Kazakhstan Branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University
Astana, Kazakhstan firstname.lastname@example.org
INSIGHTS INTO MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION IN KAZAKHSTAN:
OVERVIEW OF THE WORLD EXPERIENCE
Nowadays in the course of contemporary governmental policy, Kazakhstan aimed to be regarded as a high-educated country all over the world the population of which speaks at least three languages, i.e. Kazakh as a state language, Russian as a language of international communication and English as a language of successful integration into global economics. Therefore, the analysis of international practice in implementing multilingual education shows some fundamental problems and challenges which need to be understood better. Among those, the most important one is the notion of “multilingual”, “polylingual” or “bilingual” itself. In this paper critical discourse analysis on other countries and their experience in language policy making, particularly, in multilingual education, has been employed which was based on the analysis of governmental policy documents, speeches of key stake holders (politicians, public figures, teachers, etc.). These cases are briefly summarized pointing out the differences and similarities in order to see whether some aspects can be applicable to Kazakhstan to strengthen the multilingual education policy and make it more effective.
Key words: multilingualism, language policy, language situation, multilingual education, world experience.
Linguistic diversity was always a usual phenomenon in Kazakhstan due to complex ethnolinguistic situations occurred in the location during the Soviet period. Demographically and communicatively unequal languages of ethnic groups create the unique ethnolinguistic landscape of the state and reflect the multi-faceted history of different groups who migrated to Kazakhstan over the course of history. However, the peculiar language situation in Kazakhstan is emerging as a result of both the diversity of languages and the co-functioning of two strong languages – Kazakh and Russian. In the modern period in Kazakhstan, multilingualism becomes the trend with the Kazakh as the only official language, Russian widely used as a language of interethnic communication, and English recently gaining growing popularity in the country. While the proficiency in these three languages (see Cultural project “Trinity of Language” 2007) is considered to be as integral component of personal and professional development of a person and becomes one of the priorities of the state multilingual education policy (i.e. the State program of language development and functioning in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020), among Kazakhstani people there still are some concerns towards the role of Kazakh, Russian and, specifically, English in the development of linguistic balance in Kazakhstan.
In this paper critical discourse analysis on other countries and their experience in language policy making, particularly, in implementing multilingual education, has been employed which was based on the analysis of governmental policy documents, speeches of key stake holders (politicians, public figures, teachers, etc.). These cases are briefly summarized pointing out the differences and similarities in order to see whether some aspects can be applicable to Kazakhstan to strengthen the multilingual education policy and make it more effective.
2. World experience in introduction of multilingual education
The analysis of international practice in implementing multilingual education shows some fundamental problems which need to be understood better. Among those the most important one is the notion of “multilingual”, “polylingual” or “bilingual” itself. The terms multilingual education, bilingual education, and mother tongue education have been used in various ways in the literature. In this paper, following Vez’s explanations, these terms are used as follows: 1) Mother tongue education implies a linguistically homogeneous community, a teacher who speaks this language, and curriculum materials in the mother tongue. It is worth noting that mother tongue education is the norm in most western nations; 2) Bilingual education is used to refer to an educational scheme in which the child receives educational instruction in at least two languages with one of these being the mother tongue of some/all of the children in the classroom. The second language is normally a language of wider communication, often the official or national language; and 3) Multilingual education is used primarily as a synonym for bilingual education. The primary difference, when it is a difference, is that multilingual education schemes may well involve three or more languages rather than just two. Even so, it is still assumed that the mother tongue will normally be a part of the early educational experience of the child . Another crucial issue is the nature of the policy itself. The successful designing and the implementation of the stated policy depend largely on the very notion of common aspirations in the larger public sphere. Any approach towards multilingual education is bound to fail if the stated form of the policy lacks an understanding of what is being aspired by the population with reference to the country’s languages which is often being decided by various economical and historical factors. Therefore, many researchers assert that understanding the linguistic culture of a particular country becomes a must .
To begin with, the introduction of multilingual education in Southern Africa today is still critical where the language of instruction in educational institutions that discriminated against native language of students . According to the author, this discrimination is still practiced in schools. One of the main arguments against multilingual education in Southern Africa is that bilingual and multilingual education, in her opinion, is too expensive, and there is only one way out: to use only one language – English. In the USA, for example, critics of bilingual and multilingual education are generally political conservatives . In his opinion, there is a problem of various understandings of this phenomenon in different communities. Besides, as critics confirm, in this connection there is no common opinion concerning which multilingual/ polylingual education is the most successful .
On the contrary, other researchers (Cenoz and Jessner, 2000; De Bot, Lowie and Verspoor, 2007; Muller and Beardsmore, 2004; Vez, 2009; Ziegler, 2013) support the promotion of multilingual education. In their opinion, multilingual education for majority language students is effective in promoting functional proficiency in a second, and even third or fourth, language at no cost to the participating students’ native language development or academic achievement. There is often a positive correlation between the amount of exposure to the additional languages in multilingual programmes and level of multilingual proficiency, but not always [5; 6].
For example, in Finland the education is provided in both Finnish and Swedish languages on all levels, and Swedish and Finnish are required subjects at schools, thus almost all Swedish speakers are bilingual and many Finns have a good command of Swedish [7, p. 189]. Both languages, as well as a number of other smaller languages are all regulated by the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland. Moreover, despite the small number of speakers (approximately 5.5%), Swedish language enjoys high status and governmental support. The development of the languages and their statuses were similar to those of Kazakh and Russian. Before Finland became independent, Swedish and Finnish were both official, after independence Finnish came to dominate . However, the Swedish speakers are a small community, and they are Swedish-speaking Finns, not Swedes. In this way, they do not have such a strong emotional attachment to the language as they would if they were Swedes. This was also a reason why the elite was willing to learn Finnish when the country became independent [7, p. 187-188] and thus the language policy had been successful.
It should be noted that the European Commission as well as Kazakhstan conducts a very active language policy focusing on diversity. Regarding their language education, every EU citizen should be able to use three community languages (after completion of secondary school); community language learning should be developed ‘as early as possible’; a better quality of language and intercultural learning must be improved, and a more balanced language ecology should be promoted; increasing language competence increases mobility and also gives better possibilities for seeking jobs in different EU member states [1, p. 12].
In accordance with key data provided by the Eurydice report on the teaching of languages at school in Europe , the percentage of primary school pupils learning a foreign language is increasing but the average number of foreign languages taught in secondary schools is still some way from the target set in Barcelona. In that sense, the Commission’s conclusion [8, p. 4] is unambiguous when it asserts that ‘There is a growing tendency for ‘foreign language learning’ to mean simply ‘learning English’; the Commission has already pointed out that ‘English is not enough’ . The two enlargements of 2004 and 2007, with the expansion from 11 to 23 languages, have indeed marked a turning point for European multilingualism in our education system. The EU communication ‘COM 2005 595 final’, A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism, sets very clearly the positions of two related parameters – multilingualism and European values, i.e., the European Union is founded on ‘unity in diversity’: diversity of cultures, customs and beliefs –and of languages. Besides the 202 official languages of the Union, there are 60 or so other indigenous languages and scores of nonindigenous languages spoken by migrant communities . It is this diversity that makes the European Union what it is: not a ‘melting pot’ in which differences are rendered down, but a common home in which diversity is celebrated, and where our many mother tongues are a source of wealth and a bridge to greater solidarity and mutual understanding.
Multilingual education in France is viewed mainly as a way to improve foreign language learning for monolingual students and not as a means to support bilingual children to cope with the curriculum in their second language. As in many other countries in the world, the linguistic landscape of France is undeniably becoming more diversified, and this is proving to be a challenge not only for politicians, policy-makers and researchers, but for teachers as well. Indeed, it is not easy for teachers to deal with the increasing complexity of the linguistic situations of their students, particularly when they have to implement a topdown curriculum which, as far as languages are concerned, focuses on improving provision for the learning of dominant European languages at the expense of the great variety of languages spoken by many children at home which remain virtually ignored.
In the face of increasing globalisation and mobility of populations, the French education system has developed its own answers: by trying on the one hand to resist the overwhelming hegemony of the English language, and on the other, by looking for more efficient approaches to foreign language teaching. In order to fight the dominance of English, policymakers have used the concept of diversification, i.e. making sure a wide choice of languages is available in the curriculum at all levels. For instance, at primary level, children can theoretically choose between the following eight languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. But, in fact, most schools offer only English and sometimes a second language .
Therefore, there are many programs throughout the world that emphasize education in two languages; some programs even offer trilingual education, although they are the exception [11, p. 61]. These types of education make formal use of at least two languages for literacy and instruction in a school context. All of the various types of programs fit under the umbrella of multilingual education, which is education in multiple languages at some point during a student’s academic career.
3. A multilingual education typology
In general, as with languages and types of multilingualism, multilingual education can be divided into several different categories. Erika Hoff gives one of the better typologies in her book Language Development, a summary of which can be found in Table 1 [12, p.385].
Table 1. Multilingual Education Typology
Language of Instruction Purpose
Use of Indigenous or
Languages Preservation of
Type II Additive Bilingual Education Use of National Minority
Languages with Some
Status Preservation of Languages
Important to Minority
Groups within a Country
Type III Transitional
Education Use of a Transitional
Language for Non-Native
Speakers of the Majority
Language Acquisition of the Majority Language
Type IV N/A Uses Sign Language &
Multilingualism for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Students
Immersion Use of a Minority
for Speakers of a Majority Language Fluency in Multiple
As it is seen from the Table 1, the first type of multilingual education, referred to as Type I, makes use of indigenous or native languages, often with the goal of preserving endangered languages. For instance, bilingual programs in Hawaii or on some Native American Reservations are the examples of Type I multilingual education. The second type of multilingual education, or Type II, makes use of national minority languages in instruction. These languages have some official status in a country and are included because of their importance to minority groups within a country. The French-English immersion programs in Canada are an example of this type. These first two types of multilingual education could be loosely grouped together as examples of additive bilingual programs.
Additive bilingualism is instruction in a second (or another language), which ‘adds’ to student knowledge, without replacing the student’s first language [12, p. 386].
The third type of multilingual education program, Type III, uses an international language as part of a transition for students who are non-native speakers of the majority language. These programs are sometimes referred to as first language – first education, transitional bilingual education, or pejoratively as subtractive bilingual education. Although these programs are sometimes criticized for their lack of support for the international language throughout a student’s career, these programs are certainly preferable to ‘submersion’ education programs in which non-native language learners are enrolled in all-English (or another dominant language) programs that do not incorporate systematic, sustained strategies for accommodating students’ particular instructional needs; programs are often compulsory and the goal is fluency in a nonnative language [11, pp. 17, 63]. The goal of Type III programs is not necessarily bilingualism, per se. Instead, a majority language, like English, is used in conjunction with another minority language, like Spanish, to acquire the majority language. The fourth type of program, Type IV, refers to those in which deaf or hard-of-hearing students are instructed in sign language in addition to a spoken language [12, p. 385]. These two programs are similar in that a students’ default language is used to facilitate instruction in the majority language.
Finally, in the fifth type of program, Type V, minority languages are used for instruction of speakers of a majority language. This definition is, of course, dependent on the linguistic context of a particular region. In the United States, French immersion programs for English speaking populations would fall into this category; conversely, in France, English immersion programs for French speaking populations would fit within this category. These types of programs are often referred to as immersion, two-way immersion, or dual language immersion programs, and are considered to be enrichment, or additive bilingualism [12, p. 385]. Immersion programs are often elective and are widely considered to add to the quality of education [12, p. 400; 11, pp. 17, 58]. Interestingly, although there is often push-back against instruction in minority languages for bilingual student populations, for example there is often a lack of support for Spanish-English dual immersion programs for native Spanish speakers, there is considerable support for Type V programs in which native English speakers are instructed in a second language. While native Spanish speakers learning in Spanish are seen as ‘rejecting’ the majority language of the United States, native English speakers learning in French, Japanese, or Italian are seen as ‘embracing’ their roles as global citizens. Perhaps most importantly, the program at Marie Curie would fall into this category. 4. Conclusion
In general, as shown above, none of the models is entirely applicable to Kazakhstan. For example, the Finnish model has the most features that the language policy of Kazakhstan tries to achieve, i.e., the effective bilingualism in the population, high quality instruction and government support to both languages. However, there are several challenges that the government needs to solve in order to allow for the success of the language policy. Therefore, the model of Finland needs to be adapted to the realities of Kazakhstan, which means taking into account the different positions and views on language and what constitutes a fair language policy of the ethnic groups and allowing the national symbols to represent the diversity of the country. However, the basic idea of it matches the goal of Kazakhstan’s language policy, bilingualism – 90% of adult population speaking Russian and 95% speaking Kazakh by 2020 (see State Program on Education 2011-2020).
Nevertheless, the majority of researchers around the world (De Bot, Lowie and Verspoor, 2007; Muller and Beardsmore, 2004, Burnham-Massey and Pina, 1990; De la Garza and Medina, 1985; Mortensen, 1984, etc.) believe that multilingual education is effective for the majority language students with a variety of learner characteristics, even for those that are at risk of poor performance in schools. More specifically, it appears that plurilingual acquisition is enhanced when students are given extended opportunities to use the language interactively. It also appears that the functional use of the target languages is generally effective in promoting plurilingual competences, while instructional strategies systematically raise awareness of and create opportunities for students to learn new languages. Moreover, they assert that multilingual education in languages with distinct typologies and orthographic conventions can be effective in achieving a school’s linguistic and academic objectives, although there may be limits on how far these languages can be used for academic instruction.
Scholars strongly believe that multilingualism can promote intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding, and the establishment of accurate interrelation between a language variety and global integration. It is an excellent basis for preparing the future generations and for the creation of a more fair and democratic society in the modern world (Hornberger, 2010; Cenoz and Jessner, 2000; De Bot, Lowie and Verspoor, 2007; Muller and Beardsmore, 2004). Recent studies in the field of developmental psychology (Karmiloff and Karmiloff-Smith, 2001; Scholl and Leslie, 2001) have shown that multilingual children develop their understanding of the mental statuses of other people more quickly. The best models of multilingual education also bring strong positive advantages in terms of vertical social integration and the positive relations with the languages of minorities and other cultures. And one of the key statements, on which the majority of researches agree, is that there is a need to support multilingual education at the state level.
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ҚАЗАҚСТАНДАҒЫ КӨПТІЛДІ БІЛІМ БЕРУ САЛАСЫНДАҒЫ ЗЕРТТЕУЛЕР:
ӘЛЕМДІК ТӘЖІРИБЕГЕ ШОЛУ
Бүгінгі таңда қазіргі заманғы мемлекеттік саясат барысында Қазақстан әлемде жоғары білімді, халқы үш тілде қарым-қатынасқа түсе алатын, атап айтсақ, қазақ тілі – мемлекеттік тіл ретінде, орыс тілі – ұлтаралық қатынас тілі ретінде және ағылшын тілі – жаһандық экономикаға табысты ықпалдасу тілі ретінде ел болып қалыптасу мақсаты қойылған. Сондықтан көп тілді білім беруді енгізудегі халықаралық тәжірибе анализі кейбір іргелі мәселелер мен қиындықтарды анықтап, оларды терең түсіну маңыздылығын айқындады. Олардың ішіндегі ең маңызды ұғымдардың бірі — «көп тілді», «үш тілді» немесе «екі тілді» ұғымы. Мақалада басқа елдердегі тіл саясатын қалыптастыру мәселелері, әсіресе, көп тілді білім берудегі әлемдік тәжірибе мемлекеттік саяси құжаттар және негізгі қатысушылардың (саясаткерлер, қоғам қайраткерлері, мұғалімдер, және т.б.) баяндамалары негізінде сыни дискурс тұрғысынан талданған. Бұл мәселелер салыстырмалысалғастырмалы түрде қысқаша түйінделіп, Қазақстандағы көп тілді білім беру саясатын нығайту және оны тиімді етуге қатысты кейбір аспектілердің қолданылу мүмкіндігі анықталған.
АНАЛИЗ ПОЛИЯЗЫЧНОГО ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ В КАЗАХСТАНЕ: ОБЗОР
В настоящее время в рамках современной государственной политики Казахстан стремится стать высокообразованной страной во всем мире, население которой говорит, по крайней мере на трех языках, а именно, на казахском как государственном языке, русском как языке международного общения и английском как языке успешной интеграции в глобальную экономику. Поэтому анализ международной практики в области полиязычного образования позволяет увидеть и тем самым, избежать некоторых фундаментальных проблем, возникающих при внедрении полиязычного образования на практике. Среди них наиболее распространенным является разграничение понятий «многоязычный», «полилингвальный» или «двуязычный». В этой статье использован анализ критического дискурса на примере других стран и их опыт в области языковой политики, в частности, в области полизычного образования, который основывался на анализе правительственных программных документов, выступлений ключевых заинтересованных сторон (политиков, общественных деятелей, учителей, и т.д.). Вкратце данные примеры излагаются с указанием различий и сходств для дальнейшего выяснения, могут ли некоторые их аспекты быть применимы впоследствии на примере Казахстана, для укрепления многоязычной образовательной политики и повышения ее эффективности.