Bilingual Education (Portuguese-Cape Verdean) and Language and Education Policies in Portugal

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Ana Raquel MATIAS, CIES-IUL; CES-UC, Portugal
The bilingual education project “Bilingual Class”, and the subsequent project “Multilingual School”, implemented in two schools of the 1st and 2nd cycle of basic education (2008-2013)  by the Institute of Theoretical and Computational Linguistics (current CELGA/ILTEC), were pioneers in Portuguese Schools, involving students of Portuguese and immigrant backgrounds, mainly Cape Verdean. In addition to the teaching of (and in) Cape Verdean creole, and Portuguese, focus was given to the development of the students’ implicit and explicit linguistic conscience and positive linguistic attitudes, including their families and the school community.

Research encompassed linguistic, sociolinguistic and school effects. The aim now is to continue the previous research by engaging in a new fieldwork, to improve the understanding of these students’ sociolinguistic reality, currently attending lower secondary education. The fact that immigrant background students from African Countries of Portuguese Official Language have systematically shown weaker school achievement compared either to pupils of non-immigrant origin or those of other immigrant origins, questions the efficiency of linguistic and educational policies, especially when there’s a seeming proximity between the Portuguese and minority languages, like the Cape Verdean creole. This longitudinal study, intending to evaluate the impact of an early bilingual education, is therefore especially relevant.

For this paper, we focus on the macro scale of the ongoing research, analyzing the social and historical dynamics of Portuguese language policies, to contextualize the aforementioned projects. Firstly, we identify the main lines of education policies, concerning linguistic diversity and teaching of Portuguese as a Second Language. Secondly, we relate these tendencies with the impact of the two mentioned interventions and the current educational policies deriving from an economic crisis context. In an interdisciplinary approach (sociological and sociolinguistic), the aim is to contribute to the acknowledgement of linguistic diversity in Portuguese policies, and on effective citizen-centered approaches to such complexity.