Speak German or Sweep the Schoolyard: A Social View on the Integration of Children in Germany”

Although Lucinda Martin’s work article serves as a voice for many immigrants living in Germany, I have to side with the German government on many of the points addressed in this article, especially the notion that “language is the key to integration.” Martin’s article begins with the situation at The Hoover School in Berlin. This school, whose population consists of over ninety percent non-native students, has introduced a German-only policy, meaning children can only speak German during the school day, including class trips and breaks. From a social point of view, this seems very logical, seeing that the students do not come from a predominant minority, but from a variety of backgrounds. Martin has failed to address the probable segregation of the students that occurs naturally when many speakers of different languages convene on a daily basis. By imposing this rule upon the students, there is at least a chance that they will integrate. Perhaps they will bond due to their opposition of the newly applied rule, and it will serve as an icebreaker for the students?. The outcome of this rule is yet unclear; however, once the language barrier is tackled in Germany, hope will exist for children of non-German backgrounds – who are the future of a multicultural Germany– to come together and integrate naturally.

by Christine Leper

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