Communicative Competence in the Context of Increasing Diversity in South Tyrolean Schools
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Modern societies have always been diverse but due to the general opening of markets, borders and ways of communication, migration processes are making them even more complex. One specific aspect of this growing diversity is an increasing language diversity, which has consequences for all areas of society, especially education. With regard to understanding these processes and to finding ways of approaching these changes, regions with autochthonous minority languages can offer valuable perspectives as their education systems have already been dealing with diverse linguistic situations by developing concepts so as to manage multilingualism in complex contexts. In this view, the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol presents an interesting example as the officially trilingual province has also been notably affected by migration processes. In our article, we will first present a detailed description of current models of schooling in the province and analyze to what extent these provide for the integration of languages and multilingualism. Based on empirical data, we will then critically reflect on traditional speaker categorizations, i.e., the monolingual child, the bilingual child, and the plurilingual child, that run the risk of simplification and overgeneralization, but nevertheless form the taxonomic basis on which current models of education are built.