On 19 May, Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz welcomed a group of eight fellows from the “Teach For Austria” initiative. Discussions focused on the integration of refugee children in school classes and on measures, these highly committed teachers deemed still necessary in the field of targeted language support.
At their meeting with Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz, the young assistant teachers, who have been teaching for at least two years in secondary schools across Austria, spoke openly about the successes and challenges they face in everyday life at school. Their commitment contributes to improving educational opportunities for children irrespective of their origins and social background. As a result of the refugee crisis numerous children without German skills have been enrolled in Austrian schools. Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz asked the young fellows if and in what ways their teaching has changed. The fellows reported that the children are well integrated in class but naturally need a lot of assistance in acquiring the necessary German language skills as well as support on a social level.
Integration Minister Kurz: “We are very active in promoting early language support“
Integration Minister Kurz was impressed by the commitment of the young university graduates and told them “Your dedication and commitment is admirable. You make an essential contribution towards integrating these children. Language skills are the key to living successfully in Austria. Thus, the sooner children are supported, the better. We are very active in providing early language support for children who do yet have sufficient German language skills. Only a few days ago, the introduction of early language support groups, a measure we have for a very long time now been calling for, was adopted by the Council of Ministers”. Refugee children in particular will benefit from early language support groups in the context of which they are prepared for regular lessons held in German. The newly adopted measures will, however, also prove beneficial for children, who do not yet have sufficient skills in German as the erudite language. Groups of a minimum of eight children may thus practice their German skills and eleven hours of language support lessons are provided every week. Building on these early language support groups, children may, as required, also attend language support classes.
The Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs has supported “Teach for Austria” since 2012
Co-funded by the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs since 2012, “Teach for Austria” is a project that focuses on enhancing educational opportunities for children irrespective of parental level of education, occupation or income. The model is part of the international "Teach For All" network, which is already active in 33 countries around the world. In Austria, the number of university graduates involved in the initiative and actively engaged in classrooms has in the meantime increased to 100. As well as pursuing the initiative’s main goal, namely working with others to improve children’s German language, reading and maths skills, the project also focuses on promoting social cohesion and the way children treat one another. Another positive effect is that it helps to boost children’s self-esteem.
Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs
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