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Foreigner education

Foreigner education was a pedagogical programme carried out in West German schools in the 1970s. This form of education was initiated after many of the labour migrants who came to Germany in the 1950s and 1960s were settling permanently in Germany and brought their families to live with them. Foreigner education was directed towards the children of migrants in order to reduce their supposed German language deficits. Furthermore, educators offered classes in the first languages of the children’s parents in order to facilitate a possible return to their parents’ country of origin. This concept was criticised for its sole focus on supposed deficits as well as for only addressing migrant children instead of society as a whole. In addition, it was criticised for differentiating between migrant and non-migrant children and thereby reinforcing social divisions. In the 1980s, critics of this approach developed the field of cross-cultural pedagogy which expanded the education’s focus from migrant children to society in general.