A new culture of language education in Germany
The central aim of the FörMig Model Programme (2004-2009) was to develop the practice and principles of a new culture of language education in Germany. Language is the main medium of teaching and learning. The educational success of any young person clearly depends on his or her linguistic comprehension of educational content. However many young people do not manage this - and not only those with a migration background who live through two or more languages.
The model programme called attention to the major significance that 'academic language' has for learning and established this medium as the subject-matter of language education. This has been FörMig's greatest merit.
The FörMig team at the University of Hamburg introduced the term 'academic language' to the German educational landscape. The complex relationship between the language demands placed on every child and young person in education and their potential educational success has thus been established. At the same time, the measures that educational institutions must provide for successful learning have been illustrated. We adopt Jürgen Habermas's (1977) notion of 'academic language' (Bildungssprache) whereby he who demonstrates the linguistic register of formal education gains a fundamental orientative knowledge in life.