU policy makers.
Results and impact
The Avior materials are a variety of numeracy and literacy learning materials, online available as open educational resources. Some are for use directly with the students. There are also lesson plans for teachers which explain how to do certain classroom activities. The materials are available in different language combinations, e.g. Dutch-Polish, Italian-Albanian, Estonian-Russian and can be downloaded from the Avior website.
To find out whether the materials could enhance migrant parent involvement, 43 teachers from 12 primary schools and kindergartens across Europe worked alongside 67 parents. Together with 211 children the materials were tested for 4-6 months. All partners reported that the bilingual materials indeed improved relationships between teachers and parents. Read the full report here.
- school leaders and teachers are better prepared to meet the needs of diverse pupils groups with different languages, in particular regarding basic literacy and numeracy skills by using digital bilingual resources;
- pupils have greater opportunities to learn the instruction language through their mother tongues in regular school lessons and to acquire better and faster command of basic numeracy and literacy skills;
- schools are encouraged to use more bilingual educational material and thereby become more inclusive;
- policy makers have gained deeper insight into obstacles and opportunities to use bilingual and mother tongue materials in classrooms.
The Avior project received a ‘very good to excellent’ score (80 out of 100) from the European Commission official review (16 December 2019)
“The project created conditions in making collaborations between schools and migrant communities and parents more effective. More and more educational policy departments across Europe see the opportunities for disadvantaged multilingual children with migrant backgrounds to develop both their mother tongues. AVIOR helped to put the topic on the agenda more prominently and in that way is helping to increase quality of education throughout Europe.” (Erasmus+ review, Dec 2019)
AVIOR is featured on HundrED.org as a global education innovation.
|Risbo – Netherlands (Project Leader)
Contact person: Tomislav Tudjman, email@example.com
|European Forum for Migration Studies (EFMS) – Germany
Contact person: Claudia Köhler, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Network of Education Policy Centers (NEPC) – Croatia
Contact person: Lana Jurko, email@example.com
|Praxis – Estonia
Contact person: Eve Mägi, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Rutu Foundation – Netherlands
Contact person: Ellen-Rose Kambel, email@example.com
|Terremondo società cooperativa – Italy
Contact person: Paola Gargano, Paola.firstname.lastname@example.org
|University of Western Macedonia (UOWM) – Greece
Contact person: Nektaria Palaiologou, email@example.com