Taskforce aims to improve teaching for bilingual pupils
There is still a gap between the performance levels of bilingual and Danish pupils. Focus now turns to concrete tools that teachers can use to ensure bilingual pupils gain more from their classes.
"When the teacher tells pupils this much, many of them only understand this much", says Anja Ougaard from the bilingual taskforce, adjusting the space between her outstretched arms from a wide to a narrow position. The point is to illustrate the difference in the amount of information picked up in the classroom by Danish and bilingual pupils respectively.
It is important that we develop and test pedagogical methods.
Pupils from immigrant backgrounds fare much better today than they did ten years ago. Still, according to the latest PISA survey, 38 per cent of bilingual students leave school without adequate reading skills, while only 13 per cent of their Danish schoolmates face the same prospects.
The bilingual taskforce is an initiative under the auspices of the National Education Agency (part of the Ministry of Education), and it aims to address the differences between bilingual and Danish pupils. A way of doing this is to hold theme days for boroughs, school leaders and teachers.
One such day was 13 May, when the taskforce focused on concrete tools for teachers to apply when teaching bilingual students. Ulla Lundqvist works at University College Copenhagen, where she develops pedagogy for teaching second languages. She believes that children have a great potential for learning new languages.
"It is important that we develop and test pedagogical methods that can bridge the pupils’ language competences and what is expected of the pupils. This goes for Danish as well as bilingual pupils," says Ulla Lundqvist.