Mag. Edna Imamović

Educational Transition from lower to upper secondary level from the perspective of multilingual students

Supervision: Eva Vetter
Period: 2017-
Staff member Sprachlehr- und -lernforschung 

Children and adolescents who permanently reside in Austria usually go through four to five institutional stages in their educational path (Mayrhofer et al. 2018, 128), which can be roughly divided into two: one path leads to access to tertiary education and the other to a faster or slower integration into the labor market. Statistical results indicate that students categorized as “not speaking German as an everyday language” have lower attendance rates in schools which lead to tertiary education (Mayrhofer et al. 2019, 143; 185; Wimmer/Oberwimmer 2021, 266). Based on these findings, my study investigates experiences of multilingual students who live in urban areas and find themselves in a period of educational transformation — the transition from lower to upper secondary level. The overall goal of the study is to better understand educational transitions, acknowledging the fact that multilingual education is not (fully) implemented in Austrian schools. In this grounded theory study (Charmaz 2014), I am collecting and analyzing interview data from students who have recently entered the upper secondary level and observation data from conversations during educational consultation with students who are still in lower secondary school. In a fine-grain analysis I am also working with instruments known from the Discourse-Historical Approach (Reisigl 2011). Preliminary findings suggest that the students’ decisions are dependent on the (assumed) beliefs of their teachers, parents, and peers and that the decision process is intertwined with multiple discourses on e. g. labor-related skills, education in general as well as contextual themes, such as their self-positioning with regard to their performance in school.