Educating for a Transcultural Society: The Role of Multilingual Education
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Language diversity can be considered an important prerequisite for the success of intercultural education, even though there is no direct relationship between them. This article aims to examine the children’s and parents’ perception of the connection between multilingual and intercultural education at an early age. Moreover, it focuses on the second-language teachers’ role in promoting interculturalism and preparing for transculturalism. In this study, semistructured interviews were carried out with primary-school children and with their parents. Besides this, focus group discussions were conducted with second-language teachers in a multilingual and multicultural border region (South Tyrol–Italy). The study provides insights into pupils’ and parents’ perceptions of multilingualism and interculturalism. The results show that there is no sufficient connection between languages and cultures during second-language lessons in German and Italian primary-school classes in South Tyrol. It could be observed that pupils often do not recognize the reality of other languages and cultures if they have no direct contact and interaction with members of other cultures and linguistic groups. Parents perceive the schools’ difficulties in dealing with students’ diversity and express the desire of a strengthened collaboration between the two school systems. Different difficulties that second-language teachers at primary schools have to face in achieving the aim of transculturalism emerged during data analysis.