Educational Success, Mother Tongue, and Ethnic Origin

Aileen Edele Won "Deutscher Studienpreis" Award for Her Doctoral Dissertation in Psychology

No 226/2017 from Aug 29, 2017

Dr. Aileen Edele won second prize in the Social Sciences Section of the German Thesis Award (Deutscher Studienpreis) for her dissertation in psychology, which she earned at Freie Universität in 2016. In her research Aileen Edele investigated the importance of mother tongue competence and cultural identity for the educational success of young people with a migration background. Her findings show that good knowledge of the mother tongue facilitates the acquisition of the German language and thus success in the school system. Identification with the pupils’ own ethnic group plays a subordinate role, and identification with Germany as the new home is important. The award is endowed with 5000 euros.

"More than one third of the young people in Germany currently come from a family who immigrated to Germany," says Aileen Edele about the background of her dissertation. How to successfully integrate these children and adolescents into the education system is an issue with great individual and social importance. There is a general consensus that knowledge of German is crucial for success in education. Whether knowledge of the mother tongue and other ethnic resources, such as identification with one’s own ethnic group, are also important for educational success, has been controversial up to now.

The Körber Foundation recognizes the best young German researchers of all disciplines with its annually presented dissertation award, the Deutscher Studienpreis. In addition to academic excellence, the foundation bases its decisions on the social significance of the research contributions.


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