Reference : Curriculumentwicklung in einer mehrsprachigen Gesellschaft: Das Beispiel Luxemburg
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Educational Sciences
Curriculumentwicklung in einer mehrsprachigen Gesellschaft: Das Beispiel Luxemburg
[en] Curriculum Construction in a Multilingual Society: The example of Luxembourg
Sattler, Anna-Sabrina mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > > ; University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET)]
University of Luxembourg, ​Esch-sur-Alzette, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur en Sciences de l'Education
Mein, Georg mailto
Dembeck, Till mailto
Lenz, Thomas mailto
Grube, Norbert mailto
Rieger-Ladich, Markus mailto
[en] Curriculum Construction ; Curriculum Reform ; Language Policies in Education ; Linguistic Identity
[en] The study starts by shedding light on the specific language situation in Luxembourg’s
schools and society and explores the ways in which national curriculum is constructed
utilizing the three official languages of Luxembourg, namely French, German and
Luxembourgish. Against this backdrop it provides a detailed discussion of how specific
ideas of a national linguistic identity have evolved in the course of history, and the extent
to which they act as the basis for debates on language policy in today’s Luxembourgian
school system. Identity formation and curriculum making shall therefore be considered
as co-constructing processes, in the sense that the curriculum anticipates future societal
ideals. In this respect, the curriculum ‘fabricates’ certain kinds of people and also different
kinds of people (Popkewitz, 2008, 2020). Keeping this definition in mind, curriculum
design becomes challenging when the school population is highly heterogenous and multilingual
in itself: In addition to its historically and contextually determined multilingualism,
the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is home to numerous immigrant languages, and
today almost 48% of the population are foreigners (STATEC, 2020a). Educational policy
thus has to integrate pupils of non-Luxembourg origin and languages into the trilingual
school system. While considering the different usage of languages in Luxembourgian
society and the school system, I examine how certain ideas of multilingualism evolved
and with it the representation of an ideal member of Luxembourg’s society.
The dissertation will first give a historical and sociopolitical overview, concentrating on
the interrelation of nation building during the 19th century and the creation of a national
school system. Following the historical background, this dissertation focuses on the
school and curriculum reform process of 2009 in Luxembourg, in the course of which
the former education act of 1912 was replaced by a new law on elementary education.
The reform was a response to the below-average performance results in large-scale assessments,
first and foremost the PISA-study in the year 2000. Furthermore, it was as
well the attempt to create a far more permeable school curriculum in the entire school
system, and with it equal opportunities for pupils of different origins. The reform process
of 2009 is accordingly seen as a turning point that broke up previously dominant ideas
about the intertwinement of language and identity.
With regard to these considerations, this study claims the process of curriculum making
not only to be an explicit and implicit attempt to control school, and thus social realities.
It is explicit to the extent that educational planning is used as a politically conscious
mean of social intervention; and implicit because this control simultaneously correlates
with cultural-historical practices which create common sense and therefore became subconsciously
part of policy making. Following the theoretical approaches of Ludwik
Fleck’s epistemology about thought styles (Fleck, 2017 [1935]), my research analyzes
the extent to which specific ways of reasoning and acting in the context of curriculum
making implicitly result from specific cultural historical conditions underlying the trilingual
Luxembourgian school curriculum. Regarding the correlations between the institutional
ideal of trilingualism in Luxembourg, the orientation towards international education
standards and the extremely heterogeneous and multilingual structure of Luxembourgian
society, the dissertation mainly focuses on the interrelation of the curricular
paradigm and the challenges faced in the classroom reality. In light of these reflections,
the dissertation tackles the following central questions: Which logics of argumentation
do different actors within the curriculum making process pursue and how do they legitimize
their positions on language policy? Which conflicts arise regarding the students’
linguistic repertoire and (supra-)national standards? To what extent do (supra)national
educational agendas interfere with the shaping of a Luxembourg language(s) identity?
How is the Luxembourg language(s) identity in light of curriculum making produced and
Methodologically, the reform process of 2009 will be historicized and the research questions
will be addressed by a two folded research design. First, I conduct a historiographical
evaluation of newspaper articles, parliamentary debates, minutes of curriculum
meetings, publications of the ministry of education and legal texts. Second, the study
contains an empirical analysis of 17 expert interviews which I conducted with key figures
of the reform process and those who have been working with the reformed curriculum
requirements. Based on the findings of my analyses, the dissertation will show that and
why Luxembourg, as a kind of laboratory, is relevant to other multilingual contexts in
general and in light of immigration processes in particular. The dissertation offers an
innovative impetus by looking at the school reform of 2009 through a cultural-historical
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