Multilingualism as a linguistic and cognitive resource in English language acquisition in primary school (MEG-SKoRe) II (Förderkennzeichen: 01JM1702A/B)


MEG-SKoRe II is a joint project of the TU Braunschweig and the University of Mannheim. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research from 2017-2020 (Funding number: 01JM1702A/B). It is a continuation of MEG-SKoRe I.


MEG-SKoRe I (2014-2017)

In MEG-SKoRe I, we examined whether primary school students with German as a second language (L2) had different learning outcomes in the early acquisition of English compared to their monolingual peers. To this end, we investigated (a) which individual linguistic, cognitive and social factors influence the acquisition of English, and (b) in which respect multilingualism acts as a resource in early foreign language learning. The project consisted of two parts. Part 1 focused on linguistic transfer and the question to what extent the L1 and/or L2 affect the acquisition of English. Part 2 explored whether metalinguistic awareness has a positive impact on English skills.

Overall, 200 students from six public primary schools in south-west Germany took part in the study at the end of grade 3 and of grade 4 (88 monolingual; 112 multilingual).

The results show that multilingualism in and of itself constitutes neither a general resource nor a global disadvantage in the early foreign language classroom. Rather, multilingualism can turn into a resource in early foreign language learning in the context of additional individual factors such as a high degree of language awareness, a large vocabulary in the L1 as well as superior cognitive skills.

For more information on MEG-SKoRe I click here.

Against the background of these results, MEG-SKoRe II aims to investigate (a) how these positive factors of multilingualism can be used in English language teaching in primary school and (b) whether employing multilingual teaching materials and methods leads to improvement of English skills, higher student participation and more peer-to-peer interaction among both multilingual and German monolingual students.

Using objective performance measures, this project explores the potential of multilingual foreign language teaching. It thus contributes to the development of multilingual foreign language teaching by providing teaching handbooks, methods and materials for the English language classroom.


Based on the widely used textbook, Playway (Becker, Gerngross, & Puchta, 2013), we will develop learning materials and methods in which metalinguistic awareness will be targeted and promoted. For instance, we will compare and contrast the students’ heritage languages (including German) to English or conduct exercises to improve students’ phonological awareness. The learning materials and methods will be put into practice in an intervention study and will be assessed using the research tools from MEG-SKoRe I.



In a teaching intervention study, 4th grade students will be taught in experimental and control groups for 6 months. In the experimental group, the English lessons will make reference to the students’ heritage languages and employ metalinguistic awareness tasks; in the control group there will be regular English lessons without reference to the students’ multilingual backgrounds. The participants’ English skills as well as their L1 and L2 skills will be assessed three times (before and after the teaching intervention and at the end of the school year). Furthermore, we will collect data on students’ metalinguistic awareness and cognitive-social control factors. Additionally, we will examine specific grammatical phenomena before and after two units in order to measure the short-term impacts of the teaching intervention. Next to these linguistic skills, we will observe student participation in class and collect data on the students’ views on multilingual English language teaching.


Further Information

MEG-SKoRe II is part of the research cluster „Language Education and Multilingualism“. For more information on this and on the other projects click here.

Interested teachers and school administrations can access further information here.