Hamburg launches new language support program for children

At the beginning of the school year, Hamburg starts a language support program in 32 elementary schools. It is primarily aimed at students with an immigrant background, for whom learning the German language is a particular challenge due to the learning problems caused by the pandemic.



Press release

The School and Vocational Training Authority (BSB)

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Language support is based on the proven “MIT Sprach” program from the Fairchance Foundation for preschool and grades one and two. The federal government, the school authorities and the foundation provide a total of 450,000 euros for the program.

With the start of the language support program, Hamburg emphasizes that its schools are committed to educational equality and language support. Language teaching should take place consistently – as part of funding offers and in all subjects. “MITLanguage” shows that the Hamburg language support concept consciously creates space for projects and initiatives in addition to binding support structures.

Two and a half years of the corona pandemic and the associated closures and restrictions in schools and day care centers have resulted in new language support needs. Unfortunately, existing gaps in education were deepened during the crisis.

The funding of the language support program is largely provided by the nationwide support program “AUF! Hamburg covers about a quarter of the costs.

Education senator binds Rabe:

If you want to learn well at school, you must be able to speak, understand, read and write well. For a quarter of students, the school closures caused by the pandemic have led to large learning deficits. Children who do not speak German very well in pre-school or primary school now have a particularly difficult time. I am therefore particularly pleased with the Fairchance Foundation’s commitment, because it contributes to educational equality with targeted language support.

Alexander Wolf, Executive Director of the Fairchance Foundation:

We were pleasantly surprised by the response from Hamburg’s elementary schools to “MITsprache”. In light of the current challenging situation, there is apparently a great willingness to get involved in good programs. All schools have already received the comprehensive materials and have started the associated training courses. Apparently very successful – so far only positive feedback!

The program is scientifically developed and evaluated by an independent party. Among other things, it is characterized by high efficiency through digitization of the language level assessment, comprehensive, also digitized, continuing education of teachers and the involvement of parents or guardians, who support the success of the program. In detail, as part of the program the schools receive a total of five folders with instructions and documents for 360 specially designed support lessons of 45 minutes each at five learning levels that build on each other, which they can immediately use in the support lessons. With the help of an app, the children’s language level is initially determined, after which they are allocated one of five levels of support according to their performance. A comprehensive data protection concept is part of the technology. The app complements the tool HAVAS (the Hamburg method for analyzing language skills), which has been used in Hamburg for a long time. The teachers receive practical courses distributed over the year in the use of the materials: a total of nine units of 3 hours each, some face-to-face, some digital. Parents and guardians are also specifically supported in a separate part of the program so that they can make an appropriate contribution to their child’s language development.

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