Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, media and education have devoted increasing attention to Asian students’ intensified experiences of anti-Asian racism. However, less attention has been devoted to their language and literacy development, which is central to their social and academic success in schooling. Situated within an expanded view of linguistic, cultural, racial, and economic diversity among Asian ethnic groups, studies in the past decade mainly address two areas—mainstream language education and heritage language (HL) education of K–12 Asian migrant students in North America. Research on mainstream language education reveals “hidden” achievement gaps among Asian subgroups and Asian learners’ continuous struggles with negotiating multiple intersecting language, culture, gender, and racial identities; racial profiling; and pathologizing actions from mainstream White educators and peers, arguing against the monolithic model minority stereotypes. The mis/missed-representation of Asian languages and cultures in the mainstream curriculum further reinforces the dominant deficit discourses against Asian learners in the classrooms. Studies on HL education mainly concentrate on three areas: parental support and involvement at home, community language schools, and world language and immersion programs in K–12 schools. While they each provide Asian students with great opportunities to maintain their cultural and linguistic heritage and to cultivate positive ethnic identities, challenges remain in finding innovative and effective ways to foster sustainable HL development and to develop critical consciousness among different stakeholders to combat racial injustices. There is an urgent need for both mainstream and HL educators to adopt critical pedagogies and create humanizing spaces to better serve Asian migrant students in North American K–12 classroom settings.
Language Education of Asian Migrant Students in North America
Guofang Li, Zhongfeng Tian, and Huili Hong
Multilingualism in Monolingual Schools and the German Example
The majority of European countries consider themselves as monolingual nation-states. Some exceptions are countries composed of different linguistic territories, such as Belgium and Switzerland. Another form of exception is countries where certain territories are inhabited by linguistic minorities who are granted particular linguistic rights. Monolingualism with exceptions for special constellations or cases is therefore considered the “linguistic normality” in European nations. This understanding of normality is also reflected in the nations’ public institutions and is particularly pronounced in the national education systems. The linguistic reality in Europe, however, contrasts with this notion of normality. Since time immemorial, the regions that have become European nation-states have been characterized by linguistic diversity, not only across but also within their boundaries. Since the second half of the 20th century, however, the number of languages that are vital and used daily has considerably increased. The most important driver of this development is international migration. Some European countries—Germany in particular—belong to the most attractive immigration destinations of the world. Despite of this reality, European national education systems largely persist in their monolingual mindset—or in other words: in a monolingual habitus. This ambiguity can be amply illustrated by the example of the German education system. Education research shows that it belongs to the causes of educational disadvantage for children from immigrant families. This is precisely why innovation initiatives have been launched to mitigate the risks to teaching and learning associated with multilingualism, while making the best use of the resources offered by linguistic diversity to all children—be they growing up in monolingual or multilingual families.