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Project duration 01.11.2011 - 31.10.2015

Effectiveness of Vocabulary Support for Kindergarten and Primary School Children from Non-German Speaking Families

In this intervention study at the end of elementary school we investigated the potential of students’ native language (L1; Turkish) for vocabulary acquisition in German (L2). Students learned new vocabulary from context by reading texts, incorporating students’ L1 to different extents.

Project description

How can bilingual students be enabled to successfully participate in our educational system? In Germany, 42.4 % of students in elementary schools speak another language than German at home, mainly Turkish. Educational inequalities between students with and without German as their L1 can be explained to a wide extend by lower academic language skills in German. Therefore, fostering these skills in students’ with Turkish native language is essential. The Theory of Learning from Context provides a framework for vocabulary learning as an implicit instruction.

Vier unterschiedliche Kinder halten sich an den Händen, rechts von ihnen steht der schwarze Schriftzug des Projektnamens InterMut

New vocabulary is presented within a context and readers derive the meaning by interpreting different cues in the e.g. reading text. Until now there has been little research on effectiveness of this method for bilingual students. For those students, their additional vocabulary in L1 might be useful for understand the context and thus for learning new vocabulary in L2.

For investigating the vocabulary acquisition intervention an experimental pre-post-test design was utilized, comparing two conditions of vocabulary learning, including text representation (A) twice in German, (B) in Turkish and German, (C) twice in German of them once with new vocabulary translation into Turkish and (D) a control group. Furthermore texts were presented in written and combined auditory and written representation forms. The supplementary study (InterMut-Audio) examines the influence of auditory presented text forms. Auditory presentation is assumed to be closer to everyday L1 and L2 communication which could be helpful to learn new vocabulary.

Lead researcher at IFS

Project management

  • Dr. Annika Ohle-Peters

Project team

  • Dr. Andreas Sander

External project partners

  • Prof. Dr. Ilonca Hardy (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)
  • Melihan Cinar (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Further information

Cafeteria menus

Location & approach

The most convenient highway exits are on the B 1/A 40 (Dortmund-Barop) (closer to the North Campus) and on the A45 (Dortmund-Eichlinghofen). The university is signposted at both exits. In the local road network you will find signs to Campus Nord, where the Campus Treff is also located. From Emil-Figge-Strasse, entrance no. 18 and from Vogelspothsweg entrance no. 23 lead to parking spaces near the venue.

From Dortmund main station, take the S-Bahn "S1" in the direction of Solingen on track 7 to the stop "Dortmund-Universität" (price level A). The S-Bahn runs every 15 minutes during peak hours on weekdays and takes about 6 minutes. From Düsseldorf, the S-Bahn runs every 30 minutes. Directly at the S-Bahn station you will find the CDI building, which houses the Center for Research on Education and School Development.

One of the university's landmarks is the H-Bahn, which has two terminuses on the North Campus. One is located directly above the S-Bahn station and is easily accessible from it by elevators. The other is located in the center of Campus North at the bridge between the University Library and the Mensa, right next to the Audimax. The H-Bahn runs from here to the South Campus and the Eichlinghofen district.

Dortmund has an airport connected with some destinations in Central Europe. There are regular flights, for example, to Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Katowice, Krakow, Leipzig-Halle, London, Munich, Nuremberg, Paris, Poznan, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich. For the approximately 20 kilometers from the Dortmund airport to the campus, you can take the bus to the main train station and from there the S-Bahn. Faster is usually the use of a cab. Far more international flight connections are offered by the Rhine-Ruhr Airport in Düsseldorf, about 60 kilometers away, which can be reached directly by S-Bahn from the university station.