University of Oulu

Bilingual education includes far more aspects than developing language competence : a case study about intercultural competences in municipal day care centres in Munich

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Author: Otremba, Kira1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Pages: 71
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : K. Otremba, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-05-20
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Paradis, Audrey
Reviewer: Matengu, Marika
Paradis, Audrey


Language is one element of bilingual education. Yet, bilingual education includes far more aspects than developing language competence. This research is conducted to understand how the bilingual project Élysée 2020 enhances intercultural competence. It aims to find how educators and directors conceptualize bilingual education, and how children develop intercultural skills, studying the case of the Élysée project in municipal day care centres in Munich, Germany.

The theoretical framework chapter of this study explores the topics of bilingual education and intercultural competence. The first part of the chapter takes the standpoint of sociolinguists, viewing language in relation to society. The term bilingual education is defined within that scope, and the concept is explored supported by the literature of Ofelia Garcia. The second part of the chapter is based on Michael Byram’s theory of intercultural competence and how attitudes, knowledge and skills are tools to navigate in a diverse world. Both bilingual education and intercultural competence are explored in the context of early childhood education.

Case study methodology was chosen for this study. The case of the Élysée project in the context of municipal day care centres in Munich was in focus, and three types of data were deemed necessary to study this case. Firstly, educators, directors, and a district manager were interviewed in semi-structured interviews to collect their perceptions of the project, of how it was implemented and what they found to be beneficial apart from language acquisition. Secondly, observations of French lessons with children from diverse linguistic backgrounds were made. Lastly, a policy paper Quality Charter (2013) gave insight to the objectives and principles of the project. The three types of data were analysed using thematic analysis.

The main findings provide insight how educators and directors initially perceived bilingual education, how it changed over time and how intercultural competence became visible through the Élysée project. The findings from the interviews, observation, and a policy document gave a broad picture of the process of establishing the Élysée project in the municipal day care centres and the relation of policy and practice. All data captured details how intercultural competences were strengthened through the project, especially raising awareness and growing appreciation towards linguistic and cultural diversity. The results of the study can support stakeholders to consider, implement, and evaluate bilingual education in the context of early childhood education.

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Copyright information: © Kira Otremba, 2022. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.